We spent 2 nights in a lovely family run Auberge just outside Boumalne Dadès town, which has a wonderful view of the valley and local community garden.
Our local guide took us for a hike in the beautiful Atlas mountains where we met children carrying laundry to their mothers, who were doing their washing in a small river near their home. All the locals use the same washing area so their drinking water is kept clean. The children were very happy to meet us and to receive gifts of oranges & water.
As we continued on we met a young nomad girl cycling along with a couple of donkeys, going to collect her families daily water needs. Herds of goats and sheep were dotted along our path with their herders resting from the heat nearby. The family of the nomad girl we met have a signpost out inviting visitors to call into their ‘cafe’. This nomad family lived in three caves, each with a separate function. One for cooking and eating in, a sleeping and food store area and a separate cave for their animals and birds. Three generations of one family lived in this home all year round with their sheep, goats & hens. We were invited to look around and have tea in their living room where the woman of the house brewed us Berber tea. When we visited the grandparents were the only ones home as their family were off out herding, collecting water and on this particular day making their weekly market trip. Our guide translated that they knew all the local nomad families and would visit each other and marry within the community. Not all the other families stayed in their caves all year round as depending on the positioning of the caves it gets very cold in the winter and also climate change means that some rivers have run dry so in the summer other caves are inhabitable as it’s too far to trek for water.
As it was so peaceful and scenic we paused on our return for my sister to sing, as our guide was keen to hear her after our high praise. As she sung voices rang out across the valley answering her singing in Berber, an almost indescribable experience with the beautiful voices ringing out across the mountain.