The last part of our Marrakech adventure took us into the nearby Atlas Mountains. Shortly after you leave the city, you find yourself in a beautiful wild rural landscape, another world.
A stork's nest.. I was so excited to see it
On the way to the mountains you come past Tahannaout, where a couple of women's cooperatives alongside the road specialize in traditional Argan Oil production. Argan oil is famous and prized because of its remarkably high levels of Vitamin E, fatty acids and antioxidents, and can be used as a cosmetic as well as a food. The cooperatives provide local Berber women with opportunities, work and fair wages.
Producing Argan oil is an extremely labor-intensive process. At first the dried Argan fruits (below left) which come from south western Morocco, have to be cracked open so that the kernels within (below right) can be harvested.
These kernels contain the precious oil-rich Argan seeds. To extract the seeds, the kernels are placed on a stone anvil and smashed with a rock until they crack open.
What appears to be quite easy is much harder than you think... Argan kernels are about sixteen times harder than hazel nuts. I had to try about two dozen times before I managed to open a single one.
The precious seeds are painstakingly earned... on average, a woman can produce 1-1.5 kg of seeds per day, which is about half the amount needed to make 1 litre of oil
The kernels are then ground to a paste, using a handstone and quern
The paste is then kneaded by hand to extract the oil. It takes 100 kg of Argan fruit and several days of work to produce 1litre of Argan Oil.
Capsule pieces: white jeans and printed tunic
Accessories: Hermes clic-H enamel bracelet in black, MaiTai Collection wool/silk stole in gris perle (click here) and tassel necklace in noir/argent (click here)
Shoes: black espadrilles
As we move on up the mountains, there is soon little else around except for the occasional Berber village perched on top of a hill
the scenery becomes more and more extraordinary and timeless the further we go
And then we arrive at a real oasis... the magical and indescribably beautiful Kasbah Tamadot
In Berber, Kasbah means 'fortress' and 'Tamadot' means 'soft breeze'. The beauty of the surroundings, the warm hospitality and generous esprit with which it is run, the exquisite decor and relaxed comfort it provides, and the sweetness and friendliness of the people from the neighbouring Berber villages who come and work here makes the Kasbah Tamadot one of the most entrancing places I've stayed, and I very much hope to come back to it one day.
Breakfast treats for Amber and Pearl, the Kasbah's young pet dromedarys
Takarkourte Woman's Argan Oil Cooperative, 33.5 km, Province du Haouz, Tahanaout 40 000 Morocco
Kasbah Tamadot: 042150 Morocco www.virginlimitededition.com/en/kasbah-tamadot
My Marrakech album on Pinterest : www.pinterest.com/MaiTaiCollection/Marrakech
~ End of the Marrakech travelogue ~