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Draa Valley – Skoura -Ouarzazate – NeKob – Morocco

27 Dec

It’s time for Draa Valley. In the morning, I left behind Dades gorges with red rocks and palm trees. In Legoumet Kelaa M’Gouna, I entered La maison de distillation of Kadari Elhoucine: a rose shop where I could see the rose water distillation process. The owner was a black man who spoke a very bad English. I couldn’t leave from there without buying a soap, rose cream, and a jasmine perfume. I continued to Skoura. Skoura has a vast palm-groves under Unesco protection (an oasis of 1000 palms) with many mud-brick kasbahs in the palmeraie. In Skoura, I entered when it was the souq day on Monday. The main street was very crowded (almost no free space to pass with the car). I survived. I parked the car on a secondary street with sand. I searched Kasbah Amridil a couple of times downtown. I was also hungry. I tried to go and eat something. The prices were very high for me. I had no energy to bargain. I was very hungry. I went in a kasbah on a secondary street where I negotiated the meal and a piece of information for the location of Kasbah Amridil. It was 2 km out of town, that’s why I didn’t find it here. I ate a tajine with olives and fruit salad on the top terrace of a small kasbah. After that, I went to search again Kasbah Amridil. Kasbah Amridil is Morocco’s most coveted 17th-century kasbah: a living museum with an olive-oil press, bread ovens, and goats. It is impressive, but for explanations, the guides wait outside in the shadow (one guide for every language). In the evening, I reached Ouarzazate. I went to sleep in Camping Bivouac La Palmeraie outside the town. The camping had Berber tents and a big palmeraie around where locals worked during the day.

The next morning I went to the Taourirt Kasbah and the Old Cinema Museum in Ouarzazate. They were both full of dust, although the decors from the films seemed real. I continued down south along Draa Valley. I stopped at Ait El Caid’s Kasbah in Agdz and Tamnougalt. Both kasbahs belonged to one big noble family with almost 250 members; a few members still lived in these kasbahs. Rachid – my guide from Agdz – , told me his family owned actually four kasbahs in the area; in the past, the kasbah protected the oasis and it served against the French colonization. Rachid told me he played in the Babel film with Brad Pitt; his cousin – Talal -, had also a role in the film. Talal – my guide from Tamnougalt -, knew a lot of history and even architecture. The kasbah from Tamnougalt was in a 16th-century ksar (fortified village); it had three inner courtyards with Arabic, Andalucian, and Berber motifs. The kitchen was still functional; the ovens for baking bread were directly onto the ground. Talal was sitting all day in front of the kasbah waiting for tourists and drinking tea. He invited me for a tea, but I was in a hurry. He offered me a small shoe for keys as a present. In the evening, I reached N’Kob. I went to Kasbah Baha Baha, but the owners weren’t there. I camped overnight at Camping Ouadjou where I had a fantastic dinner beside the swimming pool with an omelet, kefta tajine, and fruits. A cat accompanied me for dinner since I was feeding her when I couldn’t eat anymore.

The next morning I turned back 50 km and continued south along Draa Valley. Oases, kasbahs, very hot everywhere, wild camels, and a lot of dust (even some small sand storms on the road to Zagora). I stopped in Oulad Othmane. A kid asked me for money for guarding my car while I went to the kasbah. If they didn’t watch for my car or showed me something, they would have asked me money for making photos of them or for breathing the air (with some sand storms as well). They seemed creative and they found any reason to ask for some Dirhans. In Tissergat, I stopped at Kasbah Ziwana for the Museum des Arts et Tradition de la Valle du Draa. In Zagora, a jeep for Desert Safari trips almost chased me the whole town to sell me a trip or anything. I ignored him completely. I was not feeling well after the kefta tajine from the last evening. As I went south, the temperatures got very high for me. I ate almost nothing the whole day, but I drunk a lot of water. I used the air conditioner in the car. I wished for some shadow under the palm trees. Near Zagora, I searched just for a camping and I decided for the one in Amzerou village.

People are proud of their culture and lifestyle here. They wish to present it through some small museums where the guides are locals living there.

Kelaa M’Gouna: distillation system for making rose water

Skoura: souq day – anything you wish is for sell

Skoura palmeraie on the High Atlas Mountains background (vast palm-groves under Unesco protection)

Skoura: Kasbah Amridil – Berber decorations in mud brick walls

Skoura: Kasbah Amridil – the kitchen with bread ovens on the ground floor

Ouarzazate: Camping bivouac La Palmeraie – Berber tents

Ouarzazate: Camping bivouac La Palmeraie – Berber tents inside

Ouarzazate: Old Cinema Museum

Ouarzazate: Old Cinema Museum – the throne of the emperor

Draa Valley: the road from Ouarzazate to Agdz

Draa Valley: Agdz – Ait El Caid family Kasbah (the inner courtyard for family’s celebrations)

Draa Valley : Agdz – Ait El Caid family Kasbah

N’Kob: Berber oasis with 45 mudbrick kasbah

Draa Valley: Kasbah Oulad Othmane

Draa Valley: Kasbah Oulad Othmane – inner courtyard

Draa Valley: Kasbah Ziwana in Tissergat – Museum des Arts et Tradition de la Valle du Draa

Draa Valley: Kasbah Ziwana in Tissergat – Museum des Arts et Tradition de la Valle du Draa

N’Kob: Camping Ouadjou with dinner on the terrace

Some more photos from Draa Valley, on the road from Skoura to Ouarzazate – Agdz – N’Kob – Zagora:

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