Morocco ‘s little switzerland

Morocco ‘s little switzerland

It bears a nickname that is peculiar in Morocco: the little Switzerland. Better! In 2013 this small town of 30,000 inhabitants, located in the High Atlas was ranked second cleanest city in the world. Head of the Province of Ifrane in the administrative region of Fes – Méknes. Its tourist potentials are numerous, through  the sites and other sublime places that surround the city, which are exceptional and of rare beauty. It was one of the favorite places of the late King Hassan II, who often went on holiday,  to ski in his Royal Palace located on the heights of the city, just opposite the Prairie des Amours. It is a beautiful palace, florid and very large, but only one part of the roof of one of the buildings is visible. The beauty of this region lies in its diversity of contrasting landscapes in a calm atmosphere where the purity of the air, with the fragrant odors of essence of cedar and Thuja, charm the souls of the visitors. In accordance with its geographical location, Ifrane has always been a summering center for holiday camps, and a place of change, for visitors, for a long time.

Numerous sites to be visited include:

The National Park

The National Park

The largest cedar forest in the world is found in this park, whose biodiversity represents a huge asset for the region. Several lakes or Dayats abound in the nearby areas : Dayat Aoua, Dayat Ahechlaf, Dayat Ifrah, Dayet Afennourire, Tizquite Park, Val d’Ifrane, the sources of Ain Vitel … among others. This park is also one of the most representative,  for its landscapes of exceptional beauty. It is a favorite place for hikers and freshwater fishers, as well as Barbary monkeys, an endangered species that survives thanks to the visitors who feed them.

The Lion of Ifrane

The Lion of Ifrane

Il trône majestueusement au centre ville et reste l’un des emblèmes de la cité. Il est certainement l’un des plus photographiés dans toute la région. L’auteur de cette sculpture en pierre, qui date de la seconde guerre mondiale est attribué, tantôt à un prisonnier allemand, tantôt à un français, le girondin Henri Moreau.

It sits majestically in the city center, and remains one of the monuments of the city. It is certainly one of the most photographed site in the whole region. The author of this stone sculpture, which dates from the Second World War, is attributed, sometimes to a German prisoner, sometimes to a Frenchman,  Henri Moreau.

The refuge of the Waterfalls

The refuge of the Waterfalls

On your way to the Zaouia Moulay Abdessalam a dozen kilometers from the city, you will discover the enchanting site : the refuges of the waterfalls. When the snows of the High Atlas starts melting , the waterfalls are more majestic. An ideal place for a picnic, or to cool off during the hot weather.

The principal Park of Ifrane

Many parks and green spaces surround the city. One of the most frequented is the park of the city center, called “La Prairie des Amours” which faces the Royal Palace. It is surrounded by huge trees and flowers, and has trails for walking. A perfect place to relax

Springs of Oum Rabii

Springs of Oum Rabii

They are seven , and constitute the birth of the largest river in Morocco ( the tiver Oum Rabii ). The site is splendid and its visitors are numerous. Small restaurants are located in this setting and offer a multitude of dishes based on local products.

It is recommended to go there in the spring, between March and May, when the weather is more enjoyable.

Lakes and water bodies

Lake Zerrouka: located at the exit of the city, it supplies Ifrane with drinking water and remains the dreamed place of the fishermen in fresh water.

Ain Mersa: A place located 7km from the city , which attracts visitors in search of refreshment and inspiration.

Sidi Mimoun lake: It is part of the circuit of the lakes and remains a privileged stage. Located about twenty kilometers from the city.

Amghass lake: located 26 km from Azrou, two of the rosette of water bodies built on this wadi, for the pleasure of salmonid fishers.

University of  Al Akhawyn

It is surrounded by lush vegetation, was founded in 1993 and remains one of the most important in Morocco. The greatest elites have gone through it. It has all the facilities worthy of the biggest universities in the world including its own mosque. It is the pride of the city.

Michlifen.

 Ski Resort

Michlifen. Ski Resort

 

One  of the most beautiful ski resorts of the Kingdom located in the Middle Atlas a few km from Ifrane. It is located in a huge crater of volcanic origin at 1800meters altitude. In times of heavy snow, it never goes empty, especially during winter school holidays. Families come to ski to the delight of the children. It is made up of 5 ski slopes, and  surrounded by a huge and beautiful cedar trees.

Vittel Source

Anotr fairy  place, frequented by tourists, for picnics. It is crossed by a small river, sometimes fishy.

The fish farm of Azrou

The fish farm of Azrou

This is a private fish farm situated in  Ain Aghbale,  which raises rainbow trout and salmon, as well as smoked fillets.

Besides these tourist attractions, which remain among the main attractions, Ifrane counts:

41 sites with a strong natural interest (waterfalls, lakes, geological sites, belvederes, forest areas …)

8 heritage sites (Cathedral, Akchmir Rock, Koudiat …)

5 recreation sites (Gardens, Squares …)

Local products

Ifrane abounds of local products of excellent quality. These include the production of vegetables and fruits (cherries, plums, apples, figs, nectarines, peaches, almonds, pears …) small red berries: raspberries, strawberries, honey, aromatic and medicinal plants, floral waters. Production of jam,  and compotes of cherries and plums. You can also taste good dishes with morels, trout of the Atlas, meat of goats … ..

Popular Arts

Amazigh,  Ahidous troops .

Craft

Carpet weaving, Hanbal, slippers, Berber tents, wood carving, wrought iron …

History

Ifrane knew human presence from the Neolithic period, as strongly evidenced by the caves, such as Tizquite, and the archaeological sites where remains were discovered. During the contemporary period, the region was later inhabited by a population of two great Berber tribes, namely the Ait Mguild and the Ait Mrir, and partly of the Aït Seghrouchen, nomadic tribes moving between the green pastures of Timahdite and Azrou to the borders of the country of  Zayanes.

Geography

Ifrane, is the capital of the province of Ifrane, with an area of 3,573 kelometers square,  administratively composed of two municipalities (Ifrane and Azrou), five caïdats (Tizguit, Dait Aoua, Ain Leuh, Timahdit and Irklaouen) And eight rural districts (Tizguite, Dait Aoua, Ain Leuh, Sidi El Mekhfi or Sidi Addi, Timahdite, Ben Smim, Oued Ifrane and Tigrigra.) The new administrative division makes the province part of the Fes-Meknes region.

Climate

Ifrane ‘s climate is  very humid and temperate . The northern slope of the Middle Atlas Mountains is indeed the most watered area of Morocco, after the Rif mountain range. Precipitation occurs mostly in winter. In winter it snows a lot on the city.

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