The region of Meknès-Tafilalet borders Algeria and consists of the prefectures of Al Ismaïlia and Meknès-El Menzeh and the provinces of El Hajeb, Errachidia, Ifrane, and Khénifra. Its capital is Meknes.
Meknès-El Menzeh is a prefecture with some outstanding ancient sites such as the ruins of Volubilis, occupied by both Phoenicians and Romans and the home of Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s daughter Sylene. There are moderate to extreme levels of poverty here, but the countryside is lovely, with olive trees among the rolling hills. In this area is the beautiful town of Moulay Idriss, a sacred pilgrimage site on top of a hill.
The city of Meknes is less popular than Marrakech and Fès but has its share of architectural gems. These include the sumptuous mausoleum complex of Islamic ruler Moulay Ismail, the theological school Bou Inania Medersa and Bab Mansour, an ornately decorated gate. Another attraction is the Dar Jamai Museum, with its vast decorative arts collection.
Ifrane is nicknamed Little Switzerland, being set among evergreen, cedar and oak forests 1600 metres above sea level in the Atlas Mountains. It has ski resorts with Alpine-style buildings. There are many charming French villas here. But even more interesting are the old, carved-out homes in caves. They are now mainly used as mangers and storage rooms, the locals preferring to live in houses above the ground these days. But these caves lent the region its name, as ‘yfran’ means ‘caves’ in Berber. Around the area are also some lovely waterfalls and lakes, plus the massive Ras el-Ain fortress. This town also boasts the only English-language university in Morocco, the Al Akhawayn University.
Khénifra is a province in the Middle Atlas area. It is known as pearl of the Moroccan mountains and the capital of the lakes. It is about 76% rural.