Imagine a hotel so remote a mule carries your luggage up a mountainside from the nearby “big” town. Welcome to the Kasbah du Toubkal.
Our driver dropped us off at the hotel “office” in a town at the bottom of steep hills in the High Atlas Mountains. The door was carved from local wood and the stones fronting the building are from the mountains that surrounded us. You can’t see my hiking boots, but I’m about to need them.
The tiny main street has vendors that collect supplies from vans, cars, or mules. One vendor stands outside his shop, wearing a djelaba (pronounced without the “d” sound at start of word) over his clothes.
Once we “checked in,” they flagged down a passing donkey (or mule) and loaded up our suitcases (we traveled with bigger bags for the extended vacation and varied climates- no more backpacking as in younger days). A note here about mules and donkeys. In Morocco, they were about the same size, whereas my husband remembers from his grandfather’s farm in Georgia, that the mules there were substantially larger than donkeys.
We followed the backside. . .ahem. . .we followed our luggage up a winding street and continued as it turned into a rocky trail up a hillside.
Eventually we reached the Kasbah du Toubkal clinging to the mountainside. A wide wooden gate was opened and our luggage offloaded. Berber kasbah staff carried it into a courtyard of stones steps amid a tiny oasis of wildflowers and lawn.
The evening we arrived, a cool fog hung over the mountains and draped into the valley.
Our small but comfortable room is beneath the large pot you see on the roof. The very thick mud walls would keep anyone warm or cool no matter the weather.
The kasbah was rebuilt on a caid’s old home site in a joint venture between Europeans and the local Berber village. From the kasbah terrace outside our room, you can see the Berber village over my husband’s shoulder. Note the satellite dishes on the village dwellings. Electricity reaches almost everywhere in Morocco now. I can tell you the most watched programs are the “football” games. Before we arrived in Morocco the state soccer team had been playing poorly. Our driver claimed they were “cats” not the “lions” as they were known. Before we left, they had a big victory and were once again worthy of being called lions.
Stay tuned for the next blog on how to do a picnic “Berber style” in the mountains.