Nestled in the gorgeous Ameln Valley, the village of Tafraoute is surrounded on all sides by red-granite mountains. Despite its unassuming appearance, the area is quite prosperous because of the hard-earned cash sent home by relatives working in the big cities or abroad. It is a pleasant and relaxed base for exploring the region.
The foothills of the Anti-Atlas mountains
At 1200 metres in altitude, in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas, Tafraout (the glacial valley), owes its name to the vertiginous panoramas open onto a valley shaped like a bowl. Overlooking the fertile gorges brimming with date tress, almonds trees and argan trees, Tafraout is surrounded by the pink granite of the mountain. At sunset, the incandescent peaks reflect these shades offering a stunning show.
Visit Tafraout and discover the pleasures of its precious oils and especially, its famous almond and prune tagine! This old commercial junction provides the infrastructure for travellers to discover the many picturesque villages of the surrounding area. Every day harkens a new walk, on the flanks of rocky slopes, or in the valley’s verdant palm groves.
Excursions around Tafraout
- The Ammeln Valley, at the feet of Jebel Lkest, is home to most of the region’s valleys. Along waterfalls and rapids, you’ll discover magnificent wild gardens where fig trees, olive trees, date trees, and almond trees grow! In the spring, when the valley is a sheet of flowers, the landscape is absolutely magnificent.
At the mouth of the valley, visit the village of Oumesnat to familiarize yourself with Berber artistry. Walking through alleyways lined with surprising homes, stop by the Ammeln museum of popular art. You can reach the village for the Agadir roud north of Tafraout.
On the Aït Baha road, in the direction of Agadir, you’ll discover the Tizrgane kasbah, a grandiose construction perched atop an isolated outcrop. In the village streets you can admire the subtleties of Berber architecture.
- On the road to Tiznit, stop and admire the blue boulders at the village of Agard Oudad, known also for its immense block of tilted red stone nicknamed Napoleon’s hat. Not far from here, a trail will lead you to Aoumerkt allowing you to discover the works of Jean Vérame “painter of the desert”. A natural art exhibit that should not be missed under any circumstance by visitors to Tafraout!
- Not far from here, on the road to Tassrit, go off exploring the gorges of Aït Mansour. If you have a car, you’ll cross 25 km full of fantastic views over Jebel Lkest before reaching a stunning palm grove at the foot of some cliffs. This is where you will set off for a beautiful hike bringing you to the little villages of the region, some of which boast very interesting rock carvings.
Far from the sea and sheltered by its steep mountain slopes, the Anti-Atlas region experiences hot dry summers and chilly winters. In February, the valley and its plateaus are in bloom transforming the landscape into a flowery wonderland! The best time to visit is from September to May as this is when the conditions are best for hiking around Tafraout.
Tafraout is about 150 km south-east of Agadir, about a hundred km south of Taroudant and east of Tiznit. If you are not renting a car, you can access the region by a shared taxi or bus for a three to four hour drive from Agadir a two to three hour drive from Tiznit or an eight hour drive from Marrakech.
Tafraout (Arabic: تافراوت, Shilha Berber languages: ⵜⴰⴼⵔⴰⵡⵜ) is a town in Tiznit Province, Souss-Massa region, Morocco, in the central part of the Anti-Atlas mountains. It had a population of 4,931 at the 2004 census.
Name and etymology
The basic meaning of the Shilha feminine noun tafrawt is “basin or cistern in which water drawn from a well is poured”, with a derived meaning “valley”. The centre of the town of Tafraout is actually situated in a small valley, at the foot of Djebel Lekest, a pink granite mountain formed by erosion.A male inhabitant is called in Shilha “u Tfrawt“, (plural “ayt Tfrawt“); a female inhabitant is “ult Tfrawt“, (plural “ist Tfrawt“).