By visiting local souks outside Marrakech you can experience Berber rural life and absorb the character of the marketplaces where locals connect each week to sell and purchase goods. Visiting a Moroccan rural souk lends to an insider view of social life where local producers sell their wares including, fruit, vegetables, and livestock.
Merchants from Marrakech sell essentials such as tea, coffee, sugar, packaged foods, cooking items, clothing, and electronics. Also shown at Marrakech rural souks are carpets, jewelry, and pottery generally less expensive than those in Marrakech. Other things available to buy at the souk are henna, spices, rugs, Berber slippers and leather sandals, pottery, djellabahs for men, caftan dresses for women and handmade wooden kitchen utensils.
Visiting a souk in the region of Marrakech offers an insider view of Berber rural life.
Amizmiz has the best Berber souk in the region on a Tuesday as well as sampling the local wares, it is a good starting off point for treks in the surrounding Atlas Mountains and meeting the Berbers in their home environment for mint tea and a meal served in their homes.
Set against the majestic backdrop of the High Atlas, the picturesque village of Tahanaout attracts visitors with its landscape and attractive sturdy Berber red clay buildings. The village which is 30 km from Marrakech is surrounded by olive groves, orange and lemon trees. Its souk is also held on a Tuesday. Pottery making and cooking demonstrations are on offer from the inhabitants of Tahanaout, you can learn how to make homemade bread, makoda, couscous, and other traditional regional dishes.
There are opportunities for bird watching whilst strolling along the riverbanks, where you can see Moroccan wagtail, white stork and cattle egret. You can trek to the Ouirgane, N’Fis and Ourika Valleys and the waterfalls at Setti Fatma. You can also ride donkeys or hire a 4X4 cross country vehicle. For travelers who would like to stay in Tahanaout consider a stay at Terres d’Amanar, an eco-lodge with views of the Atlas villages. Kasbah Angour is also nearby. Both properties can arrange tours and trekking along with 4×4 overland tours.
Ouirgane is a delightful place to spend a few days for trekking and relaxation
Other centers for weekly souks include Tnine Hem on Monday, Sidi Ghiat on Sunday and Aghmat with its ancient ruins on Friday. Asni also has a large market on Saturday, Ijoukak on Wednesday and Khemis Ouirgane on Thursday. Ouirgane is a delightful place to spend a few days for trekking and relaxation. It is close to the Tiz N’Test pass, Mount Toubkal, Toubkal National Park, and the Tassa Ouirgane National Park. This is a trekking and ecotourism country at its best. It is possible to travel around by 4×4 but if you are up to it by foot, donkey or horse is best. The air is clean the mountain scenery and the Takherkhoute forests are enchanting.
One of the best places to stay in Ouirgane is the idyllic Domaine de la Rosaraie, set in sixty acres of parkland with a large garden filled with roses.
Domaine Malika is new on the scene in Ourigane and for an upscale and chic mountain experience, there is none better than the Domaine Malika.
Chez Momo is a charming auberge, Moroccan country style home overlooking the High Atlas. They are also known for the excellent cuisine and elegant dinner setting. If staying in Ourigane dining at Chez Momo is a must.
Au Sanglier Qui Fume has been in existence since 1945. It started by catering to Foreign Legion soldiers working on the bridge and acquired its distinctive name because it was used by wild boar hunters. Its restaurant has great character including the heads of wild boar hanging from the walls. The food is a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine. It remains a classical French establishment.
The Tassa Ouirgane National Park and the Toubkal National Park provide great trekking opportunities in amongst the valleys and local Berber villages hamlets and fields with the Atlas mountains towering above them. You can visit the salt mines at Marigha. Here the Berbers have been mining salt by their traditional method unchanged for centuries. They transport the salt by donkeys and sell it locally.