Ifrane

A small town situated in Morocco’s Middle Atlas, Ifrane has been around for centuries. The

earliest permanent settlement dates back from the 16th century when a community was

established in the Tizguit valley. Just a little downstream from modern day Ifrane, you will

find an area that is still very much inhabited by the descendants of Sede Abd al-Salem who

founded Ifrane.

In the regional Berber language the word “yfran” is plural for “cave” and when you explore the

surrounding limestone plateaus you will find an abundance of them. During the town’s

founding days, many homes were carved out of the surrounding rock. Today there are no

people living in these caves which are now used as mangers and store houses. Most people

prefer to live above the ground in houses. However these caves still make for interesting

exploring – though sometimes they can be confusing so it is a good idea to get a trustworthy

guide.

Modern Ifrane only truly began life around 1929 during the Protectorate period when the

French decided to establish a hill station here. The city rests on an elevation of 1600m above

sea-level and is surrounded by pine, cedar and oak forests that make it a relatively cool city.

As a result, many tourists from other parts of Morocco come here during the hot summer

months to escape the heat. Perhaps the most distinguishable trait of Ifrane is its unusual

Alpine architectural style – quite out of character with the rest of Moroccan architecture. The

French villas are now predominantly Moroccan owned but they still retain their unusual

charm.

During winter Ifrane sees even more visitors as people flock here to try their hand at the

snow-covered slopes or simply to enjoy the simple pleasure of snow. During the rest of the

year the town has a large student population who attend the Al Akhawayn University. The

university is the only English-language University in Morocco and it is mostly the rich and

elite who attend the university. Why not visit this Alpine resort while you are in the country

and find out what aspects of the resort you enjoy the most for yourself?