Morocco Off The Beaten Path Tips by angiebabe Top 5 Page for this destination
Morocco Off The Beaten Path: 231 reviews and 398 photos
Each visit to Morocco Ive always taken things with me that I can give to the local families - especially the children - and especially when I was regularly visiting Telouet - many berber families are still living and working off the land and doing whatever they can do to earn enough to live on or working in labour jobs and earning only 40-60 dirham a day - miniscule to what Moroccans in the cities and town with big cars and big houses have.
Living out in the remote areas usually means harsher living conditions - ie washing clothes by hand, minimal electrical appliances - so people are making do with less - even donkeys, mules and horse and cart still.
People including teachers we have met or stayed with out in these areas still stay it can be a very good thing to take school stationery supplies, interesting childrens book and arts and crafts to generate interest in their education, rather than choosing to stay a shepherd like their parents to support their family, and take them to a country school to distribute to children - often though it is best to find a gite owner or someone in tune with whats happening in the locality and where to take things to as there is also the rort of taking items to schools and the teachers family and friends end up with it all...we found a good time to do it is in front of the children and other adults at the school.
Also hygiene items that we regard as a necessity that often become only a luxury such as tooth brushes and toothpaste......sanitary towels and wash clothes....these can also be given to clinics that are in remote areas such as at Tabant in Ait Bougoumez or the Ameln valley near Tafraoute for example.
I believe theres still that fine line between helping as in understanding lack and wanting to help make things better in any way and the notion that foreigners have everything and have it easy and give handouts - so put your hand out and you will get something ie tourists are easy to manipulate....
An example of one of my trips was flying to Marrakech with the intention of driving to Agadir for some warm sunny days with friends there but knowing how cold it gets in Morocco and knowing I intended to drive the TiznTest road which has numerous country villages along the way including up in the snowy and very cold mountain areas nearing the pass.
And because we have a very good '£' shop near us with sets of scarves, hats and gloves and sets of light raincoats and packs of socks I was able to get quite a few of these to have with me while I was out driving.
And along the way when I did stop to take photos - especially of scenic villages in the scenic valleys - when you think noone is around out appear children to say hello! And there were my opportunities to give to these children who were in dirty clothes and looking very skinny - might not be a great deal of help but I think its something to at least give them these things to help them with the cold and wet.
sunset and mountains between Igherm and Tata
A few choices to make - other than the section of road between Erfoud and Merzouga which is incorrect the Michelin map is pretty much correct for Morocco's roads with all its signifying which is piste and which is bitumen.
going via Agdz or via Tazenahkt is really personal choice for scenery - the Michelin map shows the road between Agdz and up to Tazenakht in green meaning scenic well that stretch is really nothing to write home about! couldnt see anything that stands out along that route but I would say that if you havent been down to Agdz from Ouarzazate then its very scenic taking you along the Tizn Tiffinitt road with gorge below and then I would recommend contuining on down to Zagora to see the Draa valley road with its many kasbahs and ksars along the way.
I have a good tip for a place to stay being Riad Mallal 17 km north of Zagora if you wish.
just south of Zagora is very historic ksar town of Tamgroute with green pottery kiln and ancient library of korans - then just a little further south is a big solitary dune of Tindouf which is worth seeing and then drive back up to Agdz to head on for Foum Zguig.
So I strongly recommend taking the opportunity to allow a day for all that. and include a visit to kasbah Tamnougalt.
The section of road from Tazenakht up to Ait Benhaddou and over to Ouarzazate, instead of Agdz up to Ouarzazate, is also a scenic route with its own sights over Tizn Tiffinit and the mountains in the distance and up past the old movie set at the mines.
Then from the road between Tazenakht toward Foum driving down past the palmeraies that appear sort of in the middle of nowhere before Foum Zguid are interesting and attractive.
my first trip down there was nowhere to stay at Foum only rough working men hotels that you just dont stay at.
Tata has 2 good choices - Hotel La Renaissansce which Ive stayed at twice. the other choice across the road is more upmarket and more expensive but still reasonable. im always travelling on a budget though unless i need to splash out! There is at least one B and B type accommodation that we know of - it was 600 dirham for 2 5 years and more than we wanted to pay so didnt stay there.
But from Tata which way and how much do you plan to do?
Just near Akka is Tagadirt, ruins of an old mellah where a famed rabbi was born, for a visit and then choose whether you are going to go down to Amtoudi to see the amazing ancient granary of Id Aissa - also in my pages - I loved it there and see it as another excellent or significant destination to visit on its own or as a destination for a few days. Along the way to Amtoudi there is also a troglodyte granary at Ait Herbil you can look for.
if you dont want to go as far as Amtoudi - of which the road is good and can continue on to Bouzourkane and Tiznit - then you can take the opportunity of scenic and good road up from Tata to Igrhem and very scenic from there to Taliouine or Ighrem to Taroudant via a visit to Tioute
or you can go up from Akka or Tata to Tamgoute (which is very scenic during almond blossom time which usually doesnt start til Feb but might be blooming from mid or late Jan) and on to Igrhem.
