Walking Towards the Village
Our peaceful hotel’s location outside of Ouarzazate in the stone desert gave us the opportunity to explore our surroundings on foot rather than having to jump into a car and drive elsewhere. This also gave us the opportunity to discover a secret abandoned film studio and after exploring the crumbling discarded complex we walked back into the heart of the Tifoultoute village, where we would enjoy a delicious Moroccan lunch at the local Kasbah.
The Stone Desert
The walk from the film studio took us along a gravelled track that appeared to lead nowhere, and apart from a local shepherd we met no one along the way. The landscape was deserted and the barren rocks glistened in the hot winter sun. The Atlas Mountains in the far distance were a constant companion en route with Ouarzazate’s cityscape breaking the vast expanse of the stone desert. Upon reaching the outskirts of Tifoultoute we noticed a graveyard behind a low wall. Much like the one we had seen in Telouet it was barely recognisable as such and only a closer look made the graves, marked by larger rocks, visible to the untrained eye.
Entering the Mud Brick Kasbah
Ahead the Kasbah appeared to take over half the village, perched on top of a hill, above a lush green palm oasis. We strolled across the bridge that led us over the fairly dry riverbed, before scrambling up the dusty hillside to the entrance of the mud brick fort. Originally we had planned to have lunch on the roof terrace at a restaurant next door, but when we arrived we found it was closed for a party. Retracing a few steps and entering the renovated walls of the charming Kasbah, passing a small cacti garden, we entered a large courtyard to find a welcoming restaurant. The somewhat peeling paint and the arched alcoves immediately reminded me of the beautiful haciendas we had seen in Mexico.
There were no other guests, we assumed that any tour groups had yet to arrive, as there was clearly a lot of space, but we were warmly greeted by one of the waiters. A table in the shade seemed like a sensible thing to take at the time and we sat down to order some food. After taking our order the waiter offered for us to have a tour of the Kasbah inside. Stepping inside the Kasbah, the strong smell of the plastic roof above the inside dining room permeated my senses, but the alluring interior, a mixture of Berber carpets, sofas and cushions, distracted me on our wanders through the building. It was easy to imagine that on a lively evening with music, the sense of 1001 nights could come alive here.
360º Views From the Rooftop
After climbing a maze of stairs the rooftop offered us 360º views of the village and surrounding landscape. The ancient towers and walls of parts of the Kasbah were left to crumble and pigeons nested in the holes used for scaffolding.
Below us on the road we also noticed a congregation of musicians and young Moroccans in front of the building. Back downstairs in the courtyard of the restaurant, Jerome and I went to inspect the commotion in the street further. Looking over the wall we saw a group of colourfully dressed Africans playing instruments, while the local youths excitedly watched the concert.
However, what amazed me most was that boys and girls seemed to intermingle without any restrictions, something we had rarely seen elsewhere in Morocco. In the rural areas women and men appeared to still stick to the segregation of sexes in public. It made me happy to see the smiles on their faces and their obvious enjoyment of the music. The group of youngsters moved along with the musicians into the restaurant next door and continued their concert on the rooftop terrace. Jerome watched them with enthusiasm and was clearly intrigued by the foreign sounds.
Tasty Tajine for Lunch
Shortly after the party started on the neighbouring rooftop, our food arrived – with the distraction of the music, we had completely forgotten about our hunger. The dishes were classic Moroccan fare, an egg tajine with meatballs (kofte) served with homemade bread. The smell of the food brought over a couple of the local cats and Jerome was tempted to offer a few titbits from his plate, and of course they loved him for that.
After savouring our lunch we left the peaceful Kasbah behind and wandered back towards our hotel. Jerome strolled through the stony fields, still on the hunt for some geodes. We almost lost sight of him as he wandered turning over stone after stone hunting for the likely candidates, however it seemed less likely that he would find one this close to the village.
Afternoon at Cote Sud
Back at Hotel Cote Sud we enjoyed a lazy afternoon watching the sun reflected in the pools on the terrace, sometimes disturbed by birds dipping in for a drink. The remaining afternoon passed pleasantly, as we sipped some cool drinks, and enjoyed some card games. Jerome was happy to cuddle the hotel’s cat on his lap. That evening instead of heading into Ouarzazate for dinner we decided to be lazy and stayed at the hotel’s own restaurant.
Our Last Day in Ouarzazate
The next day would be our last in the area before moving on to the Sahara desert. It was spent discovering the lush palm oasis of Fint and a brief, albeit disappointing, visit to the centre of Ouarzazate.
Follow us on Social Media