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Author christravelblog
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 09:12 | Edited by: christravelblog 
Hi Everyone,

As I didn't see any Morocco post yet I open one.
working on a northern itinerary there. As I have a week it's impossible to include the 3-4 sites in the south.

what do you think of this i came up with?

Day 0 arrival Casablanca late
Day 1 Go Mazagan WHS go to Rabat see Rabat WHS
Day 2 Long day to Tetouan WHS via Lixus TWHS
Day 3 Morning more Rabat go to Fez see Fez (worth going to Taza and to Fez?)
Day 4 Day around Fez Volubilis WHS, Moulay TWHS and Meknes WHS (El Gour TWHS small either when go to Fez or back to Rabat)
Day 5 Possible Taza it's 1:40h drive 1 way more? Drive to Casablanca (3h drive without Taza with Taza makes it 6 hour drive)
Day 6 See Casablanca
Day 7 Fly out end morning

Is Taza worth the detour? Otherwise I could drive Fez to Casablanca and see Casablanca that day and fly out on Day 6.
And is 4-5 hours enough for Rabat and same in Fez?

Tnx in advance for experiences!

Author clyde
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 09:42 
I think you'll need more time in Fez (especially if you're not staying in a hotel nearby with parking). I would allow at least 1-2 more days for Fez. It really is on par with Marrakesh, so I would recommend investing more time than just 5 hours. Also do allow extra time for traffic between Fez and Rabat especially when approaching or trying to get out of both cities.

Author christravelblog
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 10:56 
clyde
Ok. I would stay in new Fez in the Marriott I assume they have parking and would take local taxi to the sights.
I will plan at least 1 full day then in Fez.
I guess I can do just a few hours Casablanca and more time in Fez and maybe fly out in afternoon rather as morning.

any idea on Taza? Worth the 1:30 hour drive there, and back again? (would eat up half a day).

Author clyde
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 14:50 
Old Fez is a car free maze but everything is manageable on foot. Ideally you start early till sunset. Getting a bit lost there is part of the fun. Then head towards a higher. Yes I suggest allowing more time for Fez than Casablanca. Didn t visit Taza so wouldn't know.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 18:20 
I think the thing about the medinas is that you need a bit of time to soak up the atmosphere, just diving in to see some sites and going on to the next medina wouldn't be especially rewarding I fear.

Fez, Meknes, Volubalis, Moulay Idriss, Rabat in a single day would be very busy. I guess it could be done, but I think slowing down and perhaps spending a night in Meknes would be more fun, I rather liked the evenings I spent wandering around Meknes.

A full day in Fez would be the bare minimum I would say. It isn't really about sights more just the total atmosphere of the largest city in the world still broadly functioning like it did 600 years ago.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 11 Oct 2021 22:34 
While the Morocco thread is open, does anyone have any more information about the Aire du Dragonnier Ajgal tentative site that may be up for 2022? Has anyone been there, or does anyone know the best way to visit this tentative site?

Author wojtek
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 12 Oct 2021 04:21 
It is absolutely possible to include all Moroccan WHS in one week with a rental car. Motorways are good and there is barely any traffic (except Casablanca/Rabat). For Fez, park outside the old town, stay in one of riads inside and roam a bit in the evening.

Author FredericM
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 12 Oct 2021 16:00 | Edited by: FredericM 
Colvin:
Aire du Dragonnier Ajgal tentative site

I am also very happy with this thread openning as I'm planning a Moroccan trip for February. I'm plannning on covering all WHS and many t-sites in three weeks. I was also very curious about this one. According to the site, it seems that Ian (meltwaterfalls here? still not sure who is who on each site) visited it.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 13 Oct 2021 05:05 
wojtek:
stay in one of riads inside and roam a bit in the evening.

Just a quick note on this from our experince.
This is very enjoyable and enhances the experince if you are male. From our experince it wasn't as comfortable/ welcoming to women in Fez medina after dusk. Staying in a Riad is highly recommended, but in Fez it did feel like we were isolated inside the walls.

