The Kasbah is perched at 5,971 feet, just above the village of Imlil in the mountains of Toubkal National Park. Towering over the Kasbah is the sheer face of Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa at 13,671 feet. The hills and valleys that surround the lodge are so tranquil that Martin Scorsese used them as the setting for Kundun, his film about the Dalai Lama. Imlil is the trailhead village where most trekking in the High Atlas Mountains starts, particularly the ascent of Jbel Toubkal.
While Morocco has its share of foxes, jackals, and the memorable Barbary macaques, the nation’s large livestock population of 28 million sheep, goats, and cattle outnumbers its wildlife. Indigenous wild mountain sheep called mouflon dwell in the Atlas region and are thought to be related to the ancestors of all modern sheep breeds. And if you look to the sky, there are more than 450 bird species in Morocco, including the Barbary partridge, Tristram’s warbler, and Moussier’s redstart.
The Berber people who inhabit the Atlas region have been living in North Africa since at least 3000 B.C. and may have arrived as early as 50,000 years ago. Today, they make up the majority of the Moroccan population and are known for their hospitality and craftsmanship. Throughout history, their cultural expression has been threatened and suppressed by varying colonial forces, but they have maintained a unique language, set of traditions, and identity.
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