Agadir, central location in the tourist area
During my four visits to Agagdir Hotel Igoudar was the first htoel where I stayed. The hotel was booked in advance at home and was OK.
Hotel Igoudar is a small hotel with white walls at the first floor above touristshops and restaurants. At the first floor is a nice paved area with a swimming pool. Our room was at the same floor and our door came out in this paved area. The area of the hotel at the first floor is peaceful and relaxing, but at the moment you leave the hoteldoor you are in the middle of bustling tourist life of the shops and restaurants. I liked that contrast.
Basic Self Catering
I stayed in a two bedroom apartment in this aparthotel with my Mother and two children. There were very very very limited cooking facilities (just two hob rings), not even a toaster but we weren't too bothered as we wanted to eat out anyway. The apartment was cleaned daily, very tidy and spotless. There was a shower attachment but not a full shower and the water was cool at 'busy' times of the day (6ish). There were plenty of restaurants very closeby and a lovely little icecream place just across the road. One warning though - the man who sells jewellery in the lobby overprices his wares and refuses to haggle (be warned). Apart from this, we had a wonderful time in these apartments and would wholly recommend them to anyone travelling to Agadir.
Traditional music and dancing
Every evening you can go to a restaurant or bar with a terrace for dinner or a drink. At some places is life music, especially around the Boulevard du 20 Aout.
In several hotels they offer traditional dances and music one or more evenings a week. In hotel Igoudar during our first stay in Agadir we looked at a performance of traditional dances. The women were wearing very colourful dresses. We enjoyed the dresses, the dancing and even more the accompanying Morrocan music.
Ait Benhaddou - wonderful Berber village
"with the Atlas behind"
Ait Benhaddou is located on the southern edge of the High Atlas. In Springtime you can see the snow coverage on these mountains which have an average hight of about 4000 m!
This picture was taken from "new" Ait Benhaddou overlooking the Wadi Malh (Salt River) to "old" Ait Benhaddou.
Ait is a Berber word which means tribe, Ben is the Arabic word for son and Haddou a common family name in southern Morocco.
Ait Benhaddou = Tribe of the sons of Haddou
A pot with Couscous. The granulats of semolina (made of wheat) are cooked above boiling water.
Until the middle of the 90s most buildings in the old village were in a very bad shape. Most families had decided to leave the village or to change to the new part which has the much better living conditions and is connected to an asphalted road.
The houses are completely made of mudd. Mudd is an excellent material in these regions, because it doesn't cost a single dirham, can be used by everyone with the help of the neighbours and has a very good isolation.
Unfortunately there is one big disadvantage with the mudd architecture: It need a lot of care! After one strong rainfall the walls and towers can be damaged so much that they need immediate restoration.
Ait Benhaddou gets sometimes snow in the winter but what is much worse it gets a lot of rain each springtime.
After people had left the old village the houses and stores began to fall into ruines after only a very few years.
The proud of a village in southern Morocco are it's storage castles: one Agadir or several Igoudar.
After the UNESCO added Ait Benhaddou to the World's Heritage List the situation changed completely:
The picture you see shows the same Agadir than two pictures ago - but restored.
With the engagement of the UNESCO everything changed for Ait Benhaddou and the people living here. In the early 90s only 3 families had decided to stay in the old part but with financial support by the UNESCO other families decided to come back.
UNESCO didn't give them money to come back - that would have been nothing more than a very short term thing. They assisted local authorities and the people in the village to create a secure income while staying here: tourism was the magic word!
UNESCO started to organize the restoration of the old buildings by investing some money in material and modern know-how --- but the people had to do it themselves. Of course, this was the best solution because no one knew the technics better than those.
this tower is a perfect example because I have a picture before restoration ...
... and another one with exactly the same tower after restoration
"inside a house"
The people and the houses in Ait Benhaddou are very poor, may be more than you have ever seen. If you are interested they will show you almost everything - and of course this is worth some few money! They are no beggars but this is the only way of income they have.
This is an average kitchen.