We didn't experince this in the other medinas we wandered around in the evening (Marrakesh/ Rabat/ Meknes)

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 13 Oct 2021 05:10 
Colvin:
While the Morocco thread is open, does anyone have any more information about the Aire du Dragonnier Ajgal tentative site that may be up for 2022? Has anyone been there, or does anyone know the best way to visit this tentative site?

I thought I had travelled through it previously, between Marrakesh and Ait Benhadou, but it looks like I had it in the wrong place when I plotted it, I had merely just seen some other cliffs and Argan trees, probably explains why I was so underwhelmed by it.

Author wojtek
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 13 Oct 2021 07:28 
meltwaterfalls:
Just a quick note on this from our experince.
This is very enjoyable and enhances the experince if you are male. From our experince it wasn't as comfortable/ welcoming to women in Fez medina after dusk. Staying in a Riad is highly recommended, but in Fez it did feel like we were isolated inside the walls.

We didn't experince this in the other medinas we wandered around in the evening (Marrakesh/ Rabat/ Meknes)

Our experiences were quite different - I stayed there with my wife and two children and Fez in the evening was particularly memorable. But I agree, for woman alone I wouldn't recommend it.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 13 Oct 2021 11:03 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Aire de Dragonnier Ajgal
Folowing the question by @FredericM regarding this T list site I will add my bit in the hope that it is useful even though I haven't been (though have travelled widely in Morocco across the years). I had a particular interest in it as we had 1 spare day in Agadir a few years ago and I had done some background research in advance. I tried to get a taxi driver to take me to the place but was told that with drive and walk it was too far. This confirmed my prior fears (the general area is around a 3hr drive from Agadir but a round trip across a couple of days would be better) and I accepted it. We had also seen the tree species in question on Tenerife - though the Moroccan version is classified as a separate subspecies it looks much the same!! I might, however, have pursued the matter further if I had known that it was being "fattened up" for nomination!

The process for doing so appears to have been commenced in 2017 when IUCN held a workshop in Rabat titled "Le Patrimoine Mondial de l'UNESCO : quel potentiel pour le Maroc?" which considered the Moroccan T List. The Aire de Dragonnier was one of 4 sites investigated in detail but I haven't been able to find a report with conclusions. The fact that IUCN was involved so early would seem to indicate that it is in favour of the nomination and that it should receive a fair wind and a lot of help to prepare the nomination.

First - I believe that the location situated NW of the village of Dchaira which we currently have on this Web site's maps is incorrect. The coordinates have been correctly transposed from the UNESCO Web site T List description but, for a number of reasons, I don't believe that they can be right. The identified site is a nondescript location outside a nondescript village in the low desert plain (nearby Tiznit is only 247m above sea level) situated between the Anti-Atlas and the Atlantic Ocean. But the (very thin!) T List description talks of "falaises importantes des djebels Imzi et Adad-Medni" – which are nowhere near. Also the "Dragonnier Ajgal" is so called in Morocco because "Le nom Ajgal est le nom vernaculaire local berbère donné au dragonnier par la population locale dans la région du djebel Imzi. Il signifie : "celui qui se maintient en haut ou "l'inaccessible" en Berbère". None of this fits the countryside currently identified.

This academic report about the trees shows the correct area to be East of Tiznit in the wildest and highest areas of the Anti-Atlas. See the map in fig 1 which places it aroiund the valley of the Gorges of the Assif Ouma Rhouz near the village of Anezi.
"La zone a Dracaena se localise dans la portion occidentale de I'Anti-Atlas qui est site a I'est de Tiznit et au nord-est d'Anezi (figure 1). Elle correspond plus precisement aux falaises des montagnes du Jbel lmzi et d'Adad Medni que traverse I'Assif Oumarhouz qui, a sa sortie de la montagne, Porte le nom de Oued Massa". A map presented as Fig 2 provides even more detail but isn't very helpful for planning at distance- except to show that the area is pretty wild and mountainous!

