The Valley of the Draa Posted December 19, 2018

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The Valley of the Draa extends from Ouarzazate to Mhamid. The river winds its way along the rocks and pulls a green stripe of 200 km through the countryside. In Mhamid the Drâa dies out in the desert. Previously this river ran until the Atlantic Ocean. The valley itself is a sequence of palm gardens, fields and old ksour, built in hardened clay. This valley is also called the “Valley of the 1000 kasbah”. Across the valley oleanders, palm trees and acacias are mixed with the ochre color of the earth. It is a beautiful landscape that is best visited at different times of day, especially at sunrise and sunset when the colors of the river and the surrounding mountains are at their best. Along the road children of the region sell fresh dates. The women are carrying straw and wood on the head or back. The many donkeys loaded with all sorts of goods are walking along the road. The valley has a mixed population originally consisted of Jews and Haratin. Later Arab tribes settled here. The different traditions and many aspects still testify the mixed origin of the population. Each group have managed to preserve its own traditions. It is worth visiting the Kasbah of Tamoungalt, five kilometers from Agdz. This Kasbah is particular due to the decoration and the construction of the buildings. Another beautiful view on a ksour is just before Zagora where a parking space is foreseen.

Zagora, Valley of the Draa

THE VALLEY OF THE DRAAZagora is the capital of the province of Zagora. All administrative services are located here. At the foot of the Jbel Zagora lie the ruins of an Almoravid’s castle. From the Jbel Zagora, you can enjoy a magnificent panorama on the Draa Valley with its palm oases, the desert with its rock and the characteristic silhouette of Jbel Sarhro. A cheerful signpost in the center of the city indicates that Timbuktu is 52 days away, at least by camel. Here is the gateway to the desert, where some kilometers away the sand dunes will start and the river Drâa will die. On the way, you can still encounter camel caravans who still navigate on the stars that shine bright in the desert. Even if you never sink to your knees in the sand of the dunes, your first sunset in Zagora proves that there is still mysticism.

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