Geography of Morocco

Morocco encompasses many different natural environments. The country forms a geological transition zone between Africa’s plain and the alpine mountain system.

The dominant topographic feature in Morocco is the alpine Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s “backbone”, which extends through the country in the southwest-northeast direction. The central parts of the massifs consist of crystalline bedrock, while the younger folding rocks are mostly from Jurassic and Cretaceous, partly with basaltic layers between layers. Tertiary and quaternary deposits (including phosphate clays) are included in the reductions.

The Middle Atlas mountain range (Moyen Atlas), flanked by the Oum er-Rebia river that flows towards the Atlantic Ocean, and by Moulouya which flows towards the Mediterranean, rises to over 3000 m. In the southwest it runs alongside the High Atlas (Haut Atlas), which in Jabal Toubkal reaches 4165 m asl, Morocco’s highest mountain peak. To the south of these mountains, interrupted by a lowering zone, lies the Antiatlas Mountains. The mountains reach approx. 2,500 meters above sea level, but more resembles a plateau than a mountain range. The southern slopes are barren and extend towards the often dry river Oued Drâa.

In the north they run approx. 2000 m high Riff Mountains in an arch of high mountain ridges and wide valleys parallel to the steep coast, from Tangier in the west almost to Melilla in the east. The mountains descend in the south towards the triangular Sebousletta which forms an alluvial lowland.

Western Morocco, which extends from the Middle and High Atlas to the Atlantic, consists largely of a 400-700 m high plateau (Moroccan Meseta) intersected by river valleys. Along the Atlantic lies a narrow coastal plain, widest south of Casablanca.

Berber Village in the Middle Atlas (Moyen Atlas).

Tissint meteorites

In July 2011, Tissint was hit by a meteorite rain with rocks weighing up to one kilogram.

Climate

Detailed climate information on Morocco on the website of the World Meteorological Organization.

Wildlife in Morocco

The mammalian fauna in Morocco comprises 105 species. Elephants and lions were exterminated hundreds of years ago, while leopards may be found in inaccessible areas. Wild boar lives in the forests, gazelles and jackals on the steppes. Fennel or desert reef lives in desert and berry monkeys in the Atlas Mountains. A variety of rodents, including several species of ground grains.

The bird fauna is Mediterranean in character with species that are otherwise found only south of the Sahara: guinea fowl, white-brown francolin and black-crowned jagra. A total of 490 species are registered, 206 of these breeding species. Sand Chickens and numerous lark -, steinskvett- and songs species characteristic. Diadem red-tailed tail is endemic in North West Africa and is common. Almost the entire world population of shell ibis lives in nature reserves in Morocco.

Morocco is home to more than 100 species of reptiles and 13 amphibians. Habitats often do great damage to crops in the south.

Cobra in Marrakech, Morocco

Plant life in Morocco

The vegetation in the northwest composed most of the vast steppe and forest (often feeding on scrubland) with Mediterranean vegetation, cork oak, holm, maquiskratt, with Aleppo pine and cedar in the mountains. Upper tree line is approx. 3100 masl Southeast of the mountains is pure desert vegetation. the worm species Artemisia herba-alba and the densely tufted species Fredolia aretioides, remotely reminiscent of a large, gray-green rock. At the far south are scattered populations of the endemic tree argantre, which has fruits used for feed and for the preparation of cooking oil.