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Maison d'hotes Ousikiss: excellent service and lovely location
This is a friend of a friends place but when we first visited last year in September when going for a drive from our hotel in the Dades Gorge we met Saad, one of the 2 brothers who run this auberge, who we did not know - and he was so lovely to us.
It had been raining most of the day and wanted to take the opportunity to see the beautiful landscape along the way to Msemrir with the wet and rainy look....which was very worth while.
Seeing locals on in the fields throwing seed, locals in large raincoats on their bicycles or out walking with colourful umbrellas - and also a mob of tiny frogs making their way hopping across the puddled road towards the river below.
This was my 2nd time to drive this route past the Dades gorge, of which ive been a number of times, but had never heard of there being a side road just south of Msemrir heading into beautiful big valleys and mountains.
There is a sign to the maison d'hotes is a few kms south of Msemrir and then its a 6 km drive to the village of Ousikiss. Follow the direct road until you start to go up hill - then you will see a cluster of huge and very old kasbahs (wonderful to photograph!) and just not far past them is a sign post to the left. If you get lost ask any of the local villagers and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Saad was wonderful when we got there - made a fire and commenced making us lunch! the fire was great as I had got very wet when numerous times getting out to take photos along the way. and although it was September and meant to be summer and hot it had turned very cold and we wree both wearing cardigan or fleece.
He told us that a visit in spring would be recommended and then progressed to the discussion of the thousands of apple trees flowering in April being a lovely time to be in the valley.
We did come back in April this year and stayed for 3 nights. Despite being very cold at night the rooms were obviously very well insulated as were not the typical bitter cold of traditional houses in the mountains. Idir, Saads brother, had put a heater in our room for us to preheat the room each night which was much appreciated.
Sunrise was lovely from the roof above and the whole place warmed up in the sunshine. Breakfast was lovely to have in the courtyard and actually enjoyable even more so with the company of a dutch couple who had stayed for 2 nights.
There is parking in the driveway outside the main door and you can walk straight out and follow the path down into the fields of the valley and around the side of the village with the huge Kasbah houses. The apple blossoms were lovely all around here....the highlight of our trip as was the kindness and company of Saad and Idir and the interesting but very ancient village withits kasbahs.
We also went for a 2-3 hour walk to the nearby dam and also a 4x4 trip up into the high mountains nearby where with 4x4 can follow some of the path that goes over the mountains and down into Ait Bougoumez. We passed nomad families that live up there herding their sheep and another man on his way down with laden donkey with items for trade. when we got to the top of the mountain it started to snow! that was quite exciting and made the journey even more beautiful.
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