TIN MAL TREK
Guided day walk from Ijoukak to Tin Mal mosque.
Oued N'Fis Valley
Tin Mal Mosque
High Atlas Scenery
See Jebel Erdouz
From Kasbah Africa you will be driven to the Berber village of Ijoukak to start a 16 km hike at the junction of the Oueds n’Fis and Agoundis.
First we head off down a country lane in the foothills of the Jbel Erdouz passing the Berber villages of Souq Ijoukak, Tagountafte, Souk Lara and Ikhfe N’Boul. We arrive at the riverside tribal kasbah which was once the home of a powerful feudal chieftain, Sultan Goundafa. The inner part of this now decaying palace- fortress, with storks nesting on the ramparts, still retains traces of its original Hispano-Arabesque decoration. This area is the traditional land of the Berber Goundafa tribe, one of several powerful tribes who strove to control the High Atlas Mountains in the 19th century. This feudal warrior constantly waged war with the neighbouring Glaoui clan, who burned down his kasbah of Talat n’Youb. As a result the castle of Agadir n’Gouf was built. It was here that the Scottish author R.B Cunningham Graham had been detained at the Sultan’s convenience. In the 1920s, this became an outpost of the French Foreign Legion.
We walk on to the partially ruined Goundafa stronghold of Talat n’Youb. Then continue on an easy descent alongside the river, following contours of the high valley of the Assif N'fis. We walk amidst olive, walnut and almond trees until reaching the hauntingly-beautiful hidden Valley of Ijoukak, with its cool, clear stream full of trout. Next we reach the small and remote stronghold settlement of Tin Mal located high up on the opposite bank of the river. We visit the fortress (and one-time state treasury) which is the sole survivor of the once holy 12th century city. Built by the founder of the Almohad (Unitarian) dynasty, Mehdi Ibn Toumarte, this is the only mosque in Morocco (other than the mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca) in which a non-Muslim may enter – except on Fridays. Inside we see fine examples of the ancient, intricate Almohad décor of rosette, scallop and palmette. Cedar from Azrou is used for the ceilings; a special lime has been imported from Spain; no cement or concrete is used and the several cupolas have been restored in some areas with richly decorated stalactite plaster.
In the village there is another small kasbah in ruins, a Medersa and an old water tank which produces a regular supply of the French gastronomic delight – edible frogs. You may buy a litre of Tin Mal olive oil from the olive press and mill down towards the river. Here we picnic on the river bank. Then set off towards the south, down the valley of the Oued N’Fis through stands of juniper, Barbary fig, apricot, cherry and walnut tree. We pass many Berber hamlets on the lower slopes of the Adrar Adafelt until we reach the town of Mouldikht at the beginning of the corkscrew road leading up to the Tizi n’Test (3,080m). Here our Atlas Tin Mal Trek ends as we rejoin our vehicle.
0900 Rendezvous with driver. Depart Kasbah Africa.
0945 Arrive at Ijoukak village; start walking.
1300 Picnic lunch and mint tea near Tin Mal Mosque.
1630 Mouldikht; meet vehicle and return to Kasbah Africa.
1745 Arrive Kasbah Africa.
Timings are approx. and may vary due to interests of the group, weather or seasons.
This one day Atlas trek is suitable for everyone of reasonable fitness. You walk up and down a maximum of 600 metres for approx. 5-6 hours – walking is not at all strenuous. Visit charming hidden valleys and meet the mountain Berber families in their own environment and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Private departures operate daily.
Wear comfortable walking shoes/boots. We also recommend a camera, sun hat and sunglasses.
PRICES PER PERSON
Private transfers by grand taxi between Kasbah Africa and start/end of walk; Berber guide, site entrance fee and picnic lunch.
Tips, beverages, optional activities and items of a personal nature.
Upgrade transfers from a grand taxi to a more luxurious air-conditioned 4x4 car or people carrier from £35 return.