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04 April, 2013

Berber Villages around Imlil in Morocco

Atlas trekking through Berber villages
Atlas Trekking Berber villages
After our 2 day trekking climbing Mount Toubkal, we only had one day left in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. On our last day, our guide Ibrahim took us on a walk through Imlil Valley, passing several Berber villages. There are lots of Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains. The Berbers, also called Imazighen or Amazigh meaning free people, are the original inhabitants of Morocco and still have their own language and culture. Ibrahim explained us that there are 3 different Berber dialects in Morocco being Tamazight in the Atlas Mountains, Tarafit in North Morocco and Tashelhit in the Agadir area. Most of the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains are farmers now.


Berber village Atlas Mountains
Berber village
Berber villages are usually build against the mountain flanks, which means that the Berbers must have a very good physical condition to get up and down all day. I also heard they hardly ever get sick due to the fresh healthy air they live in ... most of us Westerns can only enjoy fresh air during vacations these days. I experienced the Berbers as very friendly and nice people. They prepare delicious food and tea. 


Berber house Atlas Mountains
Berber house
We kept hiking up and down through several villages, met lots of people and saw some really old houses. Many houses are build with mud walls which is typically Berber. The animals usually live in the basements of the houses. We also saw lots of chickens running around. I asked our guide how they know which chickens are theirs and he responded that late afternoon all chickens return to their own home, there has never been any issue. That sounded quite strange to me but then again I'm a city girl so I don't know anything about chickens :)


Imlil Valley Atlas Mountains
Imlil Valley
I kept admiring the beautiful area, while walking on the valley flanks you get stunning views on the valley and the surrounding mountains. We had a little break in a Berber village where a nice woman gave us mint tea and cookies. Ibrahim explained to us that during summer period many Moroccan people come to the area for their vacation as it gets to hot in the cities. 


Imlil Atlas Mountains
Imlil
We started to descent to Imlil a small village at 1740m. Most of the Atlas Trekkings start in or around Imlil where you can hire guides, mules, cooks, sleeping bags and even walking boots. Also the 2-day climb to Mount Toubkal starts most of the time from out of Imlil. Did you know that a part of the movie "Seven years in Tibet" was filmed in Imlil, Morocco? 


Argan oil Women's Cooperative Imlil
Argan oil Women's Cooperative
In Imlil there are many guest houses, shops, little restaurants ... it is really a lively village. Most people here live from tourism. We also visited a women's cooperative in Imlil where you could buy all kind of products made from the Argan nut, from argan oil to cosmetic products. Afterwards we returned to our lodge in Tamatert where we got a delicious dinner and looked back at another beautiful day.


Freya - Holiday Nomad, a Travel and Photo blog.


29 comments:

  1. Awesome post and pictures Freya, I wouldn't of thought that chickens knew how to stroll on back home in the afternoon? Thats hilarious!
    Made me laugh, silly chickens. Great question to ask tho, morocco looks like such a humble place, thanks for the wonderful post.

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    1. haha yes they have very clever chickens over there. Morocco is a beautiful place and the Atlas Mountains are incredible.

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  2. Being from the US whose history thus far is fairly short in the grand scheme of things - I love seeing places like this... so much history and tradition that survives

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    1. I love tradition and visiting historic places as well. There are definitely lots in Morocco.

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  3. Great post. Love your photos....my Morocco dreams are certainly being tantalized here! The Imlil Valley and the Berber houses - beautiful.

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  4. That must be a culture-rich place.

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  5. Love this story and the pictures. Another place to add to my wish list!

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    1. Dank je. Het is zeker de moeite, de Atlas Mountains zijn echt prachtig.
      Thank you, definitely worth it.

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  6. What a great experience and way to really interact with the locals. Terrific photos!

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  7. What a terrific experience! I would love to do a trek like this.

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    1. It is for sure a great trek and the Atlas Mountains are just fabulous

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  8. This makes me realize that there is more to Morocco than just Marrakesh! Sounds like an amazing experience if you want to know the locals.. Loved it! :)

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    1. Hi Sophie thanks, yes Morocco is beautiful and a very interesting country

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  9. That's a terrific experience I must say. So authentic. The photo of Imlil Valley is awesome.

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    1. Hi Agness it was an awesome trek and it is so beautiful over there.

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  10. These pictures really capture the beauty of these villages. The Berbers sound very friendly and interesting. This certainly looks very different from the Morocco pictures I've seen. You've got me curious with Argan nut and argan oil cosmetics now.

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    1. They for sure are very friendly people. I bought some cosmetic argan oil and my skin does feel softer :)

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  11. Your pictures really enticed me to go discover Morocco. No I didn't realise that part of 7 Years in Tibet had been filmed here, interesting. I loved that book :) but not so much the movie.

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    1. same here, I usually do not think the film is as good as the book once I read the book

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  12. Really loved this post. I've always to go to Morrocco (or north Africa for that matter). Sounds like a great experience you had there!

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    1. Hi Bram, it's definitely worth it. I had a great Atlas Trek.

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  13. Lovely!

    I really want to hike in the Atlas mountains some day, and visit the Berber villages. I crossed the Atlas by bus from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate in July 2011 and spent most of the 4h ride staring out the window admiring the mountains and valleys. Would have loved to explore but was going for a short and very specific objective: and wedding! (one of my "Belgian" friends from Liège is a Morrocan from Ouarzazate, and I was invited to his wedding, a Berber wedding so quite a unique experience!). I couldn't stay longer as I had to make it to France for another wedding the same week, and I was envious of the friends who did stay on as the little I'd seen of the area made me really want to discover more!
    I'll definitely go back some day, but not in the middle of summer! 42ºC was waaaaaay too HOT!!! :p

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    1. I have never been to a Berber wedding but yes WoW that is an awesome experience. haha yes 42°C is way to hot for me as well. The Atlas Mountains are really beautiful.

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  14. I like these posts on the Berber villages and your Atlas treks. Usually all trips to Morocco that I hear about include Marrakech, a trip to desert and the Imperial cities. This is an interesting alternative!

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    1. Hi Stefania, the Atlas Mountain are is gorgeous, definitely worth exploring

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  15. "late afternoon all chickens return to their own home, there has never been any issue"

    Sounds amazing, though I don't dispute it. My mother's from a village area and while it's not completely like this, the cows know their way home and never need help. It's an amazing thing. I'd love to visit this place though, thanks for sharing this!

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    1. It's amazing indeed. Thanks for stopping by Annie

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Freya - Holiday Nomad