By Maryam Montague
December 08, 2014
John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy

I met my husband after he had just finished a glacier climbing course.  He loves outdoor adventure and so it’s a good thing that we moved to Morocco.  With a coastline of 1,800 plus miles on the west, the High Atlas and Rif Mountains in the center, and the frontier of the Sahara desert in the east, there is something for everyone (including my husband, phew).  Marrakesh is no exception in this regard, especially if you include the areas surrounding the city.  You’ll find plenty of activities to get your heart pumping, accelerate your graying hairs and provide you with entertaining evening party fodder.  All joking aside, these activities might be out of the ordinary but they are run by agencies that really know their stuff and are safe.   Even better, many are open to kids or have alternatives just for kids.  Here, some of my favorite outdoor adventures.

Balloon riding with Ciel d'Afrique

Not acrophobic? Good. How about claustrophobic or agoraphobic? Well, put them all behind and venture off before sunrise when the air is calm and fresh. The views of Marrakesh from a hot air balloon are incomparable. And French pilot, Maurice, is very dashing.  

Quading with Dunes & Desert

You can take it slow—or you can take it fast! Quading through the country side around Marrakesh is such a blast and a particular favorite of the teenage set (and, ahem, me!).  You’ll also make a pit stop for mint tea in a local village. Training and all equipment provided, so never fear.

Mountain bike riding with Argan Sports

There are multiple tours to choose from with this biking company—from an easy half day outing to a no-holds-barred advanced excursion. All mountain tours include transfers to and from the Atlas Mountains, top of the line bikes/helmets, a professional cyclist guide, and a sit down meal. 

Skiing and hiking at Oukaimeden

Skiing in Marrakesh? Almost—you can ski just 90 minutes from the city at Oukaimeden. There is no man-made snow or grooming of the slopes, but there is a chair lift and T-bar tow ropes. And even if the weather is not accommodating it’s a beautiful area to hike or ride the lift to the 10,700 feet top for a breathtaking views.  

Climbing Mount Toubkal in the Toubkal National Park

If you have three days, knock off North Africa’s highest peak (13,671 feet), located in the Toubkal National Park, about an hour from Marrakesh. The standard route only requires stamina—no technical climbing skills or gear needed.  Guides can be found at village of Imlil the beginning point.

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