The berbers of Morocco
You will not have really seen Morocco if you have not had an encounter with the Imazighen (Amazigh in singular), people of the mountains and the desert…Walking around the dayets of the Middle Atlas and the villages of the Oukaïmeden, opt for a night in a bivouac: sensational memories are to be made! These will only be enhanced by the presence of a local guide, he will help you to discover all the secrets, history and traditions of his Berber culture so that you can get to know the story of the land you are travelling through.
The berbers of Morocco that occupies a vast zone of Northern Africa and the Sahara is composed of a number of families. In Morocco, besides the Touaregs and the Kabyles, you’ll meet the Masmudas, settled populations of the Rif and the western plains, the Sanhadja, the camel drivers of the Western Sahara and seasonal migrators to the Atlas, or the Zenata, a nomadic people of Southern Morocco. These great Berber dynasties built Morocco’s first kingdoms and great cities. Under the influence of the Arabs, the Berbers converted to Islam in the 7th century but preserved their strong independent spirit. They also kept their language, North Africa’s oldest remaining, even though they usually also speak Arabic and French
Set off to discover the Rif crescent on the foothills that look over the Mediterranean and uncover the sleeping secrets of Tetouan and Chefchaouen! With their relaxed attitude, these blue cities offer all the charms you would expect from an artisan city. From here, visit the Sebou Valley at the gates of the imperial cities.
The history of the Atlantic Coast, meeting point of the Sahara, austral Africa, and the Ocean, is also marked by the Imazighen. When travelling along the shoreline, discover the berbers of Morocco’s villages around Essaouira and Agadir. Don’t miss Agadir’s Timitar Culture festival in June, as it is devoted to Berber music and poetry.
From Agadir, explore the area around Taroudant, to discover the Berber culture of the villages of Taliouine, Tagouyamet, Ait Ighmour, Ait Tgga or Idghagh…These mysterious and well-preserved lands will charm you along with their terrace cultures and saffron fields…
Next, meet the people fo the High Atlas in the Oukaimeden region and on the Tizi N’Tichka road. From here, the Ourika Valley will take you to the heart of traditional Berber mountain culture.
At the gates of Southern Morocco, discover the Todra region. As you hike around the Atlas foothills surrounding M’Semrir, Tamtetoucht, or Imilchil, meet the shepherds and nomadic tribes of the Todra Valley and Gorges.
Bivouacking in Morocco’s Great South is an unforgettable experience…you’ll experience the lifestyle of the nomadic touaregs, the blue men of the desert who will share the stories of their culture and their traditions with interested visitors. Discover the many Berber campsites, especially around M’Hamid and Merzouga.
> Berber artisanal crafts
The ancestral know-how of Berber artisans is recognized throughout the country: pottery in Chefchaouen and Taroudant, jewellery in Tiznit, rugs in Ouarzazate, textiles in Marrakech and Tafraout. The Berber souks of Taza, Azrou and Taroudant are probably the most fascinating, but we must admit; it’s hard to choose!
> Berber cuisine
Throughout the country, you’ll have opportunities to sample different Berber specialties like 5 vegetable couscous, or almond and honey couscous. Besides mechoui and grilled meats, amazighe cuisine is also known for harira, and of course their pastries! If you are travelling through the Mid Atlas, stop by Azrou to enjoy one of its famous tagines.
For more local discoveries: moroccan gastronomy, Artisanal craft, Music and religion