Discovering Rural Morocco near Baumalne Dades
Kasbah ruins, canyons, gorges, fig and olive trees!
If I had to describe Dades Vallley, 50 shades of orange would be perfect description for the colors in the mountains and the villages. I have to admit that when I was planning my Morocco trip I didn’t do any research, so when I finally sat on a bus in Marrakech, I had no idea where I was going.
Along the way I found out I will be crossing the Atlas Mountains covered in snow, a 130 km of curvy slow bus ride that was slowly descending into the stone desert. After about 7 hours of delightful and scenic journey I stepped off in Boumalne Dades, a small little town in rural Morocco that is known as a base for trekking in the area.
My journey hasn’t finished yet. My final destination was a small Moroccan village Tamlalte, another 15 kilometers with grand taxi ride. Already on the way to Tamlalte the landscape started to reveal stunning rock formations in the distance.
Dades Valley Experience
For everyone looking for real Morocco, Dades Valley is a must visit. Groves of olive and fig trees, silent kasbah ruins from the past, Berber architecture and friendly people. From what I have seen in two weeks in Morocco, Dades Valley is one of the most picturesque places I have seen.
One could easily say, Dades valley is a small but utterly spectacular version of the Grand Canyon! Its sheer mountain walls and fantastic geological rock formations add to its uniqueness and splendour, especially when the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue.
Trekking Dades Valley – Monkey’s Fingers Canyon
There are many different trekking routes in Dades Valley, lasting from one day to week long hikes. I was short on time, therefore I opted for a day trip while if I ever come back will definitely choose more days for trekking in Dades Valley.
My day started with a short hike to Gorge de Miguirne and then slowly to Monkeys fingers canyon. I visited in January and while the rest of Morocco was really cold (under 1o degrees C in the nights in some parts) Dades valley was warm with sunny days yet very cold nights. Unfortunately the trees were still leafless but in the air one could already feel the wake of soon coming spring.
Trekking Guide in Dades Valley
There is probably abundance of guides, but I always recommend people that I personally met and the tours that I attend. I was guided by Ilias, Berber Nomad Trekking, a Berber local guide, specialised in mountain trekking in Boumalne Dades region who knows literally every stone in the canyon.
He took over all organisation since my arrival to Boumalne Dades and made sure my stay was basically perfect if i forget the fact I had to wait for him two hours in Boumalne city because he was late without notice. I enjoyed warm berber hospitality through out my short stay, he made sure I was safe in the canyon, carried my heavy camera and other stuff we packed for the canyon trek.
I learned about the history of the Dades region, the berber lifestyle, the culture and was fed with home cooked tagines that could not compare to any restaurant tagine I tried before.
Prices: Pricing is not transparent with Berber Nomad Trekking, you will not find them on his website. It depends on your luck. Airbnb prices quote a room in his guesthouse for 20 Eur per night, while he offers quotes to travellers from other channels 50, 60 a day or more. Negotiate. Same pricing model for trekking. Depends who you are.
Payment: bring cash, you will not get receipt, neither they will not register you as a tourist upon check in. You should know that.
Apart from that, Ilias is typical Moroccan stereotype – gigolo type with girlfriends from all over the world and the most welcome demographics are single women which is his favourite type of traveller to guide.
Best time for Trekking in Dades Valley is all year around!
However the best season for Dades Valley trekking that is not too cold or too hot, is in spring time from February to late May and from September till the end of October, early November. Area is quite remote, it is recommended having good travel health insurance as it appears there is no emergency service not to mention emergency evacuation service in case of serious accidents.
Monkey’s Fingers Canyon
During my trek, the mountains were there just for me. No tourists, no sound except for the wind.
Have you been to Morocco? Which part impressed you most? Leave your comment