uring In the shade of the M’Goun, the lord of the place, the water has created an immense garden where the shades of green of the terraced crops mix with the red earth and the bright blue of the sky. In the heart of the Central High Atlas, nestles the valley of Ait Bougmez, the “happy valley” of which the Berbers are the guardians

The Secret Valley

An oasis suspended at 1,800 meters above sea level in the hollow of majestic mountains and under the gaze of M’Goun, the valley of Ait Bougmez conceal long-kept secrets. Enclave of the High Atlas isolated until recently, a tarmac track allows today to enter the valley stretching in a long green ribbon of 35 kilometers irrigated by the seguias, these canals that spread the water of the river to create terraces in checkerboard, real mosaic with bright colors. Some 25 villages of Berber farmers punctuate the landscape, gathered around fortified granaries or tighremts (old fortified houses). Terraced villages on the slopes of the mountain, dominating the fields of wheat, barley and corn. Agriculture, livestock and handicrafts punctuate the life of the villagers. In this altitude valley, time flows slowly.

At the rhythm of the seasons and the harvests, the life of the Berbers flows, immutable. In autumn, with their wooden ploughs, the men plough the fields. In winter, women weave wool blankets, fetch water from the well. Dspring, men dig and maintain the precious irrigation canals. Which in summer will flower fruit trees, fields of barley and wheat: then comes the harvest time for the whole family.

It is the civilization of the essential, the indispensable, the economy. Here, individualism, the superfluous, are unknown. Sobriety of the houses, humility of the men in their gestures, their conversations always brief and effective. Hospitality, smiles in children surprised in their games, in women returning from fields or wells, in men who prepare tea for their guests. The “Happy Valley”, a name that makes sense as an invitation to travel.

valley of ait bougmez
valley of ait bougmez
valley of ait bougmez
valley of ait bougmez

Berber Faces

In Berber, it is the Imazighen, “free men” who live in harmony with nature. Persian, Mede, Canaanite, Indian… , their origin is lost in the meanders of history and the memory of myths. A thousand-year-old society structure: families, villages, clans, tribes and confederations. An ancestral culture: a deep attachment to the land, the importance of community, a sense of the sacred, hospitality. The Berber people perpetuate a heritage inseparable from the identity of Morocco.

berber people

Berber Faces in The valley of ait bougmez

Highlights of the Velley of Ait Bougmez 

  • The rock carvings of Tizi-n-Tirghist (Ait Boulli), witnesses of Saharan prehistory.
  • Sidi Moussa, on top of a hill, collective granary and place of pilgrimage.
  • The souk of Tabant, where the men of the valley converge on Sunday.
  • M’Goun, second summit of Morocco, 4071 meters above sea level.
  • Lake Izourar and its sheepfolds, a place of transhumance for nomadic pastoralists.