This link to an ecotourism site for the area provides more detail about the location and names, phone numbers of potential guides (the article is dated c2018 so may or may not be current in that respect). It confirms the location in the above paper "le dragonnier a été découvert dans l'Anti-Atlas en 1996 par F. Cuzin et A. Benabid, dans la région d'Anezi, sur les falaises du Jbel Imzi et du Jbel Adad Medni, à 1500m d'altitude, au milieu des gorges de la rivière appelée Assif Oumarhouz." The section on how to get there suggests the need for a 4 x 4 and indicates quite a long walk if you want to see them "in the wild". Note that "le Géoparc du Jbel Bani" covered by the above Web site appears to be in the process of being created -with the assistance of the University of Montpellier. It might have seemed likely that there would be a strong correlation between the boundary of this park and any UNESCO nominated area but the maps I have seen show it to cover an enormous area including many towns etc - I can't see IUCN liking a Natural nomination as all encompassing as that!.

The problem it raises is that there appear to be 2 possible ways of seeing the trees
a. Within the village of Ajgal Imzi. Reachable by car, hopefully without 4x4? - "petit village d'une vingtaine d'habitants en haut de la montagne. C'est un lieu resté hors du temps où des champs en terrasses marquent le paysage. En vous promenant dans ce village, vous pourrez y voir les fameux arbres, dont un très grand et très vieux dragonnier souvent photographié."
b. In a wilder situation requiring a trek into the mountains "Pour découvrir cette plante à son état sauvage, il faut d'abord arriver à Agadir Ouguejgal ou Agjal Imzi au pied du Jbel Imzi. Situé à 22km d'Anezi, ce petit douar se laisse découvrir au terme d'une piste de 9km à partir d'Adaï. Les derniers 2km étant en mauvais état, un véhicule 4×4 est recommandé"...followed by a fair walk -"Voir les dragonniers à l'état sauvage, accrochés aux falaises, exige une marche de 3 à 4 heures sur un terrain accidenté et une ascension sur le haut plateau du Mont Imzi. Mais si vous supportez le vertige, vous profiterez d'une magnifique vue plongeante sur les falaises, la vallée et les gorges. La meilleure période pour visiter ce coin est d'Avril à Juin."

Lacking definite information regarding the area nominated and whether it includes the village of Ajgal Imzi or only surrounding countryside means we have to make a judgement about where to "locate" it! As will anyone planning to visit the "Core area" prior to the Nomination details becoming available. The nomination is for a natural site so must definitely comprise mainly areas beyond the village - but I suspect that it would include both since the village is very small,,but who knows?? In any case, I suggest we place the T List site at the co-ordinates of this village i.e 29.749134, -9.287609 since even if the village isn't included the location is in the correct general area.

IMO, it would seem obsessive to rush through the Anti-Atlas in order to tick off this site whilst missing out what the area has to offer more widely. Tafraoute, around 70kms East of Ajgal Imzi, is the tourism centre of Morocco's Berber country in the Anti Atlas and would seem to make a good stopping point. Whilst you are this far south you might as well visit the nearby Guelmim Camel market (Its T Listed oases are also nearby) and the "Stamp collectors" dream location of Sidi Ifni. We have taken in both on previous trips to Morocco - not "must do's" but "worth doing"/"having done"!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 13 Oct 2021 11:38 
That is great to hear, like I said we didn't experince that elsewhere in Morocco, but it really ruined our experince of Fez.

And as with everywhere we have travelled as parents, having children with you can really enhance the experince and lead to many more interactions.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 14 Oct 2021 00:07 
Solivagant:
Folowing the question by @FredericM regarding this T list site I will add my bit in the hope that it is useful even though I haven't been (though have travelled widely in Morocco across the years).

Thanks for the insights into what this site could be, Solivagant! The village seems as good a place to start with as any until the nomination details are publicized. And since this area is further south than other sites, it makes sense to plan for exploring other sites in the area if attempting to visit this TWHS.

Author elsslots
Admin
#15 | Posted: 14 Oct 2021 01:07 
Thanks for sharing the research, Solivagant. I have updated the location and added a link to the ecotourism website.

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