The flora & fauna of Morocco is imagined to be very arid and desert-like, isn’t it? But what kind of animals and plants are native to Morocco, besides our out-of-season vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and co? If you want to know more about the country, I recommend you to have a look at the Blogpost: Books about Morocco (novels, stories, no classic travel guides).
What originally grows, thrives and flourishes in Morocco
Native fauna – animals in Morocco
If you have already been to Marrakech, you will know the following animals: snakes, cats, and sometimes camels. Except for the cats, these are almost always exclusively put on display for tourists. Wild animals, on the other hand, have naturally moved in Morocco mainly to the more sparsely populated areas of the country. These include reptiles, such as lizards, chameleons, turtles and snakes, as well as desert foxes, jackals, hyenas, leopards, desert lynxes, gazelles as well as Barbary macaques. In addition, over 200 species of birds regularly breed in Morocco, including eagles, vultures, buzzards, as well as kites and storks. Popular with tourists are, for example, goats, which climb argan trees in search of the fruit. An almost bizarre sight.
Morocco has several national parks, including the Ifrane National Park, which protects cedar forests where Barbary macaques live, and the area around the highest peak in North Africa, Jabal Toubkal. Tourist attractions include the Crocopark in Agadir, the largest park of crocodiles in Morocco, enclosed in a botanical garden.
Native flora – plants in Morocco
The flora in Morocco is sometimes very different, especially the wide spread Atlas Mountains. The highest peak here is 4,167 meters high, while popular vacation beach towns such as Agadir, for example, are at an altitude of 23 meters. With altitude differences of just over 4 km, it is understandable that the same climate does not prevail everywhere, and thus the flora in Morocco is very diverse.
Mediterranean vegetation is found northwest of the mountains, including oaks, thujas, cedars and pines. Southeast of the mountains is mainly desert steppe with tussock grasses and briars. In the south-western coastal area of Morocco grow the famous argan trees (see goats in the upper section) as well as jujubes (a buckthorn plant). Otherwise, strawberry trees, pistachios, different juniper species, as well as dwarf palms and resistant half-grass can be found widely distributed in the country, as well as date palms in a few oases.
Also an economically important factor is the cultivation of vegetables, for export. About 44% of the Moroccan population is employed in agriculture, which accounts for about 17% of the gross domestic product. Tourism is, of course, the most important factor. Mainly in greenhouses, citrus fruits as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, hot peppers, pointed peppers, as well as various herbs and zucchini are cultivated and exported. In total, about 1.2 million tons annually. These huge fields of greenhouses are mostly located near Marrakech, Fez, and near Agadir (Souss-Massa region).
The photos in this article were taken in Agadir, Morocco (at Crocopark as well as at the airport).