Five cool places to see outside Fès

posted in: Morocco | 10

Whilst Fes makes a great city break away for Europeans with the easy-access of no-frill flights coming into the nearby airport, we really wanted to see what the Moroccan countryside would be like. Managing to secure a vehicle with local tour company Mint Tea Tours, I asked the owner if we could see the famous Barbary macaque which live in the nearby Middle-Atlas Mountains. Jamal said it wasn’t a problem and he would also take us to other nearby sights as well to make it a fun filled action-packed day and one we would never forget. So here are some of the sites we recommend visitors to Morocco’s third largest city to go out and explore.

Central Azrou - Morocco

Sefrou is a small town located south of Fes and is surrounded by beautiful hills and trees. The first stop on our day trip, Jamal took us to the western outskirts of the town to check out the amazing waterfall. To be honest when he told us about it before we arrived at the destination, Jamal down-played it and didn’t want us to be down-hearted when seeing it. So before we arrived we were kinda expecting a small waterfall in a barren rocky land but when we approached the falls from the viewpoint, this was totally not what we were expecting. Fast flowing waterfall from the hillside crashing down into the river below, we managed to capture a wonderful natural sight which I didn’t think was possible in Morocco. Throughout the day we were discovering that Morocco wasn’t all sand and rock and that there were lots of green forests and rivers/lakes to check out.

Sefrou Waterfall - Morocco

On the way to the next destination, we stopped off quickly to check out the landscape in this area and saw lakes, plenty of turkeys, farms which harvested onions and stored them outside in an unique way and meet some local people known as Berbers which are unique to North Africa.

Driving Through Morocco
This is how onions are stored after the harvest
Driving through Morocco
A lake we came across on the road from Sefrou to Ifrane
Driving Through Morocco
Typical landscape north of the Mid-Atlas Mountains

The next town we stopped off was Ifrane which is a town in Africa we never come across before. It was a typical European town based on a Swiss design. It was winter when we came here but there was no snow on the ground but walking around the town, it really did feel like I was walking in a ski resort of Santa-Fees or Zermatt back in Switzerland. This made a great pit stop to buy food, collect some cash and walk along the wide boulevards but the town is also known for the sculpture of the lion in a central park. Sculptured by an Italian prisoner who was banged up in prison many moons ago, he made this lion out of limestone found in the local area. The story behind why this lion was sculptured has a few versions but what we were amazed to find out was that this part of Africa did have lions known as the Atlas Lions (as us British call them) but these days Morocco doesn’t have any wild lions which want to terrorise the streets of Marrakech and Rabat. It is a feel shame, did they did out? We don’t know for sure but we would have loved to seen lions in the wild north of the Sahara.

Ifrane - Morocco
The lion statue in Ifrane 

Ifrane - Morocco

Ifrane - Morocco

Ifrane - Morocco

Driving Through Morocco
The landscape between Ifrane and the Mid-Atlas Mountains

Finally arriving in the mountains, we saw the amazing Barbary macaque. They were everywhere, running around the nearby car park, jumping up and down from trees, on the ground waiting for food. Jamal taught us some tricks on how to give the macaque water but even better was, before we arrived here we stopped off at a market stall to buy a kilo of bananas (while all the other people were feeding the monkeys peanuts) and when we were feeding them, we had quite a lot of friendly faces trying to grab the bananas out of our hands. Even the godfather (saw, the master of the group) trying to get first priority on eating the bananas. After a while (and seeing a few family feuds between the furry creatures), it was time to move on.

Barbary Macaque Monkey - Morocco

Barbary Macaque Monkey - Morocco

Barbary Macaque Monkey - Morocco

The town of Azrou was our final major stop where we had a late lunch but the views from this mountain side town of the valleys below were amazing and we managed to check out a very pretty mosque. For lunch we had to buy our meat from the nearby butchers and take it to the restaurant to be cooked (which despite paying for the meat made the meal a lot cheaper but we still gave the cook a tip because it tasted mighty dam fine).

