- Encounters with locals
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
As you enter the valley, you'll be met with absolutely incredible views of arid scenery, rocks and mountains in ocre and pink. In contrast to these sights, you'll see the Dadès wadi, where all kinds of lush vegetation grows: palm trees, date trees and...roses. This is because a variety of roses was introduced here with the aim of driving away goats. Today, these roses have given their name to the valley and have become one of the big players in the local economy. A giant industry has been established in the area, producing rosewater, perfumes and cosmetics.
The roses aside, I was very impressed by the numerous traditional Berber villages, where every hut is made completely out of earth, which are scattered through the area and lend it a pastoral charm. All the more so as the region offers numerous beautiful walks during your stay in Morocco.
At the foot of the Moroccan Grand Atlas Mountains you'll find strikingly beautiful scenery. This time, I discovered this region of Morocco by coach, which allowed me to take in this enchanting setting. All the same, I didn't have the chance to see any roses, because I didn't end up in the valley of roses in the right season.
As it turns out, roses are cultivated in certain specific regions, and only at certain times of year. For example, one of these zones can be found near the village of Kelaat M'Gouna and stretches to the village of Boumalne Dadès, covering a total of around 20 km.
However, even if you can't enjoy the roses the whole way, the valley itself offers some pretty splendid views, with a wadi at its centre, a river nourishing the dried, reddened earth and transforming it into a verdant oasis.
In the village of El-Kelaâ-M-Gouna, the cultivation of roses is dominant, a tradition in the south and somewhere to discover during your stay in Morocco.
In May, women and children gather the famous Damask Rose. It is said that it was brought from Mecca by the Berber pilgrims. I was captivated by its delicate perfume, a true ode to beauty. I recommend the rose water to you from the stalls in the souks. A little fact, tons of roses from the valley are exported to Grasse in France for the manufacture of perfumes.
Once the roses have been gathered, a festival takes place in the valley. A colourful celebration: the villagers throw rose petals on the dancers, while children sell garlands of roses to the spectators.