moroccan skies

jbel siroua, djebel sirwa: treks, camping, nature hike

saharan camel travel

 Sirwa  mountain trek :

Following the sun to some of Morocco’s most startling mountain-desert scenery,the Anti-Atlas range and sub-Saharan hinterland hugging it’s southern flanks is an austerely beautiful region of sinuous canyons and lush oases. Tafraoute lies at the heart of the Anti-Atlas The long, winding ascent past flat-roofed villages, and groves of almond and olive-like argan trees brings one to a sentinel over a long valley splashed with mustard-yellow and poppy-red. This region is known for its hillocks of weirdly-eroded sandstone. Looming over the surrounding valleys and nearby lie a beautiful area,especially when late afternoon sun fires the peculiar landscape amber and bronze.

Ameln and oumnast valleys whose many odd tranquil villages are dwarfed by the mauve and lilac crags of the djebel el kest whose flanks teem with new colourful homes hugging the valley floor.there are displays of grinders for argan oil, pots, daggers and ceremonial babouches or slippers. One can lounge in their salon sipping ‘berber whisky’ (mint tea, alas) and dipping bread in amlou, a nutritious blend of argan, almond paste and honey.

A handful of villages, are linked by an unbroken ribbon of palms and tiny fields. The stretch between these valleys and the mouth of canyons is flat and fairly open and host some fantastic geological wonders and prehistoric rock paintings near some villages, but the wild scenery and utter stillness alone justify the trip.

The agadir, or fortified granary, dotting the anti atlas remains among morocco’s best-preserved. These granaries – a berber tradition – were designed to protect food stores and valuables. Skillfully built from rocks and wood, and perched on a knoll, its four deep courtyards are honeycombed with around two hundred storage chambers. Turning south for tata, cool oases carpet the valley and stand on the fringes of the desert, its climate hotter, its people darker. There’s a more negroid cast to many local faces, a legacy of the slave trade when caravans toiled from mauritania and niger. Here they set up a stunning cluster of ancient kasbahs and settlements emerging almost organically from the earth.

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