A Hidden Escape

Far from Morocco’s well-known cities, famous desert and cherished Atlas Mountains, there is a town that most people tend to forget on their visit to Morocco: Tafraoute. Deep into the heart of the Anti Atlas Mountains, only reachable through windy pistes from Agadir or remote tracks from the deep south, Tafraoute is a hidden gem that will leave you yearn for it long after you have left the place. A cluster of low pink homes and small minarets, Tafraoute is situated in the beautiful Ammeln Valley, which hides some jaw-dropping palm oases and friendly Berber hamlets. 

The town is not only well-worth the visit for its spectacular nature and friendly local people, but also reknown for its production of the traditional belgha: the local shoes. Just enter the small and charming souk of Tafraoute and you will find the many little shops, filled to the brim with shoes, their artisans busy manufacturing the shoes on the spot. For just about 100 Dirhams you can be the proud owner of a pair of this Tafraoute treasure – the perfect little souvenir from this region.

Where to Stay

  • El Malara
  • – Les Amendiers
  • – Chez Amalia 
  • – La Maison Berbère

Where to Eat

1.The restaurant La Kasbah

A family business, La Kasbah offers typically Moroccan dishes and specializes in some exceptional tanginess. The starters are from 20Dhs, the main dish is about 70Dhs, and the full menu is around 90Dhs. Better to order first and tell them when you would like to eat, and then go for a walk until lunch is served! Wine and beer maybe available on request.

2. Hotel San Antoine 

Full menu is about 100Dhs. Beer and wine available. Limited and not a special menu, but very good food made to order.

 

3. Etoile de Sud

Full menu is about 90DhsNice location, but the quality of the food depends on when it has been prepared.

 

4. Etoile d’Agadir

Main = 40-50Dhs. Extensive menu, but rather average food. If you are not that hungry, you can always stop at a cafe not far from the place where the weekly market takes place, where Sfenj (Moroccan donuts) are made with a coffee or tea for 15Dhs. This can be a great experience too!

What To Do in Tafraoute

We generally include two nights in Tafraoute, so you will have a full day to spend in this wonderful town and the valley surrounding it. Below our recommendations on what to do in Tafraoute:

1.Biking tour

You can always rent a bike with or without a guide. Our recommendation: take a picnic with you and bike towards the painted rocks of Agued Oudad (also known as the Blue Rocks), they are the most famous part of Tafraout’s granite landscape. They were originally colored in 1984 by Belgian artisit Jean Verame with the help of the Tafraout fire brigade and 18 tonnes of blue, pink, red, and black paint. On the way you stop by Napoleon’s Hat, a famous rock in the shape of a hat. You can also bike to Imnan Valley or to the Ait Mansour Gorges and have lunch with a family in an old Berber village. For more info you can contact us at contact@moroccanguides.com.

 

2. Hike 

The Tafraoute climbing season runs from mid-September to the end of April. Nice conditions can be found on higher, north-facing crags. Watch out for snakes in the mountains. You can climb Jebel El Kest (2.359 m) in one long day via Anergui or in 2 days via Tagdicht village with an overnight stop in a guest house. Both of these routes involve a large height-gain and some strenuous walking over rough terrain, for which maps are not readily available. It is best to make the ascent in the company of a local guide, who can also arrange for overnight accommodation. For more information contact us!

Note: it’s possible to hike for more than a week or even two weeks around Tafraout, just tell us what you would like to do and we will be happy to organise for you!

 

3. Visit of the Gorges of Ait Mansour

 

4. Visit the city centre and souks

In Tafraout, you will almost certainly be followed by carpet sellers, and the experience of buying a carpet is one not to be missed. Prices can be much better than in Marrakech, so if you are looking for a carpet the souk of Tafraoute is the way to go! A great place for buying a carpet is La Maison du Troc: the sellers are every trustworthy people, and the owner Mohamed speaks many languages and is a very helpful person who enjoys helping you find the perfect carpet for your home! Other great products from the region:

  • Babouches, you can find them everywhere in the souks and see how they are made by hand, the babouches (shoes) are a speciality of Tafraout.
  • Argan oil and Amlou, a delicious almond paste made with ground almonds, honey and argan oil. 
  • Silver.

 

The Almond Blossom Festival is held annually in the second week of February, a great time to go and visit Tafraoute and see the traditional festivities surrounding the almond harvest!

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