High Atlas Mountains riad, Morocco

Map

Vouchers
Not Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: High Atlas Mountains riad, Morocco

Environment

The kasbah site had to be excavated using hand tools as it is not possible to get large machinery up to the site. It took over 3 years to build starting in April 2008 to May 2011. During the first stage of the build I was pregnant with our son and had to oversee management of the whole project as I had drawn the plans while Mohamed sourced the local materials for ceilings, buying it from local people who grow silver birch trees and thin white wood poles to sell as roofing material as it is known to be resistant to wood beetles. He had to translate for me with the builders as I could not speak the language.

The kasbah is built so it fits in to the landscape and the surrounding houses. We used stone from the site in the construction and even used the earth from the site in the building of the walls and the internal Berber Tadalaght coating before the white plaster is put on the walls. The rocks had to be broken up using hand tools. We have planted fruit and olive trees on the lower terrace. We have tiled the roof terrace so that we can use the rain water when there is rainfall rather than it being soaked into or washing away a mud roof. We sourced a solar water heating system in Marrakech and transported it using a local minibus. The windows, doors and iron work were all made in Telouet (just 17km away). Our plasterers came from another mountain village 2 hours walk away and our tiles were made in Marrakech but fitted by tilers from the village. We used traditional tadalaght plaster in the bathrooms and en ensuites. We have used mosaic sinks in some rooms hand made in Morocco. As far as we could everything has been hand made and by as local a provider as possible.

We have notices in every toilet and shower detailing our water saving policy. We regularly work with villagers and village association to reduce , reuse and recycle waste. It is a long process as the main problem is that the type of waste has changed but the villagers are treating plastics, metal and paper, shoes etc. in the same way they have disposed of food waste for centuries when it was being eaten by the local dogs and cats, sheep, goats and chickens. We do regular clean ups with the villagers and volunteers, we separate the waste for recycling and recyclables are taken away every couple of weeks by a van who comes up to purchase the recyclable waste. The mosque is also on board in re-educating the villagers on a regular basis which compliments our program regarding waste disposal very well.

Community

In May 2012 we won the Trophee du Tourisme Responsable from the Ministry of Tourism in Morocco for our project work in the villages in partnership with Exodus Travel and Baraka Community Partnerships.

We are currently replacing 2km of earth irrigation channels with permanent structures to prevent waste of water. Many villagers have had medical investigations, operations and treatments they could otherwise not afford by us building relationships with clinics in cities and paying for operations funded by medical fund from Exodus volunteers and the family whatever they can afford.

We employ local people to help us with all aspects of the kasbah from the clearing of the site, the building, the plastering, the tiling, the terrace building, the woodwork, the ironwork, guest liaison, Berber music, cleaning the kasbah. We distribute donations of clothes, shoes, toys,medical kits etc.

We provide emergency first aid as the closest medical clinic is in Telouet 16km away and the Dr is often not there. We have dealt with serious burns, cuts, abscesses, axe injuries,injuries from mule kicks, split lips, bumps and bruises and so on. We are also often approached for problems relating to animal welfare. Dealt with injured mules, injured goats, sheep, injured dogs and cats and so on.

We use local muletiers, the local shop and local souk so spreading the benefit of tourism further afield.

We encourage guests to visit local homes and have tea and cake, leaving a donation for the woman of the house.

We encourage guests to purchase locally made earrings, necklaces, bracelets and carpets providing an income for most often single or widowed mothers who are otherwise wholly dependent on the generosity and whims of male relatives. (items subject to availability). Guests can also purchase food parcel items at the local shop and take them to the poorest families.

We encourage guests to take walks with locals around the villages and the valley and for treks and walks further afield encouraging guests to take mules and local guides.

We recommend that guests visit restaurants in Telouet before coming up to Tighza as there are no such facilities in the village. We use several 4 x 4 drivers and local taxis. We recommend guests arrive using the Tichka Express bus from Marrakech which is driven by one of the villagers, those arriving by hire car leave 25dh per night which we pay to the guardian in the at Animeter who stays with cars left down there. We encourage guests to use local taxis if they plan to visit Ouarazate after Tighza.

We work with Exodus and Baraka Community Partnerships in all our project related work in the villages. We have improved 2 local schools with painting interior of classrooms, painting murals, painting desks and chairs, fitting new windows, replacing doors, providing weaving looms for carpet making, we have run day long medical clinics. Had several optical clinics and medical clinics visit the village. In 2103 we have secured visiting medical clinics with specialist Drs and nurses, scanners and other testing equipment to provide medical advice and testing to 11 villages in our region. Many villagers have had operations, scans, treatments, dental treatment , eye surgery and glasses thanks to these projects which we manage at a local level. Ijja a 16 year old girl had surgery to correct a severely deformed ankle and had a metal frame fitted to her leg. We built a water tower in 2009 which the villagers contributed towards, built a wall around the school in conjunction with the village, fitted iron gates to the school wall, replaced an repaired joints and water pipes. In Autumn 2012 the village hamam opened. Most homes do not have their own shower or bathing facilities they wash using 2 bowls of water, 1 hot and 1 cold so the hamam aimed to provide a traditional bathing facility with social and economic benefits to the villages. It is also sustainable providing local employment for villagers.

We distribute clothes, shoes, toys, vitamins, medical kits and so on all of these are possible thanks to our work with the two charities. We have also been able to repair and improve the homes of many families and elderly people who have neither the funds or the ability to do the work themselves.

Reviews of High Atlas Mountains riad, Morocco

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was gorgeous to be in the Atlas Mountains and witness daily life in the area.
Staying in Riad gave us the opportunity to meet local residents and to understand the customs of the Berber people. It was amazing to see all
the men going up a nearby hill to pray, marking the end of Ramadan. The food
was real Moroccan home cooking and full board was available.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


At times, the roads can be difficult but if you take your time, it's fine. We hired
an SUV. Public transport is available .

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


As we stayed in accommodation owned by a local person, we feel that this
benifited local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was very enjoyable and different. You very much felt that you were
witnessing a way of life which was struggling to preserve itself. They need
support from tourism to sustain their livelihoods but not to corrode tradition.

Popular similar holidays

Atlas Mountains accommodation nr Imlil, Morocco

Atlas Mountains accommodation nr Imlil, Morocco

Berber guesthouse in the mountains

From 30 - 40 per person per night

Atlas Mountains luxury trekking accommodation, Azzaden Valley

Atlas Mountains luxury trekking accommodation, Azzaden Valley

High Atlas Trekking Lodge in the beautiful Azzaden Valley

From 200 per room per night

Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains

Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains

Peace and quiet only 40 miles from Marrakech

From 70 - 225 per person per night

Atlas Mountains homestay accommodation, Morocco

Atlas Mountains homestay accommodation, Morocco

Homestays in beautiful valley in High Atlas Mountains

From Dirham100 - Dirham300 per person per night incl breakfast

Convert currencies