Valley of 1000 Kasbahs

Ait Ben Haddou Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 18 › view all entries
roadside stall high in the Atlas Mountains

 We departed Marrakech at 9.30 and drove through some amazing landscapes. along flat roads past small villages, donkeys, heaps of trees ( much more vegetation than I had imagined to be) then began climbing the Anti Atlas Mountains through pine forests, down into valleys full of palms and greenery and then up up up winding switchback roads to the highest pass of the Atlas Mountains. (photo stops along the way) It was fantastic! The scenery changes at every twist and turn of the road.

Down to the Dades Valley (also known as the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs) passing much more barren landscapes, mud berber villages, crops along the stoney riverbed. Was very excited to see Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah ( the house of the children of Haddou) rising up from the dry flat lands.

Crossing the beautiful Atlas Mountains
It is built on the side of a stoney hill with the most magnificent views along the valley surrounded by mountains. We had moroccan salad and tagine for lunch (a really nice lamb one! and I do like the moroccan bread!) at the "new" village before setting off after Mustafa as he showed us the path through the village and across the stoney mainly dry river bed to the Kasbah. It was a perfect day, not too hot and stunning clear blue sky. Some local children came and helped us walk across the muddy stone ground, it was so sweet. So you have to walk across this quite wide stoney area which gives you a feeling of going back in time and the kasbah looms closer and closer till you are standing at the base looking in awe up past the red mud walls to the multitude of dwellings built one upon the other.
View of Ait Ben Haddou from the new village accross the river
  Halfway across I stopped as the mezzuin began his call echoeing around the valley.  An Awesome moment. Some moments are so special you cannot describe them...but they remain in your heart forever...Know what I mean?

We then followed Mustafa up through the kasbah itself. I decided to go and find a quiet spot on a wall to sit and ponder the grandeur of it all. Managed to get a few quiet times while we were there. At one stage I preferred not to go into the local berber home (within the kasbah) for mint tea, and instead wandered further along down the path and found a lovely view back across to the new village. I stopped to admire some paintings done on paper and then of course it was time to bargain again. I didn't mind as I saw the artist paint another picture (he used black Tea and heated it over a gas flame to bring out the darker colour)and ended up with 2 little pictures of the kasbah for 100MAD (approx.$15 AUD) after first asking price of 250 MAD . A nice momento. (and they look a million dollars framed up here at home!)

We continued driving through more and more arid landscapes till arriving at our 4 star hotel Fint in Ourzazate (war-zar-zet)

 

skippyed says:
I have to say I'm really enjoying reading your blog and look forward going to Morocco myself one day :)
Posted on: Nov 28, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
roadside stall high in the Atlas M…
roadside stall high in the Atlas …
Crossing the beautiful Atlas Mount…
Crossing the beautiful Atlas Moun…
View of Ait Ben Haddou from the ne…
View of Ait Ben Haddou from the n…
Highest pass of the Atlas Mountains
Highest pass of the Atlas Mountains
First glimpse of Ait Ben Haddou
First glimpse of Ait Ben Haddou
The huge walls of the Kasbah
The huge walls of the Kasbah
Land at the base is cropped . The …
Land at the base is cropped . The…
Mud brick buildings make up the Ka…
Mud brick buildings make up the K…
Young girls spinning and weaving
Young girls spinning and weaving
outside a village house
outside a village house
pathway up
pathway up
Mud brick wall of the Kasbah
Mud brick wall of the Kasbah
Ait Ben Haddou
photo by: HelenP