Ski Africa! Visiting Morocco in January or February
Posted on November 11, 2012 by James Robbins
Happy New Year!
If you’re in need of a break after a hectic Christmas period, and fancy doing something a little out of the ordinary, then why not consider a skiing holiday in Africa?
[Photo by Simon White on Flickr]
We agree, it does sound odd. Snow isn’t the first thing you’d associate with Africa. But perhaps that’s part of the charm of hitting the piste in Morocco – it’s a great story to tell friends and family on your return.
Just one hour from Tigmi is the ski resort Oukaïmeden. The resort is situated at the altitude of 2,219m above see level and the top station is at an altitude of 3,232m. There are a number of runs at the resort and depending on the amount of snow they should all be open. Experienced skiers will enjoy Oukaïmeden, as it’s very challenging in places – look for a number of black runs and some good off piste action on a powder day.
I have personally skied there, and while I cannot say it compares to Europe’s best resorts, it’s certainly worth visiting. What made me laugh on the trip was that it does not matter how high you go or how fast you ski, you may just encounter a Berber, potentially out of control, trying to sell you something in their own inimitable style!
Equipment, including clothes (although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the clothes), can be hired at a number of shops in the resort. Last time I was there the equipment was a little dated, but in perfectly good condition and certainly skiable. So if you a fancy a day of retro-skiing then take to the slopes at Oukaïmeden.
I’d recommend rising early at Tigmi and having breakfast at around seven o’clock. Aim to leave Tigmi by eight so you arrive in the resort just after nine. That way you can have a morning ski and be back at Tigmi in the afternoon for a swim in the pool or even a late afternoon massage in the Tigmi Spa.
A Taxi from Tigmi to the resort is 900dh return (around £70) and includes a few hours waiting around time. If you make it a full day, just give the driver a little more for his time.
Back in Marrakech, January and February are without doubt quieter months. But what’s really special is that you can make the most of the city without seeing hordes of other tourists around, and get a chance to experience the true Marrakech life.
Temperatures are much more bearable, too. Expect mid to high teens, perhaps early 20s, during the day and cool nights – although in the sun it can feel much warmer.
Need to escape the bleak midwinter? You’ll be very welcome at Tigmi.