Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Dayet Aaoua

Dayet Aaoua is a freshwater lake located in the Middle Atlas, off the route between Ifrane and Azrou, which provides a variety of habitats supporting a range of different wildlife. Frogs seek refuge from the summer heat in the lake’s shallow waters, while iridescent dragonflies hover over the water’s surface as evidence of a thriving ecosystem. The insects and amphibians of Dayet Aaoua attract a number of bird species, making it an alluring destination for birding enthusiasts.

Waders that may be spotted at Dayet Aaoua include the black-winged stilt, redshank, green sandpiper and one of Morocco’s most elegant birds, the avocet. The deeper waters of the lake attract flocks of grebes, including great-crested grebes and black-necked grebes. Visitors in the spring are likely to see the spectacular crested coot, with its bright red knobs on either side of its white facial shield indicating readiness for breeding. The reeds of the lake provide the perfect habitat for grey herons, cattle egrets, reed-warblers and fan-tailed warblers.

The summer months bring a flurry of activity to Dayet Aaoua as the skies are filled with migrating martins and swallows, with the sand martin generally being the most plentiful. Resident and migrant birds of prey are attracted by this abundant food source and it is quite likely that birders will see the aerial displays of red kites as they circle overhead, while flocks of collared pratincole perform their darting movements in the sky as they capture their next meal. The impressive maneuvers of the Montagu’s harrier may also be seen during the summer months. At times Dayet Aaoua does dry up and the resident wildlife either dies off or moves on, but with the rain life returns in abundance to start the cycle all over again.

Visitors to Dayet Aaoua may also want to include a visit the legendary Cèdre Gouraud. Located around eight kilometers from Azrou, this gigantic cedar tree is said to be at least 800 years old, stands at a height of 130 feet, with its girth measuring 25 feet. While its history is not known for sure, the tree was apparently named after a Colonel Gouraud sometime between 1912 and 1914.

Nature-lovers who have taken time to explore Morocco, know that it is a country of great natural beauty and diversity – Dayet Aaoua proves this to be true.