Ait Omar

We’ve been told to go and seek out Hartmut, the owner of one of the 45 Kasbahs in this town, apparently you can find him every morning in the cafe on the corner, opposite the school and the post office.

After 5 days of wallowing in bed with Moroccan flu, we’re ready to have a peek at the town. Having spent all this time indoors, the sunshine once again seems dazzingly bright. I can hardly keep my eyes open. Indeed, in the cafe on the main street we meet Mahmoud, as the locals have lovingly renamed him, a German who came here about 30 years ago, bought a dilapidated Kasbah and painstakingly rebuilt it, drawing on local knowledge and materials, combining German standards with Moroccan aesthetic. The result is absolutely stunning. Ait Omar is one of the most beautiful houses we have seen in Morocco and the first one that is warm inside (underfloor heating, fed by solar panels and a wood burner)!

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The traditional layout with its many rooms is spread out over a number of floors and buildings, there are little courtyards everywhere, a beautiful swimming pool in the centre of it all, and a roof terrace with views to die for. N’kob itself is full of Kasbahs and, while in a good place for tourists to reach a number of attractions, such as gorges, deserts and mountains, in itself it is not touristic – on the contrary, it is a typical Moroccan village or small town, relaxed and peaceful, with un-tarmaced back streets and earth and straw buildings, children playing in the roads and the locals giving you a friendly smile as you pass.

During our last 4 years of travel, we’ve always been on the lookout for a possible venue for a group event and although we’ve spotted a few stunning locations, as yet we hadn’t found anywhere sufficiently spacious and comfortable.

In Ait Omar, we may just have found the right place, so who knows, maybe one day we will run a Tango event here…

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On our way back to the van, we stroll through the village, play hide and seek around corners with the children we meet and go door to door hunting for empty jam-jars with lids for making more Marmalade. The latter produces some hilarious ‘conversations’ with women from the different houses we call on, where we try to mime what we need the jars for. Even my little bit of Arabic is no use here, because these women are Berbers and not all of them speak Arabic, let alone French.

But in general, they are very much used to the concept of re-using items (I will talk more about this in a later chapter), so after 15 minutes we have a further 7 jars and make our way home. This is enough excitement for our first post-flu outing!

That evening, we decide we are strong enough to drive on, so as the sun sets, we head out of town, not without stopping along the way to take a look at a big restaurant called Jenna, another venue we might include in a potential group holiday to Morocco.

 

Night falls as we drive on. We soon stop by the side of the road on a flat piece of land that looks like its been prepared for a house.  There are a lot of birds and an unusually green coloured hill. Next morning, I take a  walk to explore what is growing on them, but it’s not plants that make the hill green but the stone itself – a finely broken type of green slate. Subsequently, we often see this material being used for roads that lead through the stony desert.

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for more pictures of Ait Omar as well as the beautifully undulating slate hills, click here


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