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MISE A JOUR, ABCdaire des grottes sud Maroc 2021-22 version anglaise

Rédigé le Dimanche 31 Octobre 2021 à 17:29 | Lu 225 fois | 1 commentaire(s)

                                EVERYTHING ABOUT THE FISHERMEN CAVES, FROM TO Z
                             ATLANTIC TROGLO, BATO TROGLO, TROGLODUNE
                                                   AGLOU, TIZNIT, MAROC
Aglou is a charming sea resort, located 100 km south of Agadir, 15km west of Tiznit.
This is a surf spot and lifeguards insure the safety of the beach for the swimmers. In Summer time, it is full of Moroccan vacationers. You have a small day and night market for food shopping and casual restaurants next to the post office on the seaside, a grocery store at the camping, where you can also buy bread and a butcher’s shop nearby.  At the grocery store, ask for the friendly Jamel.  You have a selection of restaurants and terraces on the Promenade along the shore. On the beach, you will find the surf club, tours on camels and quad rental.  Buses and taxis for Tiznit are located at the entrance of the village. Nice carpet sales in Summer, down the main street.
The population of the Souss region, where the caves are located, is mainly Berber. They are different from the Arab people, even if they were converted to Islam a long time ago.The most famous Berber kingdom was Numidia. They expanded South through the Sahara, including the Touareg population.
Today, the Berber languages areas are more limited, mainly spread in Morocco and Algeria, then partly in Lybia, Tunisia and Egypt. Berber idiom comes from the Afro Asian languages group. They used to write the tifinagh alphabet, still used by the Touaregs today.
From Morocco to Egypt, the Berbers are linked by cultural, ethnic and language communities among which the chaoui, the chleuh (in the Souss area), the rifain, the chenoui, the mazbi and the tamasheq idioms.
CLEAR WATER  and toilets
The water at the caves comes from a water tank which you can use for washing dishes, shower and toilets (1000l at Atlantic Troglo, 2000l Bato Troglo, 3000l at Troglo Dune). Please use mineral water for cooking and drinking (we provide a 5l bottle upon your arrival). Do not waste water and use it carefully. Reuse grey waters from shower or dishes washing for flushing the toilets. If you run out of water, call Brahim. The water supply truck will come within the day; use the reserve tanks instead. Water refill is paid by the owner.
Please do not throw away anything in the toilets, including toilet paper (use the bin). Use green cleaning products in order to save the planet.
The environment around the cave is almost the desert, but real desert starts more South, at Guelmin and Tantan, where you have great camel souks and caravan serails. Pay a tribute to the desert if you have time to travel South.
Sahara desert covers an area of 8.6 million m². This is the warmest desert in the world. Since it is situated South of the Atlas Mountains ranges, the clouds and rains are stopped by the high summits and the air becomes hot and dry on the other side: the sky is always clear, the zone is arid and develops vast desert areas.
If you want to experience the desert, we recommend to drive to Tighmert oasis near Guelmin at Chambres d’hôtes b&b (ask for Brahim) and to visit the eco museum.
For an experience of several days bivouac in the desert, contact our friend Lahsen at
Fruit such as oranges and vegetable are the main production of the Souss area. The production of argan trees and pickly pears (with thorns like urchins!) has been increasing in the area. Many local cooperatives, especially the ones run by women, sale products made with these plants, including cosmetics.  Dates and sugar canes production is decreasing.
Fishing is the other main activity in the area. However, large scale ports such as Sidi Ifni or Agadir draw most of the activities. Local fisheries such as Tifnit or Laftès which are not well equipped cannot use the boats when the weather is bad (the boats cannot cross the dangerous waves. They are still brought back to the shore with ropes and tractors).
Tourism is also flat due to the economic crisis. Huge real estate construction sites are stopped along the coast, but we won’t complain about that!
Laftès fish market is half way between the caves and the main road. Fish is available only if the weather allows the boats to go out. You will find so many kind of fish : seabass, mulet, bream, corbine, ray but also cabs, lobsters and octopus. During your stay, the fishermen might come to the cave to sale their catches such as musles or various fish.
If the fish market is closed, you can get fish in Tiznit at the market behind the new mosk.
If you like fishing, you can bring your own material or buy material at the camping store.
More than a thousand of caves are registered along the coast. Numbers start from North to South. TROGLO DUNE is #477, BATO TROGLO is #475 and ATLANTIC TROGLO is#465.They are mostly used by the fishermen for keeping their material. Some are at the sea level, others are on the cliff at different heights. Standard depth is 6m. The quality of the rock varies according to the locations. In the 1970’s, Aglou was a famous place for the hippies coming from worldwide. Today, it is much quieter.  Most of the caves are inhabited by fishermen or local tourists coming for vacation.  Most of the caves have no facilities. Some upgraded grottoes have a water tank, a drain system for the toilets and solar electricity.
Like traditional dwelling houses, humidity level is higher in Summer than in Winter due to a higher contrast in temperatures. It is never too hot in Summer, nor cold in Winter.
