Wildlife Conservation and Birdwatching in Morocco
Wildlife in Morocco is diverse and fascinating. The Taroudant area’s wildlife resources are phenomenal because of the variety of habitats locally – mountains, oases, plains and coastal habitats; sandy, rock-strewn & rocky places.
Your enjoyment of them will be greatly enhanced by the knowledge and enthusiasm of our guide Said. He has been involved with us since 1993, when he started to help Jane our director with her research into wildlife conservation (which originally brought her to Morocco).
Morocco is home to 24,000 species of the animal kingdom, of which 480 are bird species, 90 are reptile species (50% more than in the whole of Europe!) and over 7,000 recognised plant species of which a high percentage are endemic (17%).
Also our region is a “crossroads” for flora and fauna from the Mediterranean, the Sahara, the Tropics (eg. the argan tree) and montane zones. Then we have such contrasting geology and habitats in the Souss Valley, High Atlas and Anti Atlas Mountains and on the Atlantic Coast.
And our local tortoise subspecies Testudo graeca soussensis was not officially named until 2001. After all they do not need to hibernate here due to the warmer winter climate! There are many beautiful lizards and geckos, the latter being used in our logo – it is a symbol of good fortune!
Morocco has 11 national parks and many other designated areas. In 1991 our local Souss Massa National Park was designated as a category 5 status (the highest international designation). Here you find the last remaining colonies of the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) breeding in the wild. Then gazelles, oryx, addax and the African Ostrich were successfully reintroduced from 1994 there. The endemic cactoid Euphorbias found here as well as in the Anti Atlas Mountains and on the Atlantic Coast are recognised as internationally important by the IUCN.
More recently the Tamri National Park has also been designated to protect the Bald Ibis.
Finally the argan forest is unique to the region. The fruit produces a marvellous oil rich in vitamin E. Argan oil is now acclaimed worldwide both to eat and for its wonderful effects on the skin, hair and nails. A Biosphere Reserve to protect the argan tree was designated in December 1998.
As a guest at La Maison Anglaise, you will benefit from a wealth of information from our highly experienced guide Said and our library about wildlife in Morocco. Besides you will have a chance to meet wildlife attracted to our gardens.
Our Birdwatching Holidays
Southern Morocco is teeming with birds. Like our guests, many species migrate south for sun and good food in the winter! The full schedule for the holiday will be decided once you arrive. We will reserve your room on a B+B basis and arrange excursions and meals on a day to day basis depending on the preferences of the group. Please see our price list here
About 480 species of birds either make their home in Morocco all year round or over the winter or pass through on their migratory routes, making Morocco the best country in the North Africa, Europe and the Middle East for bird watching.
The best time to visit is between October and May. November is particularly good for coastal wetland sites, as the winter migrants have just arrived. March to May is the best time to see the greatest range of migrants and residents.
Why visit our region?
Firstly, our guide Said has a wealth of knowledge, a very keen eye, a great love of ornithology, a biology degree and long experience of assisting our birdwatchers since 1996. Secondly, we have 3 Protected Areas in the region: The Argan forest Biosphere reserve, the Tamri National Park and the Souss Massa National Park, renowned for its wetland and cactoid euphorbia habitats. Besides at both National Parks you have a good chance of an encounter with the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis.