The High Atlas Mountains Travel Guide (with Map & Photos)

The High Atlas Mountains are one of the landmarks of Africa. The article tells where the mountains are located, what plants and animals are found there, introduces the characteristics of the mountains.

High Atlas Mountains
High Atlas Mountains


The mountains are located in the northwestern part of Africa, stretching along the coast. The length is 2092 km, the width is half that, the height of Mount Toubkal is 4167 m. This is the highest peak of the High Atlas. The area of ​​the mountain system is more than 775.3 thousand km2.

High Atlas Mountains
High Atlas Mountains

The High Atlas Mountains were formed in the era of young Alpine folding, so their age is about 50 million years. The rocks involved in folding formed 550-250 million years ago.


The High Atlas Mountains are an alternation of ridges oriented along the coastline. On the Atlantic coast, plateaus are developed that form steps.

The inland part of the Atlas (Saharan Atlas) is formed by low foothill plateaus and the remains of weathered mountain ranges.

Between the highest ranges (High Atlas) and the Saharan Atlas are intermountain plains and plateaus. There are traces of an ancient ice age in the High Atlas.

High Atlas Mountains
High Atlas Mountains


The position of the Atlas is unique - it is the boundary between the subtropical and tropical zones.
The northern part is located in the subtropical zone in the Mediterranean climate - it rains in winter, + 10 + 12 ° С, in summer it is dry, + 22 + 25 ° С, the amount of precipitation is 1000-1800 mm / year.

The Saharan Atlas lies in the tropical zone with a deficit of precipitation (250-300 mm/year), temperatures up to + 45+50°C.

Above 2.5-3.5 thousand m there is snow for several months a year, which does not remain in summer.

High Atlas Mountains
High Atlas Mountains

Flora and fauna

In the subtropics, evergreen hard-leaved forests are common with thickets of myrtle, juniper, oleander, heather, and milkweed. The woodlands consist of holm oak and cork oak. Atlas cedars grow in the highlands.

Deserts and semi-deserts have formed in the tropical zone, where wormwood and grasses (feather grass) are observed in places.
The animal world is poor. Monkeys, hares have survived in the forests, hyenas, lizards, snakes, scorpions, and vultures in the semi-deserts. Everywhere there are jackals.

A unique representative of the High Atlas fauna is the giant peacock-eye butterfly, whose satin wings reach a span of 30 cm.

High Atlas Map