(Chefchaouen, Northern Morocco)
Time: 3 – 6 hours, depending how young and fit you are.
This is a proper mountain walk, with crags and scree slopes, eagles and ravens. It has the feel of some of the walks in the Snowdon Range in Wales, UK. At a starting height of about 500m and a topping-out height of about 2000m, it feels like exercise; steep, but not quite a scramble and short enough to enjoy without the fear of running out of daylight.
From the Medina, look for the pure white ‘Spanish Mosque’, which is high on a hill at one end of the valley that runs along the base of the mountain. The walk will begin by heading towards this beautiful Mosque. Follow the signs, or ask directions, to the popular ‘cascades walk’. Just outside the Medina, cross the river; using the bridge provided, walk through the car parking area and bear right, up a flight of steps. You are now on route to the Spanish Mosque. The path is a well made-up track, with the town on your right and the Rif mountain ridge rising steeply on your left.
Keep on this path until you see the large rock that has been painted blue, it will be on your left. This rock marks your moment to turn left and get your walking legs going.
Head straight into the cleave between the two mountain tops and make your way up to the top. The path is quite well trodden and stays close to the left hand wall of this wide gulley. Other paths are available and all head to the top, with the odd branch to the left and right. It is very hard to go wrong here.
Once at the top, turn right and follow your nose. Your aim is to keep the Spanish Mosque in view, as much as possible, on your right-hand side, and to walk the ridge at the top and then follow the path down the gentle slope of the mountain’s flank, back to the ‘Cascades’ stream.
A good finish to the walk is to carry on to the Spanish Mosque to watch the sun go down.