Hotspot of the week: Boumalne Dades - The Canyon El Kbir
Boumalne Dades is a town located in what is called ”Le Grand Sud Marocain” south eastern Morocco, in Souss-Massa-Draa region. It’s inhabitants of 11.921 are Chleuh berbers, and their mother tongue is tachelhit. Moroccan Arabic is not widely spoken here, especially not among the elders. Boumalne Dades is not well known for the avarage tourist, or even many moroccans for that matter. The town is the starting point for visiting the breathtaking Dades Gorges, or Dades Canyon.
You might think what the **** am I gonna do in Boumalne, but it is worth an hour or two. The town is located in the heart of the Dades Valley and the Dades river pass right through it. The valley is very fertile, green and paradisiac, but the mountains surrounding it are dry like hell. The contrasts are beautiful! The River seems to give life to the land a few kilometres to the left and right in its close proximity and there grows figs, roses, dates, apples, pears, wheat and much more.
This valley is well known for its Casbahs or tighremt in tamazight. Boumalne lies on a plateau beneath the mountains and has a great view over the river valley and the mountains beyond the valley. There are some hotels, not top notch hotels, but for the one not that needy, they will be sufficient. The restaurants serve traditional moroccan food, and dishes from the valley. The closest international airport is Marrakech Menara, and from Marrakech you can hire your own car (4x4 is recommended) or take the bus. There are guided tours to the valley from Marrakech, but I think it’s best to get out there on your own, so that you are free to do whatever you want, not what the guide wants.
The winters are very cold and sometimes the villages around Boumalne snows in, the roads gets blocked by snow, and people freeze to death. So visit any time but winter. To end this article, all the cool stuff to see are along the road a bit south of the town and north of the town. This is a hotspot to be in, and a place to discover the culture of this amazigh region. All the amazigh tribes don’t have the same folklore and traditional clothing, every tribe is unique.