We will travel to a pristine, authentic Morocco, which offers us everything we need in order to escape the hectic pace of everyday life. The Happy Valley – Ait Bouguemez – is a mountain valley on the north side of the Atlas Mountains. It has been named the “Happy Valley” because of its fertility, which needs and wants to be cultivated. Sowing and harvesting are integral parts of the day here.
This is not going to be a five-star vacation for us – but hard manual labor is both a physical and personal challenge. Strenuous work and simple duties will calm your spirit, and you will fall into bed at night, exhausted and free of rumination. As a treat, you will gain insight into the culture and the lives of the people, as well as into country life and agricultural work. Together with the locals, there will be quite a few evening celebrations with laughter, dancing, and music.
Life in Morocco is profoundly different. Those who wish to use their vacation in a meaningful way are welcome to gain a glimpse at life from a different point of view and to broaden their horizons.
Day 1 – Thursday, 24/09 – Arrival
If you have booked air travel with us, we will pick you up at Marrakesh airport and will take you to the hotel in the old town of Marrakesh. If you have made your own travel arrangements, you will arrive individually at the hotel.
In the evening, we will have a shared meal to get to know each other (D)
Day 2 – Friday, 25/09 – Transfer Marrakesh – Ait Bouguemez
Today, we have many miles of traveling ahead of us – but the terrific views are worth it. After about two and a half hours on the road, we will reach the Ouzoud Falls. These waterfalls are one of the most magnificent natural wonders of Morocco, which also makes them a huge magnet for tourism. The view of the more than 30 foot cascading waterfalls will make up for the teeming mass of people there. With a bit of luck, we will be blessed with a rainbow on top of the waterfalls. In the vicinity, there is always a small population of very inquisitive and friendly Barbary apes. Later, we will stop at Azilal for lunch, and in the afternoon, we will complete the rest of the trip to Ait M’Hamed in our minibus. From there, we will enter the valley of Ait Bouguemez, the “Happy Valley”.
In the evening, we will move into our accommodation and get to know our future hosts and “day staff” for the first time over dinner.
total travel time: about 5.5 hours (B/L/D)
Day 3 – Saturday, 26/09 – Ait Bouguemez
The day starts with dawn. Enjoy a hearty Moroccan breakfast before work begins. Depending on the season, we will help in the fields or will harvest apples or walnuts. Lucerne and grass need to be cut and laid out to dry, the trees need irrigation, and the women need help washing their clothes in the river or dying wool for weaving or knotting carpets. You will be assigned in pairs to a local family in order to help them with their daily work. Enjoy lunch with the families, and we will reconvene for dinner together with the rest of the group at our accommodation. (B/L/D)
Day 4 – Sunday, 27/09 – Excursion to the weekly market
Today is market day. With the group or with our families, we will drive to the market, where you can buy fruits and vegetables, all the necessary food for the next week, and other daily necessities – here is the place for haggling and bargaining, buying and selling.
In the evening, shared dinner at our accommodation. (B/-/D)
Day 5 – Monday, 28/09 – Ait Bouguemez
Helping assigned families (B/L/D)
Day 6 – Tuesday, 29/09 – Ait Bouguemez
Helping assigned families (B/L/D)
Day 7 – Wednesday, 30/09, Ait Bouguemez
Helping assigned families (B/L/D)
Day 8 – Thursday, 1/10 – Mule riding and hiking
After so much work, we deserve a day off. Today we will hike and ride for three hours to reach the Ikkis pasture. We will roam the wild and unspoiled nature of the high mountains and will hike along a beautiful nomad way to reach the mountain pasture Ikkis. There, we will take a short nut break. Murmuring creeks and green fields make for a great pasture ground. Barley, sweet corn, and apples are cultivated here. During the summer months, you will see goats, sheep, cattle, and donkeys on their way to their stables. After a break, we will continue on for about 45 minutes through the canyon, where we will take our lunch break as well. In the afternoon, we will ride our mules back home.
Hiking about 4 hours / Riding about 2 hours. Lunch break: packed lunch on the way.
In the evening, shared dinner at our accommodation.
Day 9 – Friday, 2/10 – Ait Bouguemez – Marrakesh
Every dream comes to an end. The simplicity, the nature, the life in this valley will stay with us for a long time to come. Before we make our way back into the hustle and bustle of the cities, we will treat ourselves to a last view of the mountains. By minibus, we will drive back to Marrakesh from our small Berber valley, full of unique impressions and unforgettable experiences. After two hours, we will reach the natural bridge of Imí´n Ífri at the foot of the High Atlas. We will enjoy a short hike (about 45 minutes) and a tea break before we continue on our journey for another two hours back to Marrakesh, which we will reach shortly after lunch time.
In Marrakesh, you will have some spare time on your hands. Dive into the heart of the city and the hustle and bustle of the souks and their merchants, the snake charmers, and the dentists, all of whom await you.
A final shared dinner. Then it is time to say goodbye.
accommodation in Marrakesh (B/L/D)
Day 10 – Saturday, 3/10 – departure
Our Moroccan adventure is coming to an end. If you have booked the travel package that includes flights, we will take you to Marrakesh airport for your flight after breakfast. …. see you soon … Salam.
(B/L/D) = included meals breakfast, lunch, dinner.
You will help with the work in the fields and in the home according to your own abilities and the needs of the families. Accommodation is in simple, male- or female-only multi-bed rooms. Married couples will have the option of a double room. Please note that this is a very rural area of Morocco. We ask you in advance to take this into account and understand that we can’t expect European standards.
Communication in Morocco is mainly in French, but often a bit of English is spoken, too. Also, use gestures and hand signs to communicate. Don’t worry, it will work. An interpreter will always be available and be with the group every day.
During our stay in Ait Bouquemez, your cooperation and active assistance is of essential importance. In return, you will learn a lot about life in this village. This trip is an immersion in an unfamiliar world. Work is done using one’s hands, which will help you to appreciate its benefits even more.
Harvesting and storing walnuts: The harvesting period for walnuts is from mid-September to mid-October. The nuts are ripe when they fall from the trees and their shell breaks. Well-dried and properly stored, they will keep for many months. They will have to be gathered almost daily and processed for drying.
Apples are Germany’s favorite fruit, and Morocco is where they are grown. What a long distance they have traveled to reach our homes! Exporting local apples is one of the main sources of income in this Moroccan region. You should consider baking a Moroccan apple pie with your family. It’s a special indulgence.
Lucerne is a green, durable, and herbaceous plant which reaches up to three feet in height. It is used worldwide as animal feed. Its sprouts are also grown as vegetables for human consumption. Here, they are harvested by hand or using a scythe.
Important: Due to unforeseen circumstances and local events, this itinerary may have to be changed on short notice.
Price not including flight:
EUR 699.- per person
surcharge for single occupancy EUR 200.-
03.10. – 12.10.2021