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.
Definitely a new hotel experience. Nice views from the rooftop too.
Thanks for checking out the blog post. Definitely a unique place. One I’d go back to.
Not sure I could have made that climb! Great pictures
Sure. There were people who took it very slowly. They’ll even take you up ON a donkey if you need it. We met two 80+ ladies who were having the adventure of their life.
Thanks for all the wonderful pictures so that we could “see” what you were seeing. Sounds like a fantastic trip.
Sandy, hadn’t been reading your blogs, but go back and catch up–wonderful pictures! Thanks,
Thanks, Cindy. I wish I had better talents in photography, but not sure it would matter with how we are always going at a fast pace leaving little time to stop and shoot. Practice can’t hurt though.
Wow, Sandy aren’t y’all the adventuress ones. Not sure this is for me, but the pics are beautiful. The setting reminds me of some those found in old Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney books. The two 80-year-olds put me to shame. Thanks for sharing.
Sitting in a cuddly little library at the kasbah, I had a chance to listen to the two ladies chat about old adventures. Quite a pair. The library (a long narrow nook that could squeeze in may fifteen people) had books, a fire, cushioned benches around the wall, and even up there, internet capability.
Great Pics!!!! We only spent a day in the Atlas Mountains but had an amazing time!!! Did you get to see the natural bridge and the waterfall????
We had another day planned at the water fall, but Morocco was in a drought so said not enough water. One reservoir we stopped at had dropped to desperately low levels. Was the fall beautiful? Do you have pics? Would love to see.
Aww thats a shame because it was so beautiful, if you get to go again I would definitely recommend it. We went to a restaurant right in front of it called cascade which was really nice, and we got a front seat so we ate our lunch in front of a waterfall, was amazing 🙂 Ive got loads of pics and i’m going to put a post up soon so i will let you know when i do 🙂
Please do let me know when you post them. Several of the people we met at the kasbah had been before. I guess it is the type place that draws you back again and again.
Thanks for sharing, Sandy! It’s a long way from the LAPD tour. 🙂 I love your pictures.
I still have to put up those photos sometime soon. Loved the horses.
A truly amazing place! I had the chance to visit the Kasbah myself just over a year ago (http://ormestad.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/16/) . I really recommend everyone to go there if you have the chance!
I checked out the photographs on your blog and love that they are taken in the snow. Definitely a chilly mountain feel.
For sure! Loved the contrasts with the garden covered in snow on our last morning there. Very picturesque 🙂
Kasbah du Toubkal is a magic place. Greate writeup and photos, thanks for helping bring back memories of our stay last June.
I’m glad my memories helped spark yours. Good traveling.