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"Morocco is a paradise on earth with beautiful climate, pristine beaches, magnificent landscapes, and immemorial heritage monuments."

 

Tafraoute and the Anti-Atlas

The heart of the Anti-Atlas is Tafraoute. Nature has here formed bizarre rocks of granite, which shimmer rose in the sun. The most famous of them, the Chapeau de Napoléon, rises about 2 km south of the city near Agard Oudad. The red-washed mosques and houses of Tafraoute fit harmoniously into the landscape, along with the green palm trees, a truly magnificent panorama, which is increased in February when the almond trees bloom (Festival of Almond Blossom). The well-kept city is the centre of the settlement area of Ammeln, a Berber tribe of the Chleuh. The Ammeln are all over the country and in Europe, working as good businessmen, and return at the age back home as wealthy men. Especially nice are the villages in the area with rose and white coloured houses, surrounded by palm trees and opuntia, and breathtaking, rugged mountains, one of the most beautiful areas in Morocco.

Tafraoute is famous for its leather shoes. In small shops sit shoemakers and produce the peculiar leather slipper with raised back in yellow, red and natural. For women, there are colourful embroidered and decorated shoes with tassels booties. The Berber women are dressed in decorative dark blue cloths, covered with gold borders. The people are polite and reserved with strangers and have no interest in doing business with the tourists. Therefore, the strong tourism in recent years has attracted some traders from Rissani offering arts and crafts products. The most important day in Tafraoute is Wednesday, when along the Oued, which flows through the city, a picturesque souk is held. Then the city bustles with life.

Attractions in the Area

Valley of the Ammeln

Below the huge massif of Jebel Lekst, 2359 m high, stretches the 15 km long wide valley from north to south. Here there are natural conditions for agriculture and human settlement. The seven tribes of that region have a total of about 80,000 people. They form a limited geographical unit and have their own identity. The collective term for these tribes is "Ammeln”. The pink and ochre-coloured villages are located to creeks, which roar down the mountainsides, and the residents have created a large terraced area to grow cereals, almond trees and olive groves. Today, the old villages without electricity and water are barely inhabited, were built new, modern houses in the deeper area. An ideal starting point to visit the most beautiful villages, is the village of Douar Oume Snate, 5 km on the road from Agadir, with an interesting guest house and museum, and from there one can make beautiful walks.

The coloured stones of Tafraoute

Leave Tafraoute direction to Agard Oudad. After 7 km drive straight at the fork towards Tiznit, then on the right side is the entrance to the whitewashed "coloured stones”. The stones were painted in 1984 by Belgian artist Jean Verame with over 18 tons of paint in the colours red, blue, black and purple. Although it is an intervention in nature, this sight is very impressive. Similar projects undertaken by the artist in the Sinai and in the Tibesti Mountains. Due to the weather, the rocks are now very faded and recently repainted, but still worth a visit.

Ait Mansour

Ait Mansour is a wonderfully cool palm oasis. Mostafa Chioua here has leveled an area available for the number of campers, he speaks French very well and takes care in non intrusive way to attract visitors. Here is a small paradise with more than one water pool in which is year-round water.