Taforalt and Beni Snassen Mountains: Far more alluring than Berkane are the beautiful Beni Snassen Mountains that border it to the south. While technically termed a ‘site of biological and ecological interest’, they are for all intents and purposes a national park. This is a verdant area of scenic gorges that few imagine when they think of Morocco, and even fewer visit.
From Berkane, take the national road to Taforalt (Tafoughalt) which passes through beautiful mountain scenery. Taforalt is a somewhat haphazard settlement that arose around a former French military installation, but the northern end, which you come upon first, contains a charming strip of cafes and restaurants. If you are coming to Taforalt area to explore the park in season, the combination of the Auberge and the Club Taforalt (which have the same owner) constitutes a full-service mountain resort that is far preferable to staying in Berkane. From here you can easily trek to the postcard Sidi Ali Oussaidi Mosque, standing against the mountains like a Bavarian chapel, and the romantic town of Tagma, which sits in the valley below like a small Berber fortress. Soon after you enter Taforalt from Berkane, turn left at the Taforalt post office, then immediately turn left again and follow signs to the Info kiosk, which has a small but well-done display on the natural history of the park, and an observation platform with heavenly views of a distant mesa. If you’re lucky you will catch sight of a big-horned Barbary sheep from the adjacent reserve. They generally arrive to Taforalt around 4pm, when it is cooler. Read more