Within Morocco is a hidden kingdom known as Ait Bougmez. Its sheer beauty will have you wishing to come back after your Morocco vacation is said and done. Ait Bougmez was largely unexplored by anyone other than the Berbers who live in the village towns before this century. It was not until 2001 that the Ait Bougmez region got its first road; one that could remain open all year round. Up until then, the road could be closed for months at a time due to the harsh snowy winters.
Ait Bougmez trekking is as straightforward as it is simple. Walking and hiking is actually the preferred method of travel to allow vacationers to see the region as it is meant to be seen. Much of the area is still difficult to travel by car, and you don’t want to miss any of the spectacular views . The center village of Tabant forms the center of the Ait Bougmez Valley region.
From Tabant, walking Morocco tours will take less than an hour. Places such as Imelghas, Ikhf-in-Ighir, Iskatfene, Agouti, and other villages can be reached. A three hour trek will get you to the village of Taghoulit. Trekkers often time the trek to meet up with the outdoor market day (souq) in order to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.
The longest trek in the Ait Bougmez valley will be to the MGoun massif. The summit is 4071 meters, and is the second highest mountain in all of Morocco, just 100 meters shy of Jbel Toubkal, the tallest. This Morocco trek is designed for explorers and conditioned or seasoned hikers. Sleeping in tents, using outdoor latrines and eating in a communal tent are all part of the experience.
When you are in Tabant there are a number of hotels (or gites) to stay at. There are also several adobe style homes and structures to take pictures of. The Ait Bougmez trekking which will take you from the villages into the hills presents a spectacular view of the buildings you were just viewing in the town. It is well worth an hour’s hike to be able to view the valley from a distance. The towns are almost invisible as they mesh with the canyon-esque backdrop.
Rain in the region is plentiful keeping the landscape covered in flora and fauna, offering a vibrant green against red countryside, especially after the spring rains. Ait Bougmez is located in the Atlas Mountains. The High Atlas Mountains are well known for their trekking tours to exceptional hidden locales.
Your travel needs will vary depending on where you wish to stay. You can take tours from Marrakesh if you do not wish to stay in the Ait Bougmez valley very long. When on longer treks you may also expect some of the villages to open homes to you for meals. Before venturing to the boonies, It is imperative that you understand their culture to ensure respect is duly paid–there are certain ways to eat, certain ways to greet and certain ways to meet. Most villagers do not speak English but Arabic or French, which is why tour operators who set you p with guides are very helpful indeed.
by Sam Mitchell