Dades Valley
Draa Valley
Ziz Valley & Tafilalet
Dunes of Merzouga
Northeastern Morocco North Atlantic Coast South Atlantic Coast Central Morocco South and Kasbah Trail Marrakech and High Atlas Deep South

Ziz Valley and Tafilalet

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The Ziz Valley runs from the town of Rich to the edge of the Sahara Desert at Merzouga.

It was once a passage for the caravans that crossed from sub-Saharan Africa to the Mediterranean.

The valley has an abundance of palm and date trees and contains what is probably Morocco's most important oasis, Tafilalet, an enormous palm grove fed by the waters of the Ziz.

The Ziz makes its mark in numerous places on its journey south, before disappearing into the sands of Taouz. First there is the impressive Wadi Ziz, carving out of the limestone a long corridor lined with tall palm trees that shade the ksour and kasbah of Ifri. Then, held back by the Hassan Addakhil dam, it forms a vast emerald lake. Women do their washing in it crouching on its red-ochre shores, cooled by the shade of the apricot trees.

At the Source Bleue de Meski, a natural spring that spills into a pool, the river has a reputation for encouraging fertility. Young women bathe by candlelight in the waters of this grotto.

The drive south, through Tafilalet to Erfoud and Rissani, is spectacular. The road descends from the plateau to the floor of the sheer-sided valley then winds through a string of villages. The stark contrast between the luscious green of the Tafilalet and the brown barrenness of the surrounding hills underlines the value of the Ziz Valley in such an arid region.