Started in 1963, Tan Tan Moussem is an inter-tribal festival that brings together Saharan peoples. The festival’s main event is camel trading, but there are also wedding celebrations, inter-tribal competitions and lots of music and dancing. The most dramatic aspect of the festival is a fantasia, a reenactment of a traditional Berber attack charge on horseback.
The festival was suspended from 1979 until 2004 due to tension in the Western Sahara, but since its revival by the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism and UNESCO, it has drawn nomadic peoples from Morocco, Mali, Niger and as far away as Saudi Arabia. Festival participants stay in a temporary city of more than 800 tents handmade from goat and camel hair.
Tourist facilities at the festival are limited, although there are a number of budget hotels in Tan Tan proper. The event takes places yearly in late May or early June. It’s best to contact the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism for current event dates and lodging information. In past years, a number of foreign journalists and guests have been invited courtesy of the Moroccan government. (more…)