Day Trip to Ifrane, Sefrou and Bhalil from Fes
For this fun day trip to Ifrane, we will meet after breakfast and start with the nearby town of Sefrou, a great destination for one day trips from Fes. It lies more than 900 metres above sea level, and every spring the rivers become so fierce that buildings and agriculture is threatened. The city is cut in two halves by the seasonal river Oued Aggaï.
Over the river small bridges allow only foot traffic to pass. The city is dominated by white houses, simple in design, but often with terraces that are uncommon in Morocco. These terraces are from the significant Jewish influence seen all over this little town.
Sefrou’s history is dominated by religion. It was a Jewish town before Islam was introduced in the 8th century. There are many festivals in town, celebrating the cherry harvest in June, the 17th century saint Sidi Lahcen Ben Ahmed or Lalla Rekia and her miraculous spring that cures madness.
Next is the nearby village of Bhalil quite off the beaten track of tourism in northern Morocco.
This very charming village also has a seasonal river dividing it and covered with numerous bridges. When you climb up to the top, you will pass many people working in the streets, making simple handicrafts such as djellaba beads, or preparing crops of different kinds. The view from the top is beautiful, with a green valley and small hill tops.
The other reason to come here is to visit the cave houses also known as troglodyte homes. These are ancestral homes passed down through generarions and literally caves dug into the side of the hill. The inhabitants prefer this style of housing because it allows the home to be cool in summer and keeps the worst cold out in winter. Visit a family and have tea in the cave home to appreciate this style of living.
Next stop is Ifrane and the nearby cedar forest. Ifrane is unlike any other town in Morocco. Located 5,460 feet above sea level in the Middle Atlas region, this small hill town has a distinct Swiss alpine feel. With neat red-roofed houses, blooming flower beds, lake-studded parks and snowbound winters, this remarkable European styled town is often referred to as “Morocco’s Switzerland.”
The lush greenery, cedar forests, and pastureland comes to life in spring and the winter is a sharp contrast to the hot and dry climate that surrounds it. In the cedar forest nearby, home to many Barbary apes or Macaque that run free and interact with passing tourists when they choose to come out of hiding that is.
Day Trips Notes:
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