Worth a Trip: Ounilla Valley

Travellers equipped with a sturdy 2WD or 4WD, mountain bikes or good walking shoes can follow the ancient desert caravan routes from Telouet to Ait Ben Haddou through the splendid Ounilla Valley. Although the first 12km is bumpy and slow going, the remaining 25km to Tamdaght is on good graded piste (dirt track). The fascinating route follows the course of the Oued (River) Mellah passing through Anmiter (whose red-tower kasbah gives a glimpse of what Ait Ben Haddou may have looked like in its original state), Assaka, Tizgui and other picturesque villages dotting the Gorge Assaka. Exiting the Ounilla Valley to the south, you’ll spot limestone threshing terraces notched into an east-facing hillside. In harvest season, you’ll see villagers threshing grain on these stone platforms, just as they’ve done for centuries.