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The wildlife of Morocco


When travellers think about Morocco, thoughts of busy souks in Marrakech, or picture-perfect riads often spring to mind. But little do tourists know, Morocco is also home to a number of great wildlife spots found deep in nature. Sadly, the Moroccan landscape is starting to succumb to deforestation and overgrazing livestock, which means a number of animals are now endangered. But despite this, the country is trying to reverse these issues, in order to preserve what’s left for visitors. And as Morocco is not often thought about when considering wildlife and nature-inspired travels, a number of these recommended spots are also fairly quiet areas to investigate as well!

Endangered species in the Atlas Mountains

Spanning some 1,600 miles across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the Atlas Mountains are the perfect opportunity to spot some local wildlife. One of the most highly anticipated sightings would have to be that of the Barbary Macaque – the only member of the genus Macaca that lives outside Asia and one that is unfortunately classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Now, they can only be found in small forests or bush areas in the mountains areas of Morocco and Algeria, making the experience of seeing them in the wild, one you’ll never forget. Whilst visiting Morocco, consider supporting the conservation efforts of this majestic species, opt for a guided tour led by a knowledgeable local guide who understands the behaviour of Barbary Macaques and can ensure that visitors maintain a respectful distance!

Barbary Macaque and baby, wildlife in MoroccoThe lizards & snakes of Paradise Valley

Set deep within the High Atlas Mountains, and one of the most beautiful areas in Morocco, Paradise Valley is a total haven for nature and wildlife lovers, offering the chance to see exotic birds in their natural habitat, as well as indigenous reptiles like lizards and snakes, which inhabit the rocky terrain. Find puff adders, Spanish terrapins and more unusual species such as the agile desert horned viper and Moroccan spiny-tailed lizard. After dark, the night shift takes over — this is your chance to see geckos and Egyptian cobras.

It’s easy enough to drive to the valley and navigate it yourself if you wish, or you should also be able to find multiple day tour options from neighbouring Marrakech and Agadir, if preferred. If venturing here for the day, we’d highly recommend checking out two rest stops along the way. The first, called Café Tropic, offers you the opportunity to chill with your drinks right by the river. While the second, the Panoramic Café, serving traditional Moroccan mint tea atop a terrace that overlooks a large section of the valley.

Large lizard resting on a rock in Morocco

Don’t forget the coastline

Morocco’s marine environment offers rich opportunities for wildlife observation and underwater exploration, making it an enticing destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! Several species of dolphins can be spotted off the coast including common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and sometimes even orcas (killer whales). Similarly, the waters off Morocco are also frequented by various whale species, particularly during their migratory seasons. Species such as fin whales, sperm whales, and pilot whales can sometimes be spotted on whale-watching tours, which are available in certain coastal areas.

A pair of Pilot whales in Morocco

Bird watching at Souss-Massa National Park

Comprising cascading cliffs, pillowy dunes, dense forest and coastal steppe, Souss-Massa National Park is one of Morocco’s most significant national parks. Found south of Agadir, it was created as a National Park in 1991, and extends along the banks of Wadi Massa! It’s also probably the most important bird habitats in Morocco, offering the fantastic opportunity for bird sightings as it’s renowned for it’s abundance of species. With binoculars around your neck and a notebook in your hand, set off to explore magnificent landscapes in quest of the rarest specimens, depending on the season, you can find black-winged stilts, redshanks, lesser black-backed gulls, black-headed gulls, and even pink flamingos.

Stork building nest in Marrakesh

Make it happen

Venture out of the city and explore the abundance of wildlife Morocco has to offer. If you’re feeling inspired to visit Morocco, get in touch with our local experts who can tailor a trip just for you, ensuring you explore the many facets of this country!

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