Mint Tea - Morocco

The Grand Mosque of Ennour in Azrou - Morocco
The Grand Mosque of Ennour in Azrou

Central Azrou - Morocco

On the way back we managed to see another beautiful lake, this time the lake known as Auoa (name after the Spanish word for water) which meant we had a peaceful end to the day trip, just seeing the calm water with blue skies from above. With hardly a soul to be seen and a few birds nearby making a calling, this is what we loved most about Morocco. To get away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities and to check out the local way of life in villages, in the mountains, by the lakeside and see the backbone of the country. We had a truly amazing day out away from Fes and we recommend anyone to check out these sights.            

Lake Auoa - Morocco
Lake Auoa 



We traveled to the places of interest mentioned in this post with Mint Tea Tours who are based in Fes, Morocco who provide private tours, excursions and shuttle services. As our trip was booked at the last minute and we really wanted to see the monkeys located in the mid-Atlas mountains, we were really fortunate to be passed onto the tour company ran by Jamal and Ellen. Even better was the fact the company has a wide range of vehicles to choose from with comfortable legroom, comfortable seats and air conditioning for the warm weather whilst all their drivers are multi-lingual. For this trip we had Jamal who got us from A to B very safely and his knowledge of the country, the products, the history of the area is immense and very passionate about his country and his business. For us, this has to be one of the best tour companies we have come across and used and would recommend them whilst visiting the North African country. Mint Tea Tours also help visitors plan their tours from anywhere in Morocco and not just Fes and can be contacted via their website HERE. (Our opinion of Mint Tea Tours is honest and we did not receive any sort of sponsorship. We paid to use their services and we honestly say they were that good we had to mention them. Jamal’s honesty and help went along way to make our visit to Fes a very memorable one).  

Barbary Macaque Monkey - Morocco
Jamal from Mint Tea Tours



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10 Responses

  1. Cool! This is my first time to hear about Fes but based from your photos, looks an interesting place. Plus that pastel building got me <3 <3 <3 because I love pastel colors.
    Kisty Mea recently posted…#TripOfWonders VLOG: Borobodur Temple and Royal Ambarrukmo

  2. So cool… the day trip is perfect with a little bit of local culture, nature, art and architecture all thrown in together. Loved the waterfall, onion farming, the lake and the monkeys seemed friendly enough. Thanks for all the tips.
    Ticker Eats The World recently posted…Ancient Delhi – A Walk through Mehrauli Archeological Park

  3. Thanks for showing us that there’s more to Morocco than just sand indeed. It’s a lovely post which I enjoyed reading as it’s on my travel list (must sort out visa first…) for this year. Nice ideas for areas to visit.

  4. I didn’t get to explore the region outside of Fes so this was a wonderful highlight of the region and what other attractions are worth exploring. Thanks for the tour.

  5. That was a great idea to get out of the city- I feel like most tourists who visit Morocco go to most of the same spots, so it’s neat that you managed to get off the beaten track and into the mountains!
    Tamara Elliott recently posted…This is what a $25,000 New York City hotel room looks like

  6. We would love to visit Morocco someday! Such beautiful landscapes there, and much greener than I would have imagined. Your photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing and for all of your tips!
    Jen Joslin recently posted…Getting Off the Beaten Path in Goa, India

  7. What a fabulous post and trip you guys are having! I would pick somewhere to see the monkeys! Definitely! 😉 Fes looks fabulous on its own though, too.
    melody pittman recently posted…The Best Things To Do In Frisco, Texas

  8. I love that you went beyond the typical tourist visit of Fes and explored. The landscape is not at all what I had expected, nor the housing. You are brave to see the monkeys!

  9. Some beautiful little places on this list! I am afraid I will just have to go back to Morocco to tick them off my list!

  10. What a fun trip! I was literally just researching trips to Morocco before I read this. I think it’s a sign. Maybe I’ll be following in your footsteps soon.

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