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"!