An adventure in the oldest Moroccan National Park
Morocco is extremely concerned by the preservation of its natural areas. It offers rich and varied lands for outdoor sports. Ten national parks have been created since 1940. The first is the National Toubkal Park in 1942 which harbours our great event and offers a vast variety of landscapes – high-plateaux, cliffs, lakes, gorges, ridges, rivers and streams – which can change by simply running from one valley to the next. Whether it be for the local Berber inhabitants, runners or simple travellers, the diversity in the High Atlas scenery is an endless source of fascination.
The layout of the Toubkal National Park offers an incomparable and invaluable playing field with heights ranging from 1,200 m to over 4,000 m
At a distance of 75km from Marrakech between the N’Fiss Valley West and the Ourika Valley East, it covers a total area of 100,000 ha and offers a whole range of rocks which also give an idea of the race’s technical difficulties. A large set of colours and shapes make the scenery particularly attractive.
It also has its specific climate. It is often covered with snow from mid-October to May and temperatures have been known to reach – 20°C, in complete contrast to the hot and dry climate in the Summer when temperatures can rise to over 30°C in the daytime and go under 0°C or even less at night, especially if the wind gets up.
These specificities make the Toubkal National Park a mountain reference in Morocco and more generally in North Africa, due to its 4,167m summit Mount Toubkal.
From rocks to tracks, through breath-taking singles, the UTAT run allows each and every one to be on familiar terms with the highest summits of the park.
An exceptional biodiversity
The National Toubkal Park has a unique and diversified flora. You can find ever-green oaks and thuyas following juniper forests, thorny bushes or even surprising humid fields (?) such as on the Oukaïmeden plateau.
No less than 33 different kind of mammals can be found in the Park. You may be lucky enough to meet a Cuvier gazelle, mountain sheep, a caracal or even the Atlas squirrel the four emblems of the Park. There are also 95 species of birds, amongst which the Royal Eagle, the Bonelli eagle, the “booted eagle” or Jean le Blanc short-toed eagle.
This environment makes the UTAT unique : A trail through high altitude scenery, very different to the European massifs, in the midst of an eco-system of protected species offering both high mountain and Mediterranean climates.
This post is also available in: French