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Discovering Morocco.. | Mount Toubkal trek | Camel Ride in Marrakech | Day 2

camel riding in Marrakech

I’ll start the blog with a quote that best describes this unbelievable experience. “If you want something you’ve never had You must be willing to do something you’ve never done” by Thomas Jefferson. This experience was all about challenging myself, testing my limits and facing my fears, but most importantly, learning the art of trusting the flow of life.

I haven’t done anything quite like this before. So it was a first for me.

The 2nd day had us drive 1 hour south of Marrakech to a small town called Imlil. Located in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, it is a famous tourist destination where the trekking trail to the highest peak of the Atlas Mountains known as Mount Toubkal originates.

morocco high atlas mountains toubkal
mount toubkal morocco

All the way from Marrakech to Mount Toubkal our guide Ibrahim showed us great places for taking photos. This is just one of them.

morocco argan oil cooperatives
Argan Oil Cooperative in Asni

On our way to the famous Mount Toubkal, we stopped at an Argan oil Cooperative located in the town of Asni. For those who don’t know, Argan oil Cooperatives produce high-quality hand-processed products made of biological Argan oil. It is an initiative to support Berber women and provide them with a good income, health care, literacy classes and a valued role in the local community. There are a good many such cooperatives spread around the Atlas region.

argan oil products morocco

I don’t quite remember the name of the cooperative we had been to, but it was a very interesting experience. Besides indulging in a shopping spree and buying some healthy and organic skincare products and souvenirs for the family and friends, I had a chance to taste the different oils produced by the lovely women working there, and even try to go through the production steps myself.

argan oil cooperative

How is Argan oil made in Morocco?

The process of producing Argan oil is very complex. Argan trees grow only in the south-west of Morocco. When Argan fruits ripen (this happens from May to July), they are hand-picked from the ground and the trees, and are left to dry. The first step is to remove the kernel from the nutshell. The nutshell can then be used as food for livestock or fuel for cooking. You can make two types of Argan oil – for cosmetic use and for cooking. For cosmetic use, the kernels are cold pressed using a grindstone without being roasted. The paste is then kneaded by hand to extract the oil. The dry paste is then used to produce black soap which is very good for exfoliation and hammam. For cooking, the kernels must be roasted first. Those who wonder about the taste, it tastes very bitter.

berber villages atlas mountains
Berber villages in Atlas Mountains

Following the argan oil cooperative, we had a closer look at the Berbers way of life in the High Atlas Mountains.

morocco berber food tagine
Tagine with Vegetables

Ibrahim brought us to his village Ait Souka where we met his family and enjoyed a tasty lunch. I have already said it in a previous post, Moroccan food is delicious.

He told us the history of Berbers (they call themselves Amazighen) in the High Atlas Mountains. But this is something I’ll write about in one of the following posts.

mount toubkal trek
Mount Toubkal trek
atlas mountain waterfall

After lunch, we started the trek up the Mount Toubkal, yet we stopped at the Imlil Cascades for some fresh orange juice. I must say I haven’t seen anything more beautiful in my life.

It was getting late, and we needed to be on time for the camel ride in Marrakech. That was another 1-hour ride back to Marrakech.

camel riding marrakech
Camel riding in Marrakech

Let me tell you this, riding a camel into the sunset at the outskirts of the Red City is pure magic.

camel riding marrakech

How to ride a camel?

Camel riding, however, is nothing like riding a horse. First, you need to approach it slowly from the side, straddle your legs to mount the camel while it is still sitting on the ground and hold the saddle as it starts to stand up. You will need to lean backwards as it stands up first on its back legs and then lean a bit forward as it gets up on its front legs too. A camel’s walk is very different from that of a horse. Be prepared for the side-to-side gait and keep your balance while riding the camel by holding firmly onto the saddle. Other than that, listen close to the guide. They know their camels best. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

riding camels in marrakech

The day ended with a tasty dinner in Jamaa el Fna square in Marrakech. We had fun and stayed until late that night. I can’t imagine a better end of the day in Morocco!

More about the first day in Marrakech.



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