Amazigh people (the Berbers)
The Berbers are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile River. Berber culture extends back to prehistoric times, more than 4000 years ago! Their long-recorded presence influenced business by establishing trade routes between West African and Sub-Saharan Africa, where they moved products from beyond the Sahara desert to Northern Moroccan settlements. Indeed, Berber identity extends beyond language, craft, and ethnicity to include the entire history and geography of North Africa and Morocco.
Many old Berber communities can still be seen in the Moroccan mountains today. Although Berbers do not reside entirely in rural areas, these villages provide an interesting glimpse into Berber tradition and history.
The village of Kelaat M’Gouna in Morocco’s Souss-Massa-Draâ area is most likely best known for the Festival of Roses, which celebrates the rose petal harvest in May each year. Kelaat M’Gouna, also known as El-Kelaa, is home to the country’s largest rose water and rose oil producers — goods that are widely utilized in fragrances, beauty products, and Moroccan traditional food. Visitors to the factories can purchase rose water and other rose-scented products, but keep in mind that one liter of rose water requires up to three tons of rose petals.
The enormous sand sea of Erg Chebbi is exceptionally picturesque, spanning 28 kilometers from north to south and reaching heights of 160 meters. As the sun sets, the rose-gold dunes rise dramatically over a pancake-flat, grey hamada (hard-packed rocky desert) and become gorgeous colours of orange, pink, and purple.
The Draa Valley is a beautiful oasis with Berber communities, magnificent Kasbahs, streaming sand dunes, lush green plains, snow-capped Atlas Mountains, limitless expanses of palm palms, and Morocco’s biggest river, the Draa. Despite their rich history, culture, and fame, the Berbers of the Draa Valley continue to live in ways quite similar to their forefathers. They ride donkeys, wash their clothing in the river, and build their houses out of clay. When you’re there, you’ll feel transported back in time, and it’ll be difficult to imagine that the cosmopolitan city of Marrakesh is only a few hours away.
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