Côté sud

Côté sud

Virages et déclivité.

Tizi n'test

Tizi n'test

Une route vertigineuse depuis la vallée du Souss.

Au sommet

Au sommet

Un café sommaire.

Depuis le sommet du tizi n'Test

Depuis le sommet du tizi n'Test

L'Atlas majestueux.

Chemin faisant

Chemin faisant

Village berbère en pisé, en contrebas.

Granit rose Tafraout
Granit rose Tafraout

From Souss to Marrakech by the tizi n'Test

This is "the" excursion! Going to the south of Morocco and not crossing the tizi n'Test is giving up an unforgettable must. It's like missing out on a tagine or not tasting the Friday couscous ... This magnificent and epic course at the foot of the Toubkal can be done either from Marrakech to the Jardin aux Etoiles, or from our riad towards the Ocher City.

As soon as you have to drive nearly six hours on the road , you should set aside a day, which will be filled with countless discoveries for those who know how to see and appreciate ...

This crossing is fascinating in all seasons, except in winter when it is better to avoid ice, which has already caused too many accidents. Some speak of a Dantesque journey and many Moroccans almost assimilate it to the kingdom of the Devil, so that they ... have never taken it! The route certainly includes many bends. But it is always secure, especially by low walls.

Haute Vallée du Souss
Haute Vallée du Souss

Magnifique, particulièrement en hiver, lorsque les plus hauts sommets sont encore enneigés. Le Tinergouet (à gauche) culmine à un peu plus de 3'500 mètres.

Le Tinergouet
Le Tinergouet

Vu de l'Anti-Atlas (photo Martine Hervé )

Un riad qui date du Protectorat
Un riad qui date du Protectorat

Le riad Hida se situe dans la partie sud du bourg d'Ouled Berhil

Riad Hida à Ouled Berhil
Riad Hida à Ouled Berhil

Un jardin plus que centenaire

Paons du riad Hida
Paons du riad Hida

A la tombée de la nuit, ils s'approchent pour sauter de cette construction à leurs nids, qui se trouvent sur des arbres situés en face.

Lauriers roses
Lauriers roses

Dans le jardin du Riad Hida

From your riad in Ouled Berhil

If you start from the Souss valley - the direction of the journey that offers the strongest sensations - you have to go up to Ouled Berhil. In this locality, if you have the time, a stop at the riad Hida , with its old-fashioned charm and founded in the 19th century by the pasha of the same name.

You will admire the Arab-Andalusian garden, the vegetation of which was installed under the Protectorate, so that we can see all the advantage of the passage of time. You will also come face to face with the peacocks of the house, which have multiplied ... quite naturally.

Parmi les arganiers
Parmi les arganiers

Paysage du haut de la Vallée du Souss

Village berbère
Village berbère

Perdu sur les contreforts du tizi n'Test.

Pins au premier plan et le Toubkal
Pins au premier plan et le Toubkal

Contrastes en montant le tizi n'Test

Le Toubkal, sommet de l'Atlas
Le Toubkal, sommet de l'Atlas

Ce géant d'Afrique du Nord (4'167 mètres) se situe immédiatement à l'est du tizi n'Test. Mais l'aperçoit partiellement depuis la route (photo Anderegg).

Mosquée de Tinmel
Mosquée de Tinmel

Au soleil couchant

Kasbah Tamadot à Asni
Kasbah Tamadot à Asni

Lieu mythique créé par Richard Branson, patron de Virgin.

Vertiginous ascent of the tizi n'Test, then slow descent to Marrakech

The tizi n'Test climbs fairly quickly first among the argan trees, then on the hillside. The pines frequently line the road, in the places most exposed to the heat. The road winds near the Toubkal massif, which can be seen very partially, but from different angles and on countless occasions. Like a companion who watches over your journey ... Watch out for the road! Bends can be tight and crossings in some places difficult. You have to be careful.

The valleys which are scattered all along the tizi n'Test are far from being depopulated. On the contrary, we can see, often below, Amazigh villages that have retained all their authenticity. The adobe dwellings practically blend in with nature. Well-fed streams abound.

At nearly 2,100 meters above sea level

The top of the pass is at 2,092 meters. We enjoy a spectacular view, south side, from the belvedere of the emblematic café which dominates the ... vertiginous slope.

The road descends more slowly on the Marrakech side and turns out to be much longer than on the Souss side. Along the way, we come across some decent hostels. However, the friendly appellation Au Sanglier qui fume should not be used. The place deserves to be refreshed to say the least ... Further on, La Bergerie with its Berber-Provençal style is apparently worth a stop. At the next inn-restaurant, L'Oliveraie de Marigha , on the right, the lunch menu will allow you to eat pleasantly by the pool, at a reasonable price. But leave our riad early enough!

Tinmel and Asni Mosque

One of the main curiosities of the route is the Tinmel Mosque, which dates from the 12th century. Recently restored, depending on the donations made, it represents one of the most significant religious sites in Morocco. Spiritual home of the founder of the Almohad dynasty, Ibn Toumert , it was considered a holy place for centuries. Plundered, she saw her role gradually fade away. Unlike other mosques in Morocco, that of Tinmel can be visited by non-Muslim visitors, as long as it does not host a religious ceremony.

We soon arrive at Asni, still located at an altitude of 1'150m. This beautiful Berber village is located in the center of a magnificent circus. It is from here that the expeditions leave to climb the Toubkal, via Imlil. The founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, had the Kasbah Tamadot built there, a sophisticated and luxury hotel which constitutes the Moroccan retreat of its creator.

We still crossed the gorges of Moulay Brahim. Turning our backs on Toubkal, we then leave the High Atlas massif, to reach Marrakech , at the end of a busy day, rich in visual emotions.

 
Allow nearly six hours to drive from the Jardin aux Etoiles to Marrakech