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Friday, 1 November 2013 12:00 AM

British Airways Highlife Magazine November 2013

Curious Winter Breaks: Taroudant, Souss Valley

Joanne O’Connor uncovers this winter’s hottest off-the-radar destinations

Flying Time 3 hrs 45 mins; Transit Time 1 hr 15 mins

Why
The Berber market town of Taroudant is just 40 minutes inland from the holiday resort of Agadir, but it feels like another world.  Tucked into the foothills of the Anti-Atlas mountains, the town offers a low-key alternative to Marrakech. Come in winter to see the saffron harvest in full swing and for the balmiest temperatures in Morocco.

Do
Explore the souks and ancient ramparts on a walking tour. Specialist tour operator Naturally Morocco can organise local experiences such as cookery lessons, lunch with a Berber family or a visit to a hammam (naturallymorocco.co.uk). Weave your way through the surrounding arganeraie forests (the country’s a major producer of argan oil) to the town of Tafraoute, famed for its prehistoric rock paintings and extraordinary desert boulders on the plains of Argad Oudad, many of which have been brightly painted. Or go birdwatching in the lagoons of the Souss-Massa National Park.

Stay
Hotel dar Zitoune is a peaceful and intimate riad-style hotel 3km from Taroudant, with a lovely outdoor pool and gardens shaded by lemon and olive trees.

Eat
Chicken pastille, couscous and homemade orange cake st L’Agence, a friendly little restaurant in Taroudant’s medina.

 

What we at Naturally Morocco add on reading Joanne’s article
The south of Morocco, from Taroudant and leading into the Anti Atlas Mountains and the desert of the south east, is easily accessible by direct flights from the UK into Agadir and the region is far less visited by tourists that the region around Marrakech but fascinating in its own way.

Joanne touches on elements of our Real Morocco programme – a flexible set of cultural experiences and excursions in and around Taroudant, including introduction to the local hammam and cookery lessons at La Maison Anglaise. The programme is available to anyone staying in Taroudant, but the longer the stay the more options there are available. The Real Morocco programme is designed to give guests an insight to Morocco and its culture.

The saffron harvest is typically in mid October to mid November, but the date of the Saffron Festival is determined close to the festival date according to how the weather and harvest have been. Naturally Morocco can offer a tailored trip to focus on saffron – its harvest and cookery.