Talassemtane national park in Morocco
Morocco has a unique variety of landscapes from oceans to green to totally dry and desertic. This made Morocco have 12 beautiful national parks rich in fauna and flora and very different from the others. The first national park created in Morocco is Toubkal National park back in 1942 which made it the most visited also due to its highest peak in the whole of North Africa. We choose to write about Talassemtane national park, to give more details due to its position in the Rif mountains and its amazing and unique beauty!
- Talassemtane National Park
Situated in the Rif Mountains, Created only in 2004 to conserve the last of Morocco’s threatened Fir forests. The park’s elevation ranges from 350 meters to 1,050 meters with opportunities to take a hike from Chefchaouen.
Talassemtane is part of the Transcontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean.
To reach The park, the easy way is during your tour from Tangier, drive to Chefchaouen where your can start your trekking in Talassemtane, however, from Chefchouen there is also a possibility to drive off-road to the middle of the park if you wish.
From Fes to Chefchaouen it takes a 3 to 4 hours drive to be in the park.
- Home to Barbary Apes
The Barbary macaque (Macaca Sylvanus), also known as Barbary ape or magot, is a macaque species native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria along with a small introduced population in Gibraltar. It is one of the best-known Old World monkey species That you can easily observe during your visit to Talassemtane national park.
The diet of Barbary macaque consists of plants and insects. They are found in a variety of habitats. Males live to around 25 years old while females may live up to 30 years
The Barbary macaque can be easily observed in different parts of the mountains in Morocco, including the Azro forest, the Ouzoud waterfalls as well as in Talassemtane national park.
- Home to the Fir trees
Moroccan fir (Abies Maracana) is a medium-sized tree, a narrow coniferous tree belonging to the group of Mediterranean firs, favors an altitudinal range between 1400-1800 m in humid bioclimates. The tree is now limited to a small area in the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco, especially in Talassemtane national park.
In addition to the Moroccan Fir tree, the forest consists of black pine, maritime pine, cedar, green oak, and yew that are mostly spreading on the park. Because of fires and forest clearings as well as Cannabis production on the Park, the distribution of the tree declined by 70% from 1938-1994. This current status has also diminished the use of wood for construction.
Essential oils obtained from the tree’s seeds are used in the perfume industry. Often used in traditional medicines to treat respiratory problems.
- Home to 100 flowers
If you have the chance to do a trek in Talassemtane, the best time is during the end of May. You will be surprised by the unique biodiversity and landscapes of this national park. 100 flowers are blooming during this time of year which makes your trekking in Morocco an unforgettable experience.
- Home to the unique culture of Rif
As Amazigh Rifian and Jebla tribes have inhabited this region. With Rif’s unique Environment, the area has a unique culture that easily can be recognized from the customs and the spoken dialects.
Chefchaouen (the blue town) is still the main market of this region.
- Home to Cannabis production
The cultivation of Cannabis in this region was practiced for countries, although It is illegal since Morocco’s independence in 1956. It is partially tolerated in these regions even today. Cannabis production may be the main income for the people who lives deep in the park, but It’s sad to see the hectares of trees cut down for this matter.
This year 2021, Morocco is set to allow the production and sale of cannabis in the kingdom, in an attempt to help ease pressure on farmers in the Rif mountains.
List of the 12 national parks in Morocco:
- Al Hoceima National Park
- Dakhla National Park (see Dakhla)
- Haut Atlas Oriental National Park
- Ifrane National Park
- Iriqui National Park
- Khenifiss National Park
- Khenifra National Park
- Souss-Massa National Park
- Talassemtane National Park
- Tazekka National Park
- Toubkal National Park
- Merdja Zerka National Park