You can enjoy the public hammam in Tiznit. When arriving from Aglou, turn left towards Bab El Aglou market at the first traffic light. The hammam is in a modern building on the left side. Entrance ticket is 12 dirhams.  For men, please wear a bathing suit. Ladies are naked or wear their underwears. You can buy local soap at the entrance. Bring your own towels. Mix hot and cold waters in the bucket. You can ask for a bodyrub.
At TROGLO DUNE you can enjoy the private hammam.  We will provide the logs and the demonstration for the first time. Watch Brahim’s technics if you want to do it yourself (otherwise he can prepare it every day as an optional service). Do not forget to put water inside the tank before putting fire! Wait at least 1 hour after putting fire before using the hammam. Be careful of not burning yourself with the boiling water. Use the spoon to transfer the hot water into a bucket and mix with cold water.
We only use fallen wood for the hammam in order not to provoke any deforestation. Wood is very rare in the area. Please refrain to use the hammam too often.
Staying in the caves is the perfect occasion to make a break from the civilization.
The telephone network does not work inside the caves, but you can get it on the dunes.
If you are addicted to Internet, or if needed, most of coffee shops and restaurants provide wifi in Aglou and Tiznit. We suggest you bring a USB port  for your car to charge your phones.
There are many public holidays in addition to religious festivals: January 11th, May 1st, May 23rd, July 30th, August 14th and 20th, November 6th and 18th. However, only the administrations are closed. Most of the stores are open every day.
Many festival occur during Summer : you can attend the fantasia or the Moussem in Tiznit, which is a large gatherings around the tomb of a holly man, called a marabout. It can be a 3 days long party. It is both a religious celebration and a popular festival. Near Tiznit, you can attend the moussem of Idi Ahmed or Moussa. In Guelmin, experience the camel grand fair in the oasis of Asrir in July. The dates change though, according to the muslim calendar and the Ramadan which dates change each year (it starts 10 days earlier each year).
KHEMOUN and other spices :
In the old market of Tiznit, you can find many spices stores.
Khemoun powder is used in many dishes, including traditional salads ; pepper, cinammon, ginger, hot pepper… Try also the grinded coffee mixed with those spices. Due to the humidity level in the caves, keep them within bags or sealed boxes.
Within the medina, along the old walls, you can find the merchant of olive oil. He also sells amlou, a mix of almonds, argan or olive oil and honey. Quite rich but so delicious at breakfast time. Olive oil can be bough also at the mill in Zaouit village.
Tahar Ben Jelloun, Mohamed Choukri or Driss Chraibi are probably the most well known contemporary authors here. Between tradition and modernity, witnesses of a young country facing its contradictions and fighting for its dream, between anger and nostalgy, they represent the new generation of talented writers.
You can also read authors who describe the atmosphere of the Maghreb and the Middle East such as  Jean Marie Le CLézio, Gilbert Sinoué, or Amin Malalouf. We leave some books in the tanks inside the caves.
MEDINA of Tiznit :
The city of Tiznit was built by Moulay Hassan, called the blue sultan during the 19th century for reinforcing his power in the region. The old city walls are 6 km long and pink coloured, so beautiful at the sunset. You can still find some traditional workshops for crafts such as goldsmiths who sell Berber jewelry. You can visit the craft center in front of the post office.
You can find tajine plates and other ceramics in the medina (especially along the oued market where they are the cheapeast) or at the large ceramics store on the main road to Agadir, on the right side ( about 2 km from downtown main crossing).
Brahim will also show you where yo can buy a nice djelabba or Berber style babouches.
Park your car at Place du Mechouar in the heart of the medina and walk aroud.
For the best ambiance, we recommend candle lights in the caves. We also have solar lamps available. Little Sun lamps come from an association for helping the children. You can also buy them on internet : We provide also fronthead lamps. Only TrogloDune has a solar panel providing 12v (no 220v socket) with  Usb plugs for phones.
When you go out at night, don’t forget to take a torch with you for coming back safely to the cave. Check carefully your way when driving to the cave. TrogloDune and Bato troglo entrance way is marked with a stone with a blue painted arrow sign. It is 3km from the crossing to Aglou Beach road. Atlantic Trglo is 100m further, before the « bridge » with stone mills. In Winter, it gets dark at 6 pm. We highly recommend to arrive before the night in order to check the way and enjoy the wonderful sunset.
Enjoy the night sky with all the shining stars. On the beach, on the rocks and even on the sea, the dancing lights are the ones from the fishermen lamps. The boat come from the nearby Laftes harbor or far away Agadir.
OBSERVATORY for birds :
You will mainly see seagulls on the beach or passing over your heads. You have also black cormorants and tiny birds, sometime pelicans or ibis. If you are lucky, you will meet the black ibis which are protected and endemic to the Souss Massa National Park. You recognize them with their red beaks and tousled black feathers. Don’t approach them since the coast guard might be looking at you.
If you like bird watching, go visit the Souss Massa Park. During the migration seasons, it is full of pink flamingos in Spring or Autumn. You can hire a guide at the entrance of the park. The access is via Massa and Sidi Rbat, half way to Agadir. Brahim can also take you there.
