The Dades Gorge is utterly amazing landscape. The colours of the mountains are so orange and the land formations remind me of moonscapes. Your jaw keeps dropping with the beauty of it all and of course some of the raggedy roads keep you on the edge of your seat. We stayed at a simple little place in the middle of a steep gorge and we looked out onto a pretty little gurgling river. Our room was at tree-top so we could hear and see lots and lots of happy little birds.
Valley of Roses
Sounds so delightful doesn’t it? This valley produces 4,000,000 kilos of petals annually for the perfume market. The roses were brought from Saudi Arabia many years ago and they thrive in this valley. 3,000 kilos of rose petals are needed to make a single litre of rosewater and the total harvest only yields 1,400 litres, making the finished product very expensive. The rose harvest festival is the first weekend in May of each year and the young girls dance with ribbons in their hair.
We stayed at the far end of the valley (26km from the turnoff) at Kasbah Chems. Said (Sayed) and his brother, both young entrepreneurs, have built this Kasbah on the side of the hill with one of the best vistas I have ever seen. Overlooking lush emerald green trees along the riverbank up to red rock cliffs towering over us and finally to the snow capped Atlas mountains in the distance. We loved looking down on the mud villages. Evidently the mud/straw walls wick the moisture, are cool in summer and warm in winter. The family made us feel so welcome and we had some great conversations. The food was awesome, Moroccans sure enjoy good food and in huge quantities!
Everywhere you go in the Moroccan dessert you see houses with surrounding walls in many shades of orange, dark red and ochre. Sometimes you jut see walls in the middle of nowhere… Said informed us that land is free in the hinterland… you just ask the local village elders and you are given it, but you delineate your property with a high wall. Also keeps your mules, donkeys, goats and horses in one place.
The road in here was wild! I was glad to be on the uphill side of the road but of course I knew I would be on the cliff side going back (strange how that works). It’s not wide enough for two cars so you have to edge off the road when another car comes by. Bob is a great driver thank goodness! Driving along was like going back in time, seeing the way people live in small mud hut villages. They work here in this valley growing roses, almonds, figs, walnuts and veges. Such utter beauty it was breathtaking! Pictures will not come close to really seeing this masterpiece so why not visit yourself?
Some people work as guides for folks coming here to go trekking into the mountains.
Others distill and sell rose water or rose related products. Often it’s the women who work in a collective and create these lovely scented soaps, lotions etc.The gallery was not found!