0224. The Switzerland of Morocco (Mor 072--new)

Ifran Travel Blog

 › entry 53 of 74 › view all entries
A typical Ifrane house

Many times I've been asked "have you ever been to Ifrane? You've got to see it!  It's just like Switzerland!"    I was always a bit skeptical--even moreso after seeing Azrou... I mean, it's a beautiful town, but it's not Switzerland...

Well, now I'm off to see for myself... Grab a taxi kbir to cover the 20 some kms winding even higher up the mountains...
Finally reach a plateau and can see the town off in the distance... As you approach, you're struck by how every single home without exception is built like a Swiss chalet, with a steep red tiled roof--even the apartment buildings are built like big Swiss chalets... the next thing you're struck by are all the green areas... it  seem like most of the town consists of forested parks with winding pathways connecting the various neighborhoods.

... I see kids coming from the forests--I'm assuming there's a school on the other side--but it's no where in sight.

Yes, the name "Swiss Morocco" is very fitting... and no, there is nothing really "Moroccan" about this town--other than the people...

Even the Town Hall is built like a stately French Mairie... the center of town is quiet, spotless and crisp, with carefully manicured gardens and a few very Frenchy patisseries... Even the town market has more of a European feel to it...

I see a number of foreigners--I assume students at the nearby Al Akhawayne University,  a pricey University with an all-American curriculum...

Definitely not the kind of place to go to if you want to "discover Morocco"--and quite frankly, I think this town would feel very boring after more than a day or so.

.. yet it's very refreshing to see something totally different. I'm glad I stayed the night in Azrou, as it looks like any accomodation here would be quite pricey...

Ifrane was built as a vacation town for wealthy colonists--the location was chosen due to its high elevation.  None of their gardeners or maids were allowed to live in town--they had to commute from a nearby village.  Although most of the residents nowadays are wealthy Moroccan Berbers, they've chosen to maintain the high standards set by the French...

I head out to hike in the thick forests at the edge of town.  When I reach the top of the hill I get a view that is extremely rare in Morocco... thick pine forest for as far as the eye can see...

Unfortunately there’s a fence blocking me from going further... probably a hunting reserve of some sorts... so I head back into town and continue on north.

 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
A typical Ifrane house
A typical Ifrane house
Town Hall
Town Hall
Ifran
photo by: nathanphil