Zagora is at the edge of the desert, south of Morocco. It is the startpoint for the trips to Mhamid or Chegaga in the desert. The town is full of beautiful casbahs made from natural clay. In summer it is very hot, people sleep on the roof of their houses at night. The stars have never been closer than here – it seemed like the sky was at my arm’s length. As everywhere in the northern Africa, hospitality is a second nature here and being only one of a few foreigners in Zagora I was treated like a queen.
I passed the beautiful Draa valley on my to Zagora. The bus drive from Marrakesh is around 8 h. A very curly road, as we were crossing a lot of mountains.
I met the grandpa in a date garden. Together with his granddaughter and his wife they were collecting grass for the goats. They invited me to have some tea at their house, as the midday was approaching and the sun was eating us alive. The people in the desert are so kind and friendly, they didn’t stop offering things, I felt like a spoiled child.
Casbahs are beautiful, like real palaces from fairy tales. They hardly have air conditioning in the desert, but these building are very cool and fresh on the inside. What is the secret? Maybe in the nature of the material.
While drinking tea with my hosts, they received a group of people who entered their house with a lot of traditional music instruments and started to sing. I was told that Ramadan was in the doorsteps and these people were visiting every house in the town, blessing everyone with warm words. The grandpa offered them tea and sweet dates. He looked very happy when they came.
The little girl wanted to speak with me, but she did not know any French, needless to say English. She skillfully made her head turban and showed me how to do mine – an amazing thing to hide from the cruel sun. They speak Amazigh here. It is not Arabic, is it a local language which is still alive in the Atlas mountains and in the Sahara desert. Despite the Arab assimilation there are many areas in Morocco where they speak Amazigh widely. Recently the King acknowledged the language and gave it the official status. So in Morocco they are at least fluent in three languages: Amazigh, Arabic and French! Wow, neh?
Camels look different in every country! This one was so different from the ones I saw before!
Zagora is a peaceful town with a traditional lifestyle. I didn’t see anyone willing to change their way and people were happy living as they knew. There are not so many tourist here, which was the best part.