© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd The Marrakech High Atlas contains some of the best exposures of the Triassic early-rift strata related to Atlantic opening in NW Africa. We present the first detrital zircon U–Pb data of five Triassic redbed samples from the Tizi n'Test basin to quantify sediment provenance, transport and dispersal patterns during early rifting. These U–Pb ages document dominant sediment sourcing from the south, the Anti-Atlas domain, with very limited to absent input from the Variscan Meseta domain to the north. This combined with stratigraphic and thermochronologic information points to a highly asymmetric palaeogeography during Triassic rifting. Furthermore, the occurrence of Archaean detrital zircon grains in Triassic sandstone, likely recycled from the Reguibat shield, suggests the presence of a fully developed regional drainage system with rivers and catchments reaching hundreds of kilometres into the hinterland of the rift flank.