Take a Trip to Ifrane in Morocco
A small town situated in Morocco's Middle Atlas, Ifrane has been around for centuries. The earliest permanent settlement dates back from the 16th century when a community was established in the Tizguit valley. Just a little downstream from modern day Ifrane, you will find an area that is still very much inhabited by the descendants of Sede 'Abd al-Salem who founded Ifrane.
In the regional Berber language the word ‘yfran’ is plural for ‘cave’ and when you explore the surrounding limestone plateaus you will find an abundance of them. During the town’s founding days, many homes were carved out of the surrounding rock. Today there are no people living in these caves which are now used as mangers and store houses. Most people prefer to live above the ground in houses. However these caves still make for interesting exploring – though sometimes they can be confusing so it is a good idea to get a trustworthy guide.
Modern Ifrane only truly began life around 1929 during the Protectorate period when the French decided to establish a ‘hill station’ here. The city rests on an elevation of 1600m above sea-level and is surrounded by pine, cedar and oak forests that make it a relatively cool city. As a result, many tourists from other parts of Morocco come here during the hot summer months to escape the heat. Perhaps the most distinguishable trait of Ifrane is its unusual Alpine architectural style – quite out of character with the rest of Moroccan architecture. The French villas are now predominantly Moroccan owned but they still retain their unusual charm.
During winter Ifrane sees even more visitors as people flock here to try their hand at the snow-covered slopes or simply to enjoy the simple pleasure of snow. During the rest of the year the town has a large student population who attend the Al Akhawayn University. The university is the only English-language University in Morocco and it is mostly the rich and elite who attend the university. Why not visit this Alpine resort while you are in the country and find out what aspects of the resort you enjoy the most for yourself?