Southern Morocco : the land of charme

 Land of contrasts, the Moroccan south offers countless opportunities for discovery and escapades. From the hectic souks of Marrakech to the infinite spaces of the Sahara Desert, from the snow-capped High Atlas to the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast, you will not remain insensitive to the riches of southern Morocco.

Tumbled with practical details and regularly updated, this article is intended to help you prepare your trip in southern Morocco. Comprising historical and cultural information for all those who knew a little more about Berber customs and traditions; On the architecture represented in particular by the kasbahs, these large mansions made of typical land of the south of Morocco; Or by the riads, these garden houses which open to you for a dream trip in the heart of the medina of Marrakech.

Holly-ouarzazate

Originally a Berber hamlet of the 17th century, perched on a small hill at 1105 m altitude, the village of Taourirt and its most famous kasbah are the geographic cradle of the current Ouarzazate.

The heart of the city, which dates back to the time of the protectorate, stretches from the bus station to the kasbah of Taourirt and articulates along the boulevards Mohammed V and Moulay Rachid where there are most services. Dominating the city, close to the historic center, Avenue Mansour Eddahbi hosts some great hotels.

The cinema occupies a position in its own right in the economic landscape of Ouarzazate and its region. At the exit of the city, on the road of Marrakech, the studios Cla and Atlas Corporation open their doors to the visitors, thus discovering some decors having served to the shoots of Astérix Mission Cleopatra, the Diamond of the Nile, the hill has eyes , Ben Hur, Kingdom of Heaven …

Town tour

Although Ouarzazate does not possess a vast historical heritage and few museums, this city deserves more than the simple role of city stage that is generally attributed to it.

From the authentic character of its souks, to the artificial decorations of its cinema studios, walks in the verdant palm grove and strolling through the labyrinth of pieces of the Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate has plenty of places to discover.

The palm grove of Ouarzazate extends from Lake Al Mansour to the outskirts of the studios on the other side of the city. It is a patchwork of small agricultural parcels sinuées of paths which invite us to charming walks.

In full growth, the leisure offer of Ouarzazate strives to meet the needs of the inhabitants of the city and tourists. If finding a restaurant in Ouarzazate for its taste is fairly simple, the nightlife enthusiasts are less well off except for a few hotel clubs.

Taroudant, the little Marrakech of the Atlas

In the heart of the plain of Souss, more than 7 km of ramparts surround the medina of Taroudant, first capital of the Saadian sultans in the XVIth Century.

The town is famous for its leather craftsmanship, wrought iron and silver Berber jewelry, while the tanners are busy daily around the vats outside the ramparts towards Bab Targhount.

Set against the backdrop of the high Atlas mountains, Taroudant, a medieval city in the heart of a fertile valley, is a great base for discovering the mountain trails of the hinterland, palm groves, including Tioute, 30 km away. The plain opens to the ocean towards the west at about 80 km.

The tower of the ramparts of Taroudant

The current ramparts of Taroudant, erected of successive bastions and pierced by 5 doors, the main one being Bab el Kasbah, date from the beginning of the 18th century, the old walls having been destroyed. Subsequently, the ramparts were continually restored until the beginning of the 20th century by the successive masters of Taroudant.

Throughout the hours, the tint of the 7 km of ramparts that surround Taroudant varies from a golden brown to a warm purple. They can easily be reached on foot, by bicycle or by horse-drawn carriage. In several places of the raised gardens contribute to highlight them.

The Medina

The ramparts encircle a medina of 3 km²; 5 doors, some of which are accessible only to pedestrians and bicycles, open access to the heart of the city …

The terraces of al-Alaouyine place offer tasty breakfasts from the early morning and at lunchtime a traditional Moroccan cuisine, grills or sandwiches to enjoy on the run.

Quiet days at the Erg Chebbi

It is in the south-east of Morocco that the high dunes of the erg Chebbi stretch, attraction of an adventure tourism, of which the village of Merzouga draws its main economic development.

The center of the village, flanked by a wide non-bitumen artery were mostly cross-country vehicles intersect, knows this nonchalance that may have the Saharan localities. The small cafes, bordering the artery, serve at all hours the traditional mint tea without forgetting the refreshing drinks especially welcome under a lead sun.

Only a few meters away, the desert rises majestically, offering an exceptional panorama in ocher colors varying according to the sparkling curve of the sun. Merzouga is a privileged destination of southern Morocco for who wants to experience the desert. The multitude of inns, present all along the dunes, organizes without exception dromedary rides in the erg Chebbi.

To come to Merzouga to attend the sunrises and sunsets, on these ships of the desert, constitutes the major event that will be engraved in the memory of each one. Some people prefer to spend the night in a bivouac. The nomad tents scattered in the dunes, which only the camel drivers know perfectly the route, wait wisely their hosts under a starry sky in an absolute calm.

In the vicinity of Merzouga, we discover a surprising lake, Lake Srji Dayet, in this hamada of black stones surrounding the dunes, where flamingos come to rest there, from June to September, during migrations between Europe And Madagascar. Nomads planted Berber tents in goat or dromedary hair, for a mild season, before returning to less arid plains during the summer.