Follow the delicious smell of the pancakes cooking stores in the medina.
You will eat a lot of bread since you are supposed to use folded bread for replacing your fork or spoon. Use only your right hand to eat in the shared plate. Don’t forget to wash your hands before the meal.
During Summer season, a traditional flat Berber bread oven is running on the main street in Aglou.  Be careful not to swallow the small stones if any left under the bread after cooking! You can find bread at the camping store. Berber tafarnout bread can be bought in Zaouit.
You can also ask Brahim to bring homemade bread cooked by his wife Samia.
The caves are nice in each season. There is less humidity in Winter since the variations of temperature are lower. During Summer, there is some mist over Aglou beach and along the coast. The place can be windy. It is never too hot. During Summer, the temperature can reach 35° or 40° in Tiznit, 15km away but never goes over 25 or 30° in Aglou. In Winter, the temperature can drop to 12° at night and reaches 25° during day time. It is never cold inside the caves. There is very few rain but water flood scan be devastating.
During Winter, the sun light arrives later in the caves (except at Altantic troglo). Don’t forget to bring warm cloth and sweaters for wind and nights outside the caves. The best cloth is the polar made jelabbah which you can buy in Tiznit. Ask Brahim for the best place for shopping.
RIDING and other sports activities  (paragliding, surf,quad, hiking, horse riding, fishing)
You might see strange birds flying over the caves. Those are paragliders. You have two clubs just next door. Philippe at or Maroc Parapente: 06 77 80 68 07.
Aglou surf club is located on the beach in Aglou. Dangerous tides can take away the best swimmers. Do not surf or swim far on the beach facing the caves. Famous spots are Mirleft and Legzira 40km South from Aglou.
You can rent quads in Aglou and Zaouit : ( Tel : +212 667 024 525.
For horse riding, there is a wonderful ranch with great Arab horses on the way to Mirleft at Sidi Boufdail  (17km from Aglou). .
For the hikers, you are 3km away from Aglou  which you can reach by the sand trail or by the beach. On the other direction, Timzlit village is also 3km away.
You can daily shop at one of the two markets (we recommend the one behind the grand mosk in Tiznit). Aglou has a grocery store at the camping too. However, if you want to enjoy a great ambiance, visit the grand souk on Wednesdays or Thursdays mornings  (Tuesday is more dedicated to the cattle business).  Loated near the grand bus station.
If you want to attend the camel market, drive to Guelmin on early Saturdays (100km South from Aglou). Say at the nearby oasis of Tighmert at Chambres d’hôte Nomades.
Tajine is the most current dish which you will find everywhere. Berber tajine plate has a round slid instead of the traditional chimney shape one. It is full of vegetable with various meats : beef, lamb, kefta balls, chicken... or camel. Fish or octopus tajines are excellent too.
If you cook a tajine, put olive oil, oignons and tomatoes first, then cut the vegetable into thin slices ( carots, pupkin, eggplants, potatoes but also green peas) and pile them up in a pyramid shape. Add meet or fish. Don’t forget the olives and  cook very slowly on the brasero. Add spices such as khemoun and fresh coriander.
You can call from the top of the cliff above the caves. Call Brahim in case of emergency. There is a doctor in Aglou, a pharmacy in Zaouit and a hospital in Tiznit.
Doctor in Aglou : Mobarik Azzam at  +212 -  6 61 38 34 10 / SOS  doctor: 05 22 98 98 98
Police: 19 / Ambulance, firemen: 15 / Car accident: 177
Finding alcool is quite a challenge in South Morocco, quite impossible if you do not know the right the places to go. We recommend that you get some bottles at the dutyfree store before flying.
In Agadir, you can find alcool in some tourist hotels and in one supermarket only : Atakadao on national road N°1 (near the road to Marrakech). Enter the small door the right side of the building when you face the supermarket (no outside sign). In Tiznit, you can drink and buy alcool (wine and beer) at Tiznit Hotel located at the main crossing of the city.
South West wind is called sirocco or cherqui and blows warmly. Tagout blows from the sea. Some times, wind storms happen but never last long.
The sea is dangerous but when the tide is low, you can play or bath inside the rocks pools.
Swim instead in the quiet Laftès port, 1.5km from the caves, near the fishery buidling.
(TA)X (I)S :
In the cities, you can take a red colour local petit taxi (205 Peugeot cars). Extra costs are due between 8 pm and 8 am during the night. Group taxis are Fiat white and green cabs. They can take you to Tiznit from Aglou central car park, or to the airport if needed. If you prefer a private car, Brahim can pick you up (check out the price list for services).
Y-Z :  YALLAH, ZINA and other words :
Yallah : let’s go ! / Zina means « pretty ! »
Slama (ou salamalekoum) : hello, goodby
Shoukran : thank you  / Mahaaba : Welcome
Labess ? Debher : How are you? Fine, and you ?
Walou ! there isn’t. it is not available. / Waha : OK, agreed !
Makain mouchkin : no problem! / Inch’ Allah : See you again, if God agrees!

1.Posté par Violet le 17/11/2021 17:29
Thank you for sharing the nice article.

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