As part of our blog series on African protected areas, we will bring you at least one new “Photo Sphere” story every week. Photo Spheres are 360º panoramic images (think Street View) that can be shared on Google Maps, or with the Views community. Through the Street View partner programme, more and more remote places are making their way onto Google Street View. Where this is not (yet) the case, Photo Spheres allow the world an immersive view many of Africa’s protected areas. You can see a selection of Photo Spheres taken in Africa’s protected areas on our interactive story map.
Proclaimed in 1942, Toubkal National Park is Morocco’s oldest (and highest) National park. It is not without its problems: poaching has decimated many animal populations, local livestock has overgrazed parts of the park, and erosion resulting from too many tourists hiking up the park’s multiple peaks is an ongoing concern. But it is hard to deny its splendor: not only does it provide some of the most spectacular natural scenery on earth, it is also culturally important, with many Berber communities calling the Imlil valley home.
At the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, lies the Kasbah du Toubkal, a trekking gateway to the Atlas, and a tranquil hideaway to visitors from all over the world. Originally the home of a local chief during Morocco’s French occupation, the Kasbah was restored in the early 1990s to a “Berber hospitality centre” by two English brothers and a local mountain guide.