Nestled in the Anti-Atlas, Tafraoute attracts only a small handful of tourists. It is a wealthy town, on account of the large number of migrant workers sending money home from abroad and evidence of this can be seen in the architecture and the amenities. There are some lovely small restaurants and great views of the surrounding mountains. The area is popular with rock climbers and it’s not hard to see why; dramatic rock formations, beautiful valleys and off the beaten track location mean the beauty of Mother Nature can be enjoyed in relative peace.
About an hour’s drive from the village is a beautiful gorge which is best explored on foot. Passing fig & olive trees, date palms and an ambling stream, the views are fantastic. Also of interest are the ‘blue rocks’ painted as an art installation by Belgian artist Jean Verame in the 1980’s. Beautiful rocks, in an almost lunar landscape, have been painted royal blue with a smattering of red, creating a bizarrely enjoyable sight. Another, more dubious, rock sight is le chapeau de Napoleon a rock formation that is claimed by the guide books to resemble Napoleon’s hat. I remain inconvinced. The lion’s face however, on the other side of town, is instantly recognisable.
Hot in the summer and still pleasantly warm in the winter, a stay in the summer months makes a pool a necessity. The largest and most expensive hotel in town, Hotel Les Amandiers, is the best place to stay, but it is stuck in the 1980’s with out-dated décor and sullen staff. Rooms are soulless, but clean, and the restaurant is uninspiring. That said, the pool (and views) are fabulous and the bar serves alcohol.