Secret Atlas: Great Excursion
Do not look for this excursion in a guidebook. The track to take, which runs along the mountain in a sometimes vertiginous way, is recent and it is not paved. There is a tenuous trace of I milmaiss on ViaMichelin and recently an indication of the ultimate goal of this formidable discovery on Google Maps. The American software specifies that we arrive in 2 hours 20 in the magical Berber city of Amassa. A good day is necessary to achieve this unforgettable journey.
This dive into the Secret Atlas is part of the will for responsible development of this remote region of the Kingdom. Let's take a closer look.
From your riad to Imilmaiss
Sérénité des lieux
D'abord une route nationale
Des vues vertigineuses. En face, la piste du retour
Accroché à la montagne
Non, ce n'est pas une rizière !
Un commerce assez restreint
Le directeur de l'Office de mise en valeur agricole d'Ouled Teima et le président de la commune
You have to leave early in the morning to make the most of this excursion and not have to hurry. We go to a country where time does not have the same value. A 4x4 vehicle is essential. The track includes countless bends and it is better to be perfectly in control of your vehicle, even if the vans you meet can be counted ... on the fingers of one hand.
Equip yourself with good shoes (high sneakers are enough) and especially a backpack including water and provisions. In the Secret Atlas, restaurants are non-existent, at least for now. There remains the encounter with the inhabitant and the pleasures of the unforeseen to be provoked.
Watch out for bends
We first take the old road to Marrakech, which we leave just before the artificial lake of Abdelmoumen . Sand quickly takes over from bitumen. Recently opened on the southern side of the mountain, the track nevertheless allows two vehicles to pass each other. But beware of the bends, because the precipice is vertiginous!
The landscape is superb and never monotonous. Fortunately, because it scrolls for several tens of kilometers! Arrival at Imilmaiss takes place in the morning, after two to three hours of driving, depending on your pace and the frequency of your stops.
Do not be surprised that some of these inhabitants - Berbers in their overwhelming majority - look at you a little askance, sometimes with suspicion. They are not used to foreign visitors. Behave normally, without provocation, and everything will be fine. Admire the village of mud houses (raw earth) which spans a large part of the slope, offering a harmonious spectacle between habitat and nature. Here nothing has changed for centuries. Only electricity and television antennas bear witness to a link with modernity.
As there are no geographic landmarks, know that Imilmaiss is at the height of the tizi n'Test which, further east, connects the Souss Valley to Marrakech . We are on the borders of the Province of Taroudant.
Une piste à flanc de coteau, soutenue par des murs de pierre
A près de 2000 m d'altitude
Ce sont les arbres les plus fréquents de la région
Il est juché sur un sommet, d'où la vue dont on y jouit
Joyau de l'architecture traditionnelle berbère
Elle cache la banque d'Amassa !
La banque fonctionne toujours ! Les casiers sont remplis et consciencieusement fermés
Passage en bois entre deux maisons
Elles deviendront bientôt un vaste verger de pommes Golden rouges
From Imilmaiss to Amassa
A track climbs from Imilmaiss towards Amassa, before descending on a wadi and climbing again. It takes a good hour to reach this reward that is Amassa, perched on a rocky peak.
An agadir in the heart of the village
This village is a jewel, whose heart is an agadir, that is to say a Berber bank of stone and adobe. Its characteristic? It is still in activity; the huts are hermetically sealed and watched by a careful guard. This agadir embedded in the small town also has the characteristic of being almost round, while those of the Souss Valley, like Imchguiguiln , are made up of two parallel walls.
Poverty and emigration
The extreme beauty of the place does not however nourish her man. Poverty is rampant. Here as in Imilmaiss, young people migrate to the Souss Valley. To look for work, they find themselves in a locality near Taroudant, Ait Aiaaza, which does not have an ounce of the beauty of their village of origin.
Apples and tourism
To reverse the trend, the director of the Ouled Teima Agricultural Development Office launched the idea of developing apple cultivation and opening up the Secret Atlas to tourism. Apple trees will be planted in the Golden Red variety, which sells better in Morocco than Golden Yellow. Terraced orchards await them, at the edge of a wadi protected by two mountain sections.
The track will be paved, which should encourage the arrival of visitors eager to experience true authenticity. An inn is also being considered. It would of course be fitted out according to the rules of the ancestral construction of the Berbers.
The Moroccan Green Plan is requested to finance the operation. Let us hope that this will materialize. It would lead to responsible development of this region, whose authenticity is the greatest treasure.
En train de battre le blé
Threshing wheat like in olden days
It is worth walking through the alleys of Amassa. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to witness the threshing of wheat by half a dozen donkeys, as we show above. Listen, look, there is always something unexpected happening in Amassa.
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
At 2:15 am from the Jardin aux Etoiles. Be careful on the track, very steep!
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Berber encounters along the way
Ce jeune Berbère s'en retourne chez lui, à dos d'âne. L'animal est magnifique
Ce vieux monsieur vient d'offrir le thé à des passants
Photographiés avec l'accord de la mère
Berbère, bien sûr !
Joyeux et accueillants
Couleurs partout !
Groupe d'aimables Berbères qui se font un plaisir de tailler une bavette