Kasba Ait Ouzza, en Boumalne Dadès.
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THE ROUTE OF THE THOUSAND KASBAHS

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2nd step: from Skoura to the Dadès valley

The national road runs between Skoura and Quelat Mgouna by a desert country, with sparse villages and Kasbahs. The only intermediate point where fifteen of them are concentrated is Imassine, a small oasis full of all kinds of fruit trees, except the palms, that we won't find from here to Tinghir.

Map from Skoura to Quelat Mgouna

Some kilometers before reaching Quelat Mgouna, we can see across the river the ruins of the fortress that gave its name to this town and, near them, the Kasbah Ait Fadil (31º 13,871’ N - 6º 08,508’ W), striking and very well conserved.

The high Mgoun valley or "Rose valley"

Mgoun valley map

In the center of Quelat Mgouna we take a paved road to the left. Son we discover the ruins of the Ksar Mirna, in the middle of the fields (31º 15,378’ N - 6º 07,930’ W), and a little beyond the amazing Kasbah of Mirna or Tighremt n'Oufella n'Mirna on a rock (31º 15,549’ N - 6º 82,626’ W).

Ksar Mirna.
Ksar Mirna
Kasbah Mirna
Kasbah Mirna

Then, this secondary road goes up the Mgoun valley, also known as "Rose Valley", through numerous villages, as Azrou and Tourbist. From Azrou, a track on the left allows the access to Tazrout, where two very tall Kasbahs rise.

Kasbah in Bou Taghrar.

In Bou Taghrar stands, among others, the Kasbah Ait Oumergden (31º 23,457’ N - 6º 07,937’ W), impressive in its proportions and very rich in decoration. You can visit it (10 DH).

Further, a track that emerges on the right, not good for small cars, goes to Imi n'Ouaka, that has a large number of Kasbahs in a wonderful landscape.

Imi n'Ouaka, Mgoun valley
Imi n'Ouaka

In Alemdoun, another track in the right side goes to Amajgag and from there a mountain dirt road continues through Imeskar and a three thousand meters pass to the high Mgoun valley.

Soon after, a last track on the left side allows us to enter in Rbat, where we'll admire the old Kasbah of the family Oumergdal, open to visit (31º 24,868’ N - 6º 12,693’ W). As for the paved road, it finishes in Ait Toumert, after passing by the Ait Lala Kasbah, in Ait Khalifa.

Between Quelat Mgouna and Boumaln Dadès, the road always runs along the valley, where fields, population and the Kasbahs are concentrated.
The first one we must mention is El Goumt Kasbah (31º 17,444' N - 6º 02,578' W), a set of two buildings that belonged to El Glaoui family, then moving to the State hands. Unfortunately, it remains closed to the public and it gradually degrades unless the competent authorities make any effort to avoid it, despite reports they have since 1975 about its chances of tourist exploitation.

Map between Quelat Mgouna and Boumalne Dadès.

A little beyond Souk Khemis (the thursday market), we find at right the Kasbah Ait Kassi (31º 18,695’ N - 6º 01,460’ W), announced as "guesthouse and berber art museum".
Built in several phases between 1920 and 1950, it's worthy of a visit because it is very well preserved and it contains traditional objects, including an interesting collection of Berber jewelry.
This happy initiative of its owners contrasts with the indifference of the State for El Goumt one.

Kasbah Ait Kassi. Museum in Kasbah Ait Kassi

After, in Agafai, we see the nice Kasbah of El Haj Moha Ou Abdessalam (31º 20,240 N - 6º 00,495’W). It was build in the beginning of the twentieth century; it has an outsider gallery with arches and many decoration in walls and towers. Now it's unfortunately abandoned, but it has not yet begun to fall.

In Ait Bou Allal, on the contrary, the Kasbah of El Haj Moha ou Brahim (31º 21,984’ N - 5º 59,793’ W), is still inhabited and well preserved, although much less picturesque than the previous. Other Kasbahs on this step are a little far from the road, none of them being specially interesting.

Kasbah Ait Ouzza in Boumalne Dadès

In Boumalne Dadès, we find the ruins of the old Ksar Aït Idir and, near them, the Kasbah Ait Ouzza, one of the tallest in the region, with 18 meters.

It is in good condition because it's still inhabited and, in principle , we will just admire its image from outside.


The high Dadès valley

Dadès map.

From the center of Boumalne emerges a track practicable with any vehicle, which traces the Dadès valley by the left bank of the river, to Slilo. There stands the Kasbah of Caïd Mimoun (31º 23,356' N - 5º 59,144' W), that has five floors and is on sale.
To the rest of the villages in the valley you can arrive by a well-paved road that goes up to Msemrir by a beautiful mountain landscape with canyons, gorges and curious formations of conglomerate.

Kasbah Mohadach in Ait Moutad, Dadès.

The first Kasbah in this route is placed opposite the village of Ighrem Melloul, in Ait Moutad (31º 24,804' N - 6º 00,153' W). It was built in 1939 by Mohadach Ou El Haj, who was in this moment the Khalifa of El Glaoui in this area. It's the only in all the southern Morocco that has five corner towers instead of the usual four ones and this is probably due to the need to adapt to the ground, because it was built on the edge of a cliff. It is open for public visitation by paying an entrance and its interior surprise by the urban influence, with a large central courtyard and some arcades covered by carved plaster. From the terrace you have a panoramic view over the valley.

In Ait Larbi are concentrated three Kasbahs from late nineteenth century, with very rich ornamentation. Its landscape increases further its artistic value, offering one of the most spectacular pictures of the entire region. The Aït Khoya Ali one (31º 27,445’ N - 6º 58,299’ W) is open to visitors.

Kasbahs in Ait Larbi.

We found the next Kasbah, very simple, in Ait Idir. Then we go into the Dadès gorges and, when the valley widen again, we see at left the Kasbah of Imdiazen, neatly decorated and very well preserved. It can only be seen from outside, because its owners do not live there or nearby.

Berber girls

There is also a Kasbah in Ait Amer and two small ones in Tighadouine, a beautiful village that climbs the mountain side. From this point, the architectural interest of the valley greatly reduced, to Msemrir. In this town are the ruins of Ighrem Akedim and a small Kasbah on sale.


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© Roger Mimó

Step 1. Steps list Step 3.

Biografía de Roger Mimó What is a Kasbah? To stay in a Kasbah. Comprarse una kasba. Libros de Roger Mimó.
Circuitos. Montañas de Marruecos. Inventaire des kasbahs Tinghir and the Todra valley El viaje de Alí Bey.