Fodor's Expert Review Palm Groves of Aït Mansour

Tafraoute Scenic Drive

The palm groves of the Aït Mansour Gorge southeast of Tafraoute deserve a full day's excursion, although you could take the road as a scenic (and longer) route to Tiznit.

About 2 km (1 mile) southwest out of town, you'll see the so-called Napoleon's hat of massive boulders on your right. Occasionally, you'll see foreign climbers here, with their incongruously high-tech rock-climbing gear. Continue past the pretty village of Aguerd Oudad. When the road forks, the right one going to the Painted Rocks, take the left branch. A winding paved road takes you higher into the Anti-Atlas Mountains. The views are spectacular and the scenery changes as the road rises and then descends again, crossing a riverbed, which—even when dry—betrays the presence of underground water by the cactus and oleander growing in them. Twenty kilometers (12 miles) out of Tafraoute, turn right toward Aït Mansour.

After another 14 km (9 miles) of winding descent, you reach the palm groves. Suddenly,... READ MORE

The palm groves of the Aït Mansour Gorge southeast of Tafraoute deserve a full day's excursion, although you could take the road as a scenic (and longer) route to Tiznit.

About 2 km (1 mile) southwest out of town, you'll see the so-called Napoleon's hat of massive boulders on your right. Occasionally, you'll see foreign climbers here, with their incongruously high-tech rock-climbing gear. Continue past the pretty village of Aguerd Oudad. When the road forks, the right one going to the Painted Rocks, take the left branch. A winding paved road takes you higher into the Anti-Atlas Mountains. The views are spectacular and the scenery changes as the road rises and then descends again, crossing a riverbed, which—even when dry—betrays the presence of underground water by the cactus and oleander growing in them. Twenty kilometers (12 miles) out of Tafraoute, turn right toward Aït Mansour.

After another 14 km (9 miles) of winding descent, you reach the palm groves. Suddenly, water, shade, and greenery are abundant, and you may find an open shop happy to serve you a sweet mint tea or soda. The lone goatherds of the peaks are replaced here by shrouded women, either transporting on their backs palm-frond baskets of dates supported by ropes around their foreheads or walking to Timguilcht to visit its important saint's shrine. Continue on the piste to Souk Had Issi, whose busy market is held on Sunday. From there the piste loops back to Tafraoute, or you can take a lower road to connect to Tiznit over the dramatic Col de Kerdous.

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Scenic Drive Canyon

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Tafraoute, Souss-Massa-Drâa  Morocco

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