The Happy Valley – Ait Bouguemez – is one of the best-kept secrets in Morocco. After all, when you dream of visiting the North African country of Morocco, what are the first things that come to mind when you think of places to visit and sights to see? Would you like to:
- Visit one of the large coastal cities to enjoy seafood, the beach, and the International influences.
- Head to one of the inner walled cities like Marrakech or Chefchauen to wander through the walls and explore the markets.
- Head to the desert on the back of a camel to sleep under the stars among the sand dunes.
- Check out the filming locations for movies and popular shows like Game of Thrones.
- Go surfing in one of the areas of the Atlantic coast known for having great waves.
Whether you vibe to the hustle and bustle of the city – or prefer the peace and solitude of the desert, Morocco is a great place to “get away from it all.” And if you are looking to experience that feeling on a grand scale, a visit to Ait Bouguemez should feature prominently in your travel plans.
Ait Bouguemez – The Enchanting Valley of Happiness
Some say that Ait Bouguemez is the most beautiful valley in all of Morocco. Fields of wheat and barley glow golden in the sun, surrounded by red, rocky hills. Colorful fruit orchards imbue the air with delicious aromas and wild herbs – harvested regularly by local villagers for food and medicine – grow with abandon in the cool, rich soil, as well.
Located in the Northern reaches of the High Atlas mountains, it is the home of the Berber people who have long lived in harmony with this special valley. Ait Bouguemez feels like a place that time forgot. When you visit, you’ll see people living life in much the same way as they did far back into the past. Time moves slowly here in this isolated place. Although there is a paved road now – as of the year 2000 or so – there is little to entice visitors, especially large crowds of tourists. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, you will find it growing in abundance in Ait Bouguemez.
What to Do in Ait Bouguemez
Ait Bouguemez is not the sort of place where you will find much that caters to tourism. But it is the ideal place to visit if you are looking for beauty, tranquility, and an authentic experience with the traditional Moroccan people. Happy Valley is a chance to return to nature for a while – to hike in the mountains, stroll through orchards, sleep in a tent, and get to know the people who call Ait Bouguemez home. It is helpful to hire a guide who speaks the language, as you won’t find much Arabic, French, or English spoken here. A good guide can also help you find your way to some of the special places and sights that are known only by the locals.
Whether you hire a guide or choose to explore independently, here are a few things to do in Ait Bouguemez.
Zawiya of Sidi Moussa – Timit
Located in the central valley village of Timit, this Islamic Shrine is a sacred focal point of the area. The steep walk up to the former granary is challenging, but the scenery from the top is well worth the effort. The views at sunrise and sunset are particularly pleasing!
Sunday Souk – Tabant
If you are in Ait Bouguemez on a Sunday, be sure to check out the wonderful market. Whether you are looking for handcrafted bags, beautiful woven rugs, or scrumptious street food, you’re in for an enjoyable day hanging out at the market with the locals.
Go For a Hike
Located in the Village of Tabant, the Centre de Formation aux Metiers de la Montagne (CFAMM) is a school for mountain guides – the only school of its kind in Morocco. They are happy to help you with a guided hike wherever you would like to go. True hiking enthusiasts will want to consider a hike to Mount M’goun, which is the third-highest summit in Morocco – reaching 4071 meters in height. And you definitely don’t want to miss the beautiful Ait Bouguemez Valley waterfall.
See the Dinosaur Tracks
Set in a hillside in the village of Ibaklliwne, you will find a variety of dinosaur tracks, permanently set in place. It is free to go see them, with or without the help of a guide. And the tracks themselves – made by herbivores and carnivores alike – are awe-inspiring, as you picture the various creatures that once walked the earth where you stand now.
Spend Time With a Berber Family
Even without the help of a guide, if you wander the Ait Bouguemez with an open mind and heart, you may be surprised by how easy it can be to connect with the locals. There are a variety of small, family-owned lodges scattered throughout the area. But it is also quite possible that a friendly family will simply invite you to share a meal or stay for the night. This is where a guide is handy, to help with the language differences.
Call Us To Help You Plan
The beautiful and enchanting Ait Bouguemez Valley might not be the first place that comes to mind when people start planning their North African vacation. But for nature lovers, a visit to this stunning area of the High Atlas Mountains should not be missed.
Here at Roaming Camels, we are happy to talk with you about all your Moroccan travel plans. Whether you are looking for the tranquility of Ait Bouguemez or the Metropolitan pulse of a coastal city like Tangier, we would love to talk with you about making the most of your vacation time with a well-planned tour. There’s no better time to start dreaming about your trip!