There’s a surprising variety of habitats within easy reach of Boumalne. The expanse of hammada, or desert fringe, to the south of town is an austere environment, whose dry, sunny conditions are ideal for reptiles and are frequented by Montpelier snake, Atlas agama and fringe-toed lizard. The grassy plains beyond this provide food for small herds of Edmi gazelle and Addax antelope and shelter for a variety of bird species such as red-rumped wheatear, lanner falcon and the elusive Houbara bustard.
The most rewarding birding trip in the region, though, is to the aptly named Vallée des Oiseaux, which heads off the R6907 from Boumalne to Iknioun in the Jebel Saghro. The Tagdilt track – marked by a line of green shading on the Michelin map and well known to birdwatchers – is home to Temmink’s horned lark, eagle owl and several species of sandgrouse.