We drove past here in Feb and June this year 2012 and there is a signpost here now to let you know where to turn in to visit these salt mines.
As you can see in the photo the earth in these mountains contains salt which leaches out with the rains - when you drive in you will see the entrance to an underground mine and also some salt ponds.
The salt in this area was an important source of wealth for the rulers in the area - and a lot of money or gold would be bartered for salt to join the caravans that went through here on their way down to the sub-sahara countries of Africa
check out my page on Anmiter! its a lovely area, i pretty much used to live in Telouet and went to Anmiter and surrounds quite often - been up to the village of Tighza a few times but been wanting to do the walk to Tamda Lakes for a long time but plans have been thwarted each time but will eventually....so yes a lovely place to take the chance to take a walking holiday!
the landscape to get there from Marrakech is beautiful - check out the road map - you go from Marrakech to top of TiznTichka and then turn off to Telouet and another 11kms is Anmiter
i have a few pics on my Anmiter, Telouet and Morocco pages, even Ait Benhaddou page with Tamdaght kasbah not far down the road which is another Glaoui kasbah from the Glaouis that lived in Telouet, Tasgha, Anmiter, Tamdaght and Ouarzazate
Prior to the present road over TizinTichka built by the French in the 1920s accessing Ouarzazate with Marrakech this village was on the main access route via Telouet and Ait Benhaddou and which was an important trade route for caravans going on down to Mauritania and Mali.
Tolls imposed by this village on caravans travelling through created a lot of wealth for this village which can be seen in the number of kasbahs and fortified homes in this therefore fortified village which, though several of the buildings are now obviously dilapidated, is unusually well preserved.
Back in the days of the Glaoui when Al Thami was pasha of Marrakech and Lord of the vast area of the Atlas and South of Morocco and based at his principal kasbah 11km away at Telouet the tolls imposed by the head of this village was what got him into trouble with El Glaoui who demanded that income be his. El Glaoui had served the sultan but switched hsi support to the invading French.
This village was able to stand up to El Glaoui and his army until a betrayer on the inside sabotaged their stance and from after this El Glaoui was free to take over the last remaining resistant tribe and have relentless fiefdom throughout this area, hence the kasbahs here and down at further along the Ounila valley to Tamdaght that the Glaoui also occupied.
hi again, and you could also follow up the contacts and their numbers that in my Anmiter tips to do your own trekking up there and compare the prices - you could get a rental car and drive to anmiter and then go from there with guide and donkeys....I have a few connections in various places as well which might all make a more diverse package to get more for less cost than say an exodus tour - but Exodus are well regarded - so also are Ramblers for UK arranged tours but doing things at graas roots levels in Morocco with the right connections is fine too
This beautiful drive, which ive been very blessed to have done - but since then realised a few sights along the way we should have stopped at (particularly the kasbahs along the way that were part of the Glaoui's fiefdom) but it was seriously seriously beautiful!
- is only 36 km apparently from Anmiter to Ait Ben Haddou - but took us about 5 hours from Telouet to Ait Ben Haddou in our little non-4x4 rental car
(dont tell the rental company!! but theyre Moroccans too so they wont mind - unless we did get stuck in the middle but as Moroccans do we would always have found a way out - someone we'd know would be around to come rescue us if it really necessary!).
And this can be a great 2 day walk as well - there is apparently accommodation along the way (and we know there are homes and cafes along the way) at Tioughassine and Tiguert.
Anyway it was March and in beautiful springtime with this fertile valley flourishing with fruit trees in blossom, palms and figs and olive trees, lush crop and vege fields, the river glistening, and any sights of the high Atlas/Anti-Atlas mountains in the background extra beautiful with snow on the tops still.
We certainly got lots of looks from 4x4 drivers, especially Moroccan drivers - telling us we couldnt do it
(but my boyfriend was a pretty cool driver and had been on the road before and reckoned we could do it!)
- we had only 2 real spots that were a bit of a worry - a rocky with large rocks unlevel uphill section and a deep river crossing - but not as deep as worry wart me thought (and not as deep as some of the scarey river crossings ive made during my times driving when the rivers were up along the Dades Valley and one time some sahara acquaintances talked me into letting them push me across the river at Rissani at mid car depth! mustve been just below the motor as the car had a foot of water in the bottom but we made it and drove off)
tell you what Morocco has as much adventure and scenic sights as you want!
this beautiful road turns off just before you arrive at Anmiter when coming from Telouet - its an hour to walk and its mostly an incline all the way - or about 20-30 minutes to drive.
Its a very interesting road winding its way along the top of a high river worn valley and in around and in between berber villages built up the slopes heading upwards as the road makes it way higher up into the mountains. This road ends up at Tighza where walks can be done up to the Tamda Lakes - you could hire a guide and donkey for the 5-7 hour return trip - or carry on to a week long circuit to Tessaout or to the Mgoun Massif.
Looking down into the valley are fertile growing areas, extra beautiful in the springtime of Feb to April with fruit trees in blossom and flowers blooming, with locals working and making their ways around by foot or by donkey or mules, and over to other villages built on the hills on the other side of the river.
The main river crossing is where the local women come to do their laundry so this can make interesting photo opportunities around mid morning to mid afternoon though the ladies if notice the camera pointed at them rarely like this and will move or put their hands up to cover their faces.
But if youre walking try going to say hello and you will find that generally these women will be only too glad in meeting you and finding out more about you - more than likely you will invited back to someones place for tea - you might have to continue your walk to Tighza another day!