Let me know any ideas you come up with that need any more info.
Starting in Marrakech and choosing to go via Essaouira and heading on down the coast is a good start to a forum posters query for 13 days in Morocco - heading down from Essaouira with small villages of Imousouane and Tafadna and so on down the coast past Tamri and perhaps seeing the Bald Ibis in the national park there and lots of bananas growing along the way down to Agadir - have a night there in a good hotel such as Hotel Beach Club or Hotel Tazi on the beach, visiting Souss Massa National Park, Aglou plage and Tiznit then over to Tafraoute, -if youre there in Jan or Feb it will be extra special as the almond blossoms will be out near the end of Jan and its even more beautiful to be around Tafraoute for that time of the year - but the months of March, April and May have lots of flowers around to beautify the area even more so too, from Tafraoute good to go up to Taroudant and then on to Ouarzazate via scenic Talouine and Tazenahkt, Ait Benhaddou and along the Dades Valley with Dades and Todra gorges, Kelaa Mgouna, Goulmima and to the sahara of Rissani and Merzouga, then up on to Fez via Midelt, Ziz valley , Azrou, Ifrane and Fes.
all the auberges around Merzouga organise trips into the dunes for either overnight stay or just sunrise or sunset by camel if you wish otherwise you will be in the desert - the main road which is bitumen runs down from Rissani to Taouz and the auberges are accessible and signposted off the bitumen road,
I have a number of good places to stay in my pages - viz Ait Benhaddou, Tafraoute, Taroudant, Aglou plage, Dades Gorge and up the top of Todra at Tamtatouche, Boulmane, Merzouga and Rissani, Zouala - up on the way to Er Rachidia - Moulay Idriss near Fes and Meknes, and you might like to go on from here to have a roam around our VT pages including mine - for your Merzouga visit Id recommend Riad Aicha - they are friends and will look after you like friends - though also Riad Mohayut is good, Dunes Dor....
I do have some good contacts that I can recommend or arrange if you wanted a driver guide to be company for you and take you around, or just rent a car - and I have had good results from Jawad with his cars in my Malta rental cars tip in Marrakech - and its fine to go on your own. but if you have a bit more money to splash out then it can be nice to have someone show you around, be with you for good places to eat and stay, get discounts on hotels and shopping and so on, and with a recommendation of mine then you do get a more reliable chance of having someone that will do a good job to do a good job with good results rather than someone who is just doing a job and taking a chance to get commission and whatever else - which you need to prepare for when in Morocco - hospitable kind charming people but many around that are also sharks or looking for any opportunity to make big bucks with little to show for it!
anyway have a roam around our pages and get back to me if theres anything else I and other VTers can help you with. all the best.
For me I would recommend choosing to do a 3-4 day trip like that in the Merzouga sahara desert area - the largest dunes are there - but both the Merzouga and Zagora areas do not really have what you are worrying about 'other camel safaris' and western civilisation to be much bother - they are big areas and in all the 7 years Ive been going there Ive so many times been the only foreigner wherever Ive been - or maybe Ive seen a couple of others or here and there a group on a bunch of camels - and Ive camped out there too a lot ot times - and also in that sort of time frame while you are out for 3 days youd probably be lucky to see another westerner - and actually where in the world can you guarantee that you wont
- but the fact that getting to Merzougas dunes is so much easier and you can drive straight to the dunes where you can get on your camels and set off is a major advantage - going from Zagora is miles from the desert ie an hour and half by car to get to the end of the road at Mhamid and where erg Lehoudi which is a little desert area nearby that tourists go to camp overnight or do a short camel trip when they dont have time or budget to go the 40 km from Mhamid to the nearest dunes of Erg Chigaga.
If you have a look at my hotel tip for Riad Aicha on my Merzouga page, and its also in my Morocco page, I would recommend them to investigate and do a trip with - they do good value camel trips and will do you a good price and good itinerary for that length of time - you will be able to see/go past bedouins who still live out way out in the desert and to oases and where its really beautiful out there.
Also do a google to look up a desert music festival thats usually on at new year down there in the Merzouga desert which you might like to go to if the dates are right.
For the Zagora/Erg Chigaga area if you look at my tip on Riad Malal in my Zagora page they have a good agency and are excellent people and would look after you wonderfully if you wanted to do a camel trip out from Zagora or from Mhamid.
There are special desert flowers to see in the desert, and those in the know will know where to take you to see them - usually in early summer before the extreme heat sets in and dry eveything up - but in March when headed for Merzouga we passed some yellow flowers on the side of the road near Erfoud that Id never seen during any visits to Morocco before - we saw more along the road on the way to Rissani and then at lots of them in the sand at Merzouga.
the Moroccans I was with had also never seen them before - and they spent years in the desert - perhaps an international traveller brought the seeds in and theyve spread around in the wind and then with all the heavy rains late last year washed them all around them and theyve had ideal conditions to propagate.
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