El Goumt du Dades Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by angiebabe
  • down amongst the potato fields and oleander flower
    down amongst the potato fields and...
    by angiebabe
  • One of the 'Thousand Kasbahs'
    One of the 'Thousand Kasbahs'
    by suvanki

Most Recent Things to Do in El Goumt du Dades

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    abodes and life up past the Dades

    by angiebabe Updated Aug 29, 2010

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    Always interesting places to see on the way up here - see where people live and make it way out in these remote areas - with their interesting homes, what they wear, going about out on their land and roadways - their fields or crops grown and nurtured in really difficult looking places

    Also the hardships of the weather - there can be a lot of snow in the winter up this way - and a lot of rain at times - so their homes have to be made to endure all these extremes

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    El -Kelaa M'Gouna or Qaaa't M'Gouna

    by suvanki Updated Nov 12, 2009

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    El -Kelaa M'Gouna - tiled plaque
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    About 50km from Skoura, we reached the next town of El Kelaa M'gouna, famous for its rose growing and production of rose-water, for toiletries etc.

    This looked an interesting town, bustling with activity, and with the scent of roses perfuming the air.

    As it was September, I'd missed the roses in bloom. The fragrance was from the many rose perfumed products on sale such as soaps, or from the rose water factories in the town.

    I would like to return here one day, especially in May, when the harvesting of the roses is followed by a lively Rose Festival - although I understand that this is now becoming a tourist attraction, with the date of the festival being dictated by the Tourist Office, and not as it was originally, by 'Mother Nature' - hence the festival was more haphazard, and could fall on one of 3 weekends

    The town is also famous for its production of traditional daggers. These are made by a
    co -operative. The prices are cheaper than in Marrakech etc.

    Hmmm, I had enough trouble trying to get my eye drops and moisturiser through airport security, so perhaps not the best idea for those travelling with hand luggage only!!!!

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Kasbah Amerdihl -or Imridil - Skoura

    by suvanki Updated Nov 12, 2009

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    Kasbah Amerdihl
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    This 17th Century Kasbah has a small museum, with rooms containing utensils and tools that were used by the Berber owner's (The Nasser family) ancestors.

    Admission is by donation (DH10) which you pay to the caretaker. This goes towards the upkeep of the kasbah . ( A never ending job)

    I was shown around the different rooms - The women's room, the men's room, Kitchen, laundry etc.

    Outside, is a pleasant courtyard, in traditional style -with a fountain, lemon and fig trees, flowers etc. There is a tea room here.

    Next time You're spending a DH 50 note, look at the picture - It's this Kasbah. It's also displayed on the carton of a popular brand of Moroccan orange juice.

    Leaving the kasbah, I spotted a group of local children, one young boy shyly approached us and held something out to me. I wasn't quite sure what it was at first, but my guide quietly said "it's a camel" When I looked again, I could see that a camel shape had been cleverly formed by plaiting and weaving pieces of dried palm leaves (?)

    I gave the boy a few DH coins, which he seemed pleased about.
    It was a nice memento of my visit, plus it was light and easy to carry around in my luggage.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Kasbahs of the Dades Valley

    by suvanki Updated Nov 12, 2009

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    One of the 'Thousand Kasbahs'
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    After leaving Quarzazate, this was one of the first kasbahs that we came across - only 999 more to see!!

    The Dades Valley is known as 'The Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs'

    Many of these kasbahs are in a crumbling state, as you can see from the picture, but the next one we visited was in good repair, and was worth visiting. (please see my next tip)

    Near this Kasbah, Hossain my guide, had taken a short cut off the main road, passing through a small village.

    He pointed out the dying date trees.
    There has been very little rain here for many months, so the fruit and wheat crops, that the families earned their livelihood through have perished.
    He explained that they made their income now, by selling off their family carpets and jewellery to shopkeepers in the nearby towns.

    I must admit I was a bit ashamed of all the times that I've complained of rain back home, and the water that I've taken for granted.

