Rose Valley: Hikes and Delicious Berber Food


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Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » El Kelaa M'Gouna
September 17th 2018
Published: September 17th 2018
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Photo from yesterdayPhoto from yesterdayPhoto from yesterday

It’s hard to choose the photos because they are just little thumbnails so I get the wrong ones sometimes. I meant to use this one yesterday.
Travel is glamorous only in retrospect – Paul Theroux

We got up about 6:30 this morning, to be ready for breakfast at 7:30, so we could leave at 8. I got my clothes out, put the shampoo etc in the shower in preparation for the shower I was very much looking forward to having, turned on the tap … nothing. Umm, isn’t there supposed to be water coming out? It started trickling out, then gave up entirely. The tap in the sink also gave up so we were completely waterless. I had a quick rinse at the Sahara camp, but that was it so I really wanted a shower this morning. Susan called Abdul to tell him about the lack of water, and we checked to see if nearby empty rooms had water. No luck. One shower produced a strong stream of brown water, then only steam, then stopped completely.

So we used some body wipes we had brought with us for just this sort of emergency, which helped somewhat, and got ready. We talked to some other members of our group who also had no water, or just steam coming out of their taps. Abdul called Peregrine to ask them about us to another hotel, but they said there was nothing available in the area. Honestly, this reflects really badly on Peregrine and I am seriously reconsidering ever travelling with them again. Their continuous use of this inadequate hotel, given the repeated negative feedback, is baffling. We all felt sorry for Abdul because he is so great and it isn’t his fault at all.

We went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, which was supposed to be ready at 7:30. Of course it wasn’t. It eventually appeared: good strong coffee, a few cakes, a quite good sort of pancake (good with apricot jam), bread, olives, laughing cow cheese (which they have at most breakfasts) and hard boiled egg. We then set off on our drive of about 40 minutes to where we would meet our local guide and begin our hike through the Rose Valley. We drove down the narrow, windy road, first through the town of M’Goun, then passing some ruined kasbahs.

This is a very traditional Berber area, and the women are quite covered up (as has been the case since we left Fes, though in the Fes Medina the women were very traditionally dressed too). We drove along the M’Goun river, to the town of Tamaloute, where we met our local guide Youssef, at a Berber home/small restaurant called “Gite d’Etape”, where we would later have lunch. John and Barb decided to wait at the restaurant while the rest of us set off on our hike. It was a cloudy, hazy day, but luckily no rain. It started off a bit cool, but we soon got warm as we walked. We did have some sun off and on, but it was very hazy which didn’t make for good photos. It kept it cooler though, which was very nice for the hike.

We hiked for about 3 hours, through rocky areas to a viewpoint with a fabulous view of the village and the gardens along the river. We saw people herding their sheep down the roads. Wild thyme and other herbs grow in this rocky area. Abdul picked some and they smelled wonderful. We made our way down from the viewpoint, though the narrow lanes of the village, and to the gardens along the river. Each family has its own garden plot, and they grow a variety of plants including bamboo (used in
Donkey with cornDonkey with cornDonkey with corn

Taken on our hike
building), different kinds of figs, pomegranates, corn used for animal feed, walnuts, etc.

We walked back to the Gite d’Etape, where we were served a really incredible Berber lunch. It was the best meal we have had so far in Morocco. We started with a cooked salad (rice, carrots, eggplant, green pepper, potato, tomatoes, etc) which was delicious. Then we were served a Berber omelette (also delicious and I think more authentic then the one we had yesterday), turkey skewers Susan said were excellent, fabulous homemade bread, olives, a lentil dish, and goat cheese. It was all just SO good. We finished with slices of melon.

We then walked about 10 minutes uphill to a nearby Berber home (the home of our local guide Youssef and his wife Kabira), to learn how to make traditional Berber tea. It is quite the process! Abdul made the tea, which was green tea with verbena rather than the usual mint. It was excellent. Then two of our group, Nicole and Jeff, were elected to show off what we had learned. They repeated the process, and their tea was also good (made with less sugar this time). Moroccan tea is very sweet,
Primary schoolPrimary schoolPrimary school

Taken on our hike
tourist tea not as sweet! Nicole, Jeff, and Greg (the tea making helper) were dressed in traditional Berber clothing for the tea making. It was fun and Nicole and Jeff were such good sports.

After tea we headed back to the hotel, arriving about 5ish. Susan popped to the bar to get us both a Flag Special beer, and I prayed for hot water in the shower. I turned on the tap … hallelujah, there was lots of hot water! I enjoyed my shower, though it is a hand held shower and when you hang it up, the water sprays straight out, so I had to hold it to actually use it. I should have turned the water off to soap up and wash my hair, but I was afraid to turn it off in case it didn’t come back on. So there was a kind of huge flood in the bathroom, and I later realized the water also went down the sloping floor to the hallway. I thought, oh well, and went to one of the nearby empty rooms and got extra towels, and sopped it all up.

I’ve been working on the blog, and Susan made us a gin and tonic (those Flag Special bottles are just 250 ml, so you know, one doesn’t go too far). I’ve been typing this up in the wifi-less room using the MS Word app, so I’ll go to the area out side the restaurant, just around the corner, to add the text to the blog, fix the formatting (the paragraph breaks don’t show up), add and caption photos. We have dinner at 8 (I’m having salad and vegetarian couscous). The food is not great in the hotel, but adequate. The harira soup last night was pretty good (once we added salt and pepper and some hot sauce!).

Tomorrow we are off to the Skoura Oasis and Ait Behhaddou, where we stay in a riad, which should be a vast improvement on the Ksar Kaissar!


Additional photos below
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Susan and Lori on hikeSusan and Lori on hike
Susan and Lori on hike

Smiling despite lack of shower!
Bee hives along the hikeBee hives along the hike
Bee hives along the hike

Rocks are put on top of the hives so they don’t blow off in the wind


17th September 2018

As soon as you get out of the green valley it sure looks rocky and rough. Reminds me a bit of a part of Dearh Valley we hiked through.
17th September 2018

Rose Valley
Great photos! What a super time you had.
23rd September 2018

Great Hiking Country
The hiking looks amazing. Sorry to hear about the rubbish hotel, and the lack of morning shower - I understand how frustrating that must have been, from one who needs a morning shower to begin the day right! Glad to read you still seemed to have had an amazing day though 😊

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