Morocco’s cities are places that could tire even the most hardened traveller. With all the hassle from touts and fast paced life it can really wear you down. Needing to see the other side of the country that exists in the desert and mountain regions, it was time for an escape.
I wrote previously about the peaceful city of Sidi Ifni in the south, and wanted to continue to more similar peaceful places. There really is less stress in travelling the southern part of Morocco, and if you ever go I can recommend you try to get to that part of the country, at least for a little while.
The Tafraoute Escape.
You can head away from the coast to a quiet little town called Tafraoute, a place you can lose yourself in with its chilled out nature.
A comfortable hotel along with cheap eats on the street, and set in a valley with mountains and desert boulders, it’s the perfect tonic for getting away from it all.
The way many travellers get around is by bicycle, but I opted for walking. That way I could take it slow and meet some of the friendly villagers while on foot.
I didn’t see any other backpackers while there, so you are definitely getting away from the crowds on the standard travelled route.
You are certainly not off the beaten path though as there are plenty of older retired people in their camper-vans out and about. But most of them are very sweet and nice so was happy to meet them.
The Draa Valley Excursion.
Leaving Tafraoute behind you can continue onwards to the peaceful Draa Valley, very close to the Sahara Desert. Staying at an Oasis called Agdz (try pronouncing that, I will tell you at the end how it goes), it was so chilled out.
There was not much to do but take slow walks in the surrounding villages, with their crumbling old kasbahs. A Moroccan kasbah is basically a fortified home.
Many kasbahs are in need of restoration having been made of mud-brick in the past, and you can stay in a budget one for as little as $10 a night.
Staying in an oasis will be one of the most relaxed times you could have in Morocco, with just the sound of insects and the trees swaying.
If you get the timing right you could see a weekly market, and in the case of Agdz that meant traders from as far afield as the desert coming.
It’s a great scene watching the local people go about their business in the market, in fact anywhere in the world going to a big market is one of the best travel experiences as you can mingle with the locals.
Getting Away From the Crowds in Morocco.
Most tourists in these regions were older retired people, like I said above. It would seem that most backpackers are on tours from Marrakech heading to the Sahara and pass through the area quickly.
If you are short on time then going on a tour can make sense, but it’s so much more fun taking the transport with the locals because it gives you a better idea about real life in Morocco. It will most likely be cheaper as well.
In Southern Morocco there is far less hassle than what you get in Marrakech and Fes, for example. In my time from Sidi Ifni in the south to reaching Fes in the north I was asked only one time on the streets for something, and that was someone offering a bike for rent.
There are so many more regions in the south and centre away from the crowds that I want to go back and see.
So if you plan a visit there then try to get away from the main trail, and enjoy a bit of relaxed time in the quieter side of Morocco.
Oh, and Agdz is pronounced Agg-diz! I started out saying Aggzz until politely corrected by a confused taxi driver when telling him that was where I wanted to go.