    The Dades Valley starts here, just before Skoura, and passes through towns and villages nestling at the foot of the High Atlas range in the North, and the Jebel Sarho range to the South.

    The valley winds up and down mountain roads, with dramatic views, especially from the much photographed hairpin bends of the road approaching the gorge.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Dades Gorge

    by suvanki Updated Aug 8, 2008

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    Te legendary road to/ from Dades Gorge
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    As we approached the Gorge, after negotiating the photogenic hair pin bends, the sky, which had been getting darker by the minute, let down a torrential down pour! Hossain stopped to let me take a photo, but then said that he thought it was better if we got out of the gorge, instead of carrying on further

    Thunder and lightening had joined the rain storm, and he was worried that rocks would be dislodged from the cliff sides. The sheer 'walls' are 980 ft high and 65 ft apart.

    I was a bit disappointed not to get the chance to explore further, but I wasn't going to argue - Hossain knew the terrain, and effects of the weather far better than I did.

    So a bit wet from the rain, I climbed back into his 4X4.

    A car travelling towards us drew up alongside - the occupants were from Hossains village, so they all had a chat for a short while, before waving good bye to us.

    We set off back towards the hairpin bends.

    However, before leaving the Gorge, I was to experience a bit of a 'white knuckle ride'!

    We suddenly skidded - lurching to my side of the road, I got a view straight down to the river below. Just as I thought I might be getting a clearer view than I wanted, we were hurtling towards the opposite side of the road and the cliff side, before spinning back towards the sheer drop below. This was all a bit in 'slow motion' and surprisingly I felt quite calm - my life didn't flash before me. Luckily we shuddered to a halt on a 'safe spot'

    We both assured each other that we were OK, then continued on our way - Blimey!!!

    I was so lucky that Hossain was a good, safe driver, and that he had a vehicle that was suitable for the terrain.

    We continued down the road, with the storm following us, until we reached Fatimas place that we'd passed earlier.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    From El -Kelaa M'Gouna to Boumalne Du Dades

    by suvanki Updated Aug 8, 2008

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    From El -Kelaa M'Gouna to Boumalne Du Dades
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    Leaving El Kelaa M'Gouna, we headed for the town of Boumalne Du Dades. The road ahead was starting to climb, so I had the chance to view the valley below, more ruined kasbahs, and small villages, with their red mud houses contrasting with the green foliage and vegetation of the oases and palmieraies..

    We stopped a few times to admire the view

    The valley is formed by the River Dades, its waters coming from the snow melt of the High Atlas Mountains above, and flowing down to join the River Draa. The waters seep into the surrounding land and provide suitable conditions for oases and palmeraies to form.
    The oases are rich in vegetation, with almonds, wheat, and figs growing in abundance.

    Another nick- name of the Valley is 'Country of the Figs' -Whereas the drier Draa valley is known as 'The Country of the Dates'

    Palmeraies are groves of palm trees. There are estimated to be approx 5 million palm trees in Morocco. 90.000 tonnes of dates are exported from this country annually

    The palm tree can live for up-to 150 years, and is an essential source of income to many villagers.

    -The huge leaves provide shade from the blistering heat of the sun for crops and fruit trees, vegetables etc growing below.

    -Its sap is an ingredient for illicit alcoholic drinks - wine and a spirit.

    -The leaves can be dried and formed into mats, roofing, sweeping brushes, ropes and buckets. Also plaited into camel and gazelle shapes, (see my Kasbah Amerdihl tip)

    -The root system helps prevent soil erosion caused by the strong desert winds.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Monkey paws or Monkey fingers

    by suvanki Written Apr 24, 2008

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    Monkeys paw - rock erosion Dades Valley
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    A distinctive feature of this area is of the patterns formed in the rocks by water and wind erosion, which has gouged out channels in the rock.

