Discovering Tafraoute and the Ameln Valley

At the heart of the Anti-Atlas lies Tafraoute, a town situated on a beautiful boulder-strewn plain which is perfect for hiking and long walks. Just a few kilometers down the road, the Ameln Valley beckons with towering granite mountains and crumbling villages. Locals are noticeably more conservative here. Women dress in long black veils trimmed with tribal embroidery, their colorfully flamboyant shoes embroidered to indicate marriage status. On several occasions, as we were driving around, older women actually stopped walking along the road and turned their backs to us as we drove by. Wow!

Tafraoute makes a great jumping-off point for several of the Anti-Atlas drives we mentioned in our previous post. Closer to town, we explored the oddly shaped hill known as Napoleon’s Hat and the wacky Painted Rocks done by “artist” Jean Verame, who titles himself “the painter of deserts”. Ha! In the Ameln Valley, don’t miss the Maison Traditionelle located in the quickly decaying village of Oumesnate. The family-run mini-museum preserves a traditional house complete with original furnishings and implements used in daily life. This house accurately recalls what village life was like when I first traveled through the region in ’89. Please visit and encourage locals to maintain their amazing traditional architecture. The same family also runs a guest house if you want to experience daily life in Oumesnate.

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