Iriqui National Park in Morocco

Iriqui National park is a national park in the south eastern region of the Republic of Morocco established in 1994 to mainly protect the temporary wetlands of Lake Iriqui which is at the heart of the desert. The park sits on an area of approximately 123,000 hectares and it covers an area between the Draa River and the South foothills of the Anti-Atlas in the provinces of Zagora and Tata. Draa River was dammed in 1970s and it no longer feeds into Lake Iriqui after the historic autumn floods. Aside the little rainfall in the area, there is enough to sustain the wetlands even for short time especially in the winter. These wetlands attract a number of migratory birds including the flamingos and the geese.

Iriqui national park is the largest park in Morocco and it is a very unique area since it is a Saharan. The park lies between the outer reaches of the Anti-Atlas Mountains in the west and the Draa River Valley to the east. It also covers a small part of the great dunes of Erg Chigaga though they are recognized as the longest in Morocco with a length of approximately 40 kilometers.

Vegetation of the park

Iriqui national park comprises of the typical desert landscape of Southern Morocco. Its vegetation is characterized by arid savannah consisting of the acacia trees and some of its dunes are covered by the tamarisk trees. The park hosts one of the largest acacia forests in North Africa.

Wildlife of the park

Iriqui national park is a home to various wildlife species including plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and many others.

Bird species of the park

In the wet periods, Iriqui national park is dominated by the migratory water birds including the coots, flamingos, geese and many others. This makes the park one of the best destinations in Morocco especially to the birders. Other species of birds in the park include the North African ostriches, houbara bustards, ostriches, wagtails, shrikes, stilts and others.

Mammals in the park

Iriqui national park is a home to a number of mammal species including both the small and large mammals. Among these include the Barbary sheep, oryxes, striped hyenas, dorcas gazelles, fennec fox and others. Also, the lake area in the park is one of the best grazing areas for the animal stock (goat, donkey, and dromedary) of the local people.

Reptile species in the park

Iriqui national park encompasses a large number of reptiles including the horned vipers, monitor lizards, lizards, geckos, chameleons and various snakes.

Where to stay while at Iriqui national park

The park has got a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from different rates including the budget, mid- range and luxurious suites. Among these accommodations include Dar Infiane, Borj Biramane Icht, Bab Rimal Foum Zguid and many others.