Fifty miles south of Marrakech’s reliably mild winters, Morocco’s landscape gives way to the snowy slopes of the Oukaimeden ski resort. Tucked away in the Atlas Mountains, with peaks over 10,000 feet, the resort’s slopes have snow on them until March or April. This and its location under Jebel Toubkal, the tallest point of the Atlas range, draw thrill seekers and amateur skiers alike.
Though it has the typical amenities of American and European ski resorts, Oukaimeden maintains a rugged charm. Visitors can choose between riding a chairlift built in 1963 or venturing up on the back of a donkey to reach the top of the slopes. Any rented ski gear will be a bit “out of date,” according to travel blogger Gill Morris, sourced secondhand by indigenous Berber people who work in the local tourism industry.
Oukaimeden is not Africa’s only ski destination. The Algerian government recently restored Chréa, which was a popular ski destination for French colonists before becoming a conflict zone during the country’s civil war from 1992 to 2002. In Lesotho, the Afriski resort attracts Olympic athletes and DJs with its combination of mountains and restaurants, and Tiffindell’s slopes are hailed as a South African national treasure.