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Sunday, 8 December 2013 12:00 AM

The Observer Sunday 8 December 2013

Travel tips: lose yourself in Morocco - Have an adventure in Morocco's Souss Valley

Joanne O’Connor’s Great Escape Series

Take me there: Souss Valley, Morocco

Why go
With its atmospheric medina and ochre-coloured ramparts, the fortified Berber town of Taroudant – an hour's drive from Agadir – is often called "little Marrakech", although it is more laid-back. Use it as a base for exploring the fertile Souss Valley, where you'll find orange groves and argan trees, wild, empty beaches and the sunniest winter climate in Morocco.

What to do
Haggle for Berber and Tuareg jewellery and crafts in the souks of Taroudant or take a horse-drawn caleche (carriage) tour of the town's ancient walls. Hire a guide for treks into the Western High Atlas or the Jebel Sirwa. Spot flamingos in the coastal lagoons of the Souss-Massa National Park, or hang out with the hippies and surfers at Taghazout beach, north of Agadir – Surf Maroc rents seafront apartments and surf gear.

Where to stay
Palais Oumensour offers riad-style accommodation, tasty Moroccan home-cooked food and plant-filled courtyards in the heart of Taroudant (from £30pp).

Where to eat
La Ferme Joachim is a restaurant 3km outside Taroudant on an organic smallholding run by a French couple. Dishes of home-grown veg and meat grilled in a wood-fired oven are served in a shady garden (restaurant-laferme-joachim.com).

Insider tip
"My favourite excursion is to the Berber villages in the foothills of the High Atlas. You get a real insight into the traditional way of life and the views are spectacular," says Karen Freestone of Naturally Morocco, a tour operator which offers authentic travel experiences in Taroudant, from cookery lessons to visits to a local hammam (naturallymorocco.co.uk).

 

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.

For those with time and a sense of adventure Taroudant is a good base from which to explore further into the region, but in Taroudant itself Naturally Morocco offers the Real Morocco programme - a flexible set of options to understand more about Morocco and its culture.

Joanne’s article - http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/dec/08/morocco-travel-guides-east-london-hip-hotels