    My guide described these as monkey paws, but I've seen that other VTers have called these monkey fingers.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Scenery on the way to Dades Gorge

    by suvanki Updated Apr 24, 2008

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    Dades Valley - view from restaurant
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    Stopping off at a restaurant (I'm not sure of its name, but please see my restaurant tip for more info) for lunch, I enjoyed the view from the terrace over the valley spread below.
    After a delicious meal of tagine, we headed further on, winding up the mountain road towards the Gorge. There was still some greenery, which contrasted with the red rocks. The red colouring is due to the iron ore
    Please see my pics for more views

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Fatimas

    by suvanki Written Apr 23, 2008

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    I was quite bemused to spot these figures near the roadside, as we headed along the road to the Dades Gorge. I hadn't realised that we would be returning here later after a bit of a hair raising experience, and what an interesting time I would have.

    to be continued.....

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    Boumalne Du Dades

    by suvanki Updated Apr 23, 2008

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    Boumalne Du Dades
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    Boumalne is the largest town in the Dades Valley, if passing through on a Wednesday, it's market day here. The town has a selection of hotels and auberges, restaurants, shops, a bank and a hammam. If you need a guide for trekking, you can hire one here too!

    Buses to/from Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Tinerhir and Elr Rachida by CTM and Trans Chihatours - Casablanca, Erfoud, Er - Rachidia, Fes, Marrakech, and Zagora. Trans Ghazala for Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat. (These bus routes are from my 2003 LP guide, so some services may not be running, or there might be additional routes now)

    We didn't stop in Boumalne, just stopped a few times to view it from the road above. Lunch was calling, and Hossain knew a good place to eat further along our route

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    pretty scenes between Dades Gorge and Msemrir

    by angiebabe Updated Nov 17, 2007

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    quite beautiful!
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    really enjoyable drive - keep your eyes roaming all around you - dont have a nap in the car on this trip!!

    Note the lush of the fertile areas - green with yielding crop fields and trees in full foliage before the heat of the mid summer months in dramatic contrast with the ancient wind and weather worn barren mountains surrounding these fertile belts!

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    looking over boulmane and up the Dades valley

    by angiebabe Updated Nov 17, 2007

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    boulmane with lush green amongst barren rocks
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    Excellent views from the top of the hill on the main road leaving Boulmane -

    a viewpoint to pull in and park your car on your way out of town and has excellent views over the town and area-

    see the green fertile belts with pink oleanders flowering prolifically when in season and residential areas crammed along the river sides - and the market place of Boulmane below, the kasbah on the hill above town to your right

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    see and do the spaghetti hairpin bends

    by angiebabe Written Nov 17, 2007

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    looking down to Kasbah la Vallee&Auberge Tissadrin
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    Another attraction to this road from Tinerhr to the Dades Gorges and Msemrir this section of hairpin bends make a great visit - I notice now that it seems that a hotel with rooms staggered down the slope has been built amazingly on what was the main viewing area looking down into this valley.

    Previous times Ive stopped to look out, take photos etc a band of musicians with their bendirs and gites and so on have miraculously appeared from over the edge to play and entertain for a donation of course. Now theres some commercial building built here rather precariously down the mountain side!

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    more picturesque scenes

    by angiebabe Updated Oct 25, 2007

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    These scenes along the roads up this way were much like some of the impressive routes and roads we've driven around Imilchil and the Ounila Valley road between Anmiter and Ait BenHaddou -
    very picturesque and its great looking down into dramatically eroded valleys to see fertile and colourful sights following the water courses where the locals are living and working in contrast to the barrenness up on top!

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    Dades Valley Switchback Roads

    by barryg23 Written Aug 26, 2007

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    Steep road up the Dades Valley
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    The switchback roads near the top of the Dades Valley are one of the most photographed sites in this area, and as it was only a few kilometres from our hotel we decided to hike up to here. Unfortunately we lost one of our memory cards which contained these photos so I can't show them here. I can remember the views very well though so it wasn't a wasted trip! The road climbs steeply after a group of hotels and the views on the way up and at the top are simply superb as the road passes through a narrow part of the valley at this point.

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