Taragalte Festival, Morocco

Today’s guest post was written by Robert Plum.

The 2013 Taragalte Festival is running from 15-17 November and is something that has to be seen and experienced to be believed. Literally set in the Sahara Desert, it aims to celebrate cultural exchange and sustainable development through tourism, with a programme of world music, exhibitions, shows and workshops. The festival is now in its fifth year and is based on the concept of the traditional Moussem, which is a festival held when the trade caravans of neighbouring communities entered the big oasis of Taragalte (M’hamid) having been in the desert, sometimes for many months. The Taragalte Festival unites the people of the Sahara region with the rest of the world through music, storytelling and local customs. If you have been looking for a festival that is different from the rest, then this is surely it.

morocco-architecture

How to get there

M’Hamid is a small village set in the Zagora region of Morocco and its nearest airport is Marrakesh. Packages are available from the festival organisers which will include flights, accommodation and transfers. If you do not manage to get a package from them you can always view holiday operator sites such as First Choice or Thomas Cook.

There is an opportunity to stay a while in Marrakesh as well as attend the festival and this is certainly a worthwhile thing to consider as it is a beautiful city with lots to see and do. There are desert bivouacs to rent at the festival site or you can also camp in ready-erected tents. Because the festival is celebrating local culture, don’t be surprised to see a camel when you stick your head out in the morning!

Watch a video about last year’s festival:

Although the area can be uncomfortably hot in the summer, with temperatures reaching 99 degrees Fahrenheit or more on most days, by November when the festival is on it is much more comfortable and averages 72, which is very welcome to anyone looking for a break from the British weather. The festival is fascinating but relatively short and with a three hour plus flight to get there, most people will want to spend some extra time in Marrakesh. The souks are always a big draw and in fact Marrakesh has the largest in the whole of North Africa. There are also smaller souks which sell specific things, such as gold, leather or rugs but for sheer spectacle the traditional Berber market is hard to beat.

marrakesh-main-square

Moroccan cuisine and other highlights

Local foods make great gifts for the people at home and the Ableuh and Kchacha souks are the ones to visit for teas, dried fruits and spices. Although most people think of the area as being very dry, Marrakesh has many parks and gardens, with unusual plants that are not seen very often. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also lots of other things to do. The Koutoubia Gardens are especially attractive and storks visit and nest there. There are loads of palaces and mosques to visit in the city. Most mosques do allow visits but it is important to check first – there are guides for hire in the city or a tourist bus or taxi service is also a good option, especially if time is short and you don’t want to miss anything.

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One Response to “Taragalte Festival, Morocco”

  1. Katy says:

    A festival in the Sahara sounds awesome!

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