National Parks and Reserves of Morocco
Visit one of the National Parks shown below to discover the wonderful diversity that nature has to offer in Morocco. A huge variety of birds and mammals will ensure that you won't leave disappointed.
The Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve:
Covering a huge area which incorporates urban and forest areas, as well as cultivated agricultural lands, this reserve aims to protect the remaining Argan trees that are holding back the advancing Sahara Desert which threatens habitable land. The hardy drought-resistant Argan trees are prized for their nuts which yield much sought after Argan oil for use in cosmetics, as well as for their wood which is used as an ingredient in some medicines.
The Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of Morocco and Spain:
Under the guidance of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program, the establishment of this Intercontinental Biosphere took place in 2006. Representatives of Morocco and Spain work together with the common goal of educating the public with regard to the importance of maintaining the Biosphere Reserve, as well as promoting conservation and co-operating on research projects. In Morocco the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve includes the Talassemtane National Park, as well as Lagune de Smir, Koudiet Taifour, Jbel Moussa and Jbel Bouhachem.
Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve:
This essential biosphere reserve focuses on fighting the battle against desertification and maintaining the many oases that entire communities rely upon. This includes research and education with regard to the correct use of water systems and ecosystems and the promotion of agriculture. Visitors can expect to see numerous breath-taking landscapes and unique habitats within the boundaries of the reserve.
Oued Massa Nature Reserve:
This bird-watcher’s paradise, which is located near Agadir, features a variety of habitats that are home to an incredible number of bird species. Visitors who take time to explore this beautiful nature reserve will also enjoy seeing a wide variety of plants and animals.
Souss Masa National Park:
The diverse terrain of this national park includes seemingly endless clean sandy beaches, cultivated fields, sand dunes, rocky cliffs and Argania forests, which support a wide variety of animal and bird life, including the endangered Northern Bald Ibis. Animals that visitors can look out for include the Algerian Hedgehog, Jackals, Weasels, Red Fox and a range of fascinating amphibians and reptiles.
Tazekka National Park:
Located in the Middle Atlas Mountain Range, the park is a superb example of what conservation efforts can achieve. Initially created with the goal of protecting a grove of cedar trees in the Jbel Tazekka area, the park has been extended to include areas with caves, canyons, rural landscapes, cork oak and holm oak forests and the majestic Jbel Tazekka Mountain. The varied terrain supports a host of animals and birds with many hiking trails for visitors to explore.
Merdja Zerga Biological Reserve:
Meaning “Blue Lagoon”, this tidal lagoon near the coastal town of Moullay Bousselham is home to thousands of wildfowl, waders and flamingos as well as playing host to migrating birds. Birding enthusiasts may have the good fortune to see the rare African Marsh Owl.
Toubkal National Park:
Incorporating the magnificent Jbel Toubkal Mountain, this national park situated near Marrakech offers adventurers a variety of hiking trails along which to enjoy a wide variety of flora and fauna. Local communities live in the same manner as their ancestors before them, unaffected by progress in the outside world.
Talassemtane National Park:
Located in the Rif are of Northern Morocco, this park incorporates and aims to conserve the last of Morocco’s fir forests.
El Houceima National Park:
Incorporating some of Morocco’s virtually untouched coastal and marine habitats, the park is home to one of the Mediterranean’s few remaining colonies of Osprey.
Ifrane National Park:
Located in the heart of the mighty Middle Atlas Mountains, the reserve incorporates the largest Atlas cedar forest which is home to a thriving population of the Barbary ape – the only primate that is indigenous to the Mediterranean.
210 Species of Birds – including woodpecker, flamingo, spoonbills, storks, ducks, waders and coots – and eleven other threatened species can be found in Moroccan national parks and reserves.
Wildlife areas in the country feature 105 Species of mammal, including golden jackal, red fox, leopard and 18 other threatened species.
Neighboring the Moulay Bousselham lagoon is a large wetland area that was recently given protected wildlife status. The area is known as Merdja Zerga. This open, unproductive space is used for grazing by wandering herds of sheep, cattle and goats. Around the margin are lines of dwarf palm and the giant succulent agave. This variety of habitat combines with the huge size of the site to ensure satisfying bird watching all year round. There are large numbers of waders, including a large colony of flamingoes, plus little ringed plovers, black-winged stilts and black tailed godwits.
Cedar Forest Wildlife
The cedar forest that lies to the south of Azrou is a unique habitat in Morocco; it has a luxuriant atmosphere and is surrounded by the Middle Atlas range. The cedar forest shelters many troupes of Barbary apes which are one of the wildlife highlights in Morocco. They can usually be found feeding along the forest margins though they are shy animals and any excessive intrusion will send them directly to the very top of the branches of the cedar forest.
High Atlas Wildlife
The High Atlas has unique fauna and flora that is accessible to even the most unenthusiastic hiker. If you base yourself at Oukaimeden, Imlil or Ouirgane, climbing these mountains is not as difficult. The butterflies that brave these heights include the Moroccan Copper and Desert Orange Tip. Other inhabitants range from the almost invisible praying mantis to the scampering ground squirrel and the rare elephant shrew.