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Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby khkate » 13 Mar 2014 21:18

The strong winds in Lanzarote affected our crossing to Agadir in that we were 3 hours late arriving. This impacted on all the tours, which should have been off the ship early morning and back by lunch-time. As we only were getting off the ship at 11am, packed lunch was supplied for all the tours and meant some adjustments had to be made to the routing. This tour was a new one for Saga this season, and our group were the guinea pigs. Thus we also had a young chap from the Tours office locally with us to se how the tour was run and to get feedback on the tour, as well as Grazia from the Tours office on the ship. Feedback was favourable from everybody.

The vehicles used were Landrover Discovery-type, all forward facing - could accommodate 5 passengers and there was 4 vehicles on our tour.

We were in the lead vehicle with a driver plus the guide, Abdi, whose English was very good, despite being self-taught. Do NOT use cameras until outside the City gates - which are manned by police and military unless you want them confiscated!. I was sitting in the back seat but in the centre, so had a good view of the way ahead - driving standards are scary as vehicles wander over the centre reservations, overtake in narrow gaps. Once clear of the main town, the traffic drops off significantly. Drove past the place which had been the epicentre of the last earthquake and also the cemeteries of those killed - separate graveyards for the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Area very arid but scenic and roads were generally very good. Encountered a couple of herds of goats crossing the road. First stop was for a briefing (mainly for those in the other cars from Abdi), to tell us where we would be going. Then it was into the village of Amla and to their "Botanic Gardens" - really a large cottage garden with different types of plants grown there. The house is a co-operative run by women who do a lot of craft work, make produce from the plants in the gardens. The young lady who showed us around (Naham) also had a good command of English and had learnt it partly at school and partly through watching films. We were shown the different plants, including the Argon tree before sitting in a shaded area to be served mint tea (delicious) and a type of unleavened Naan bread with several bowls of different honeys - Argon, almond butter (texture of peanut butter but chocolate in colour), carob, orange, lemon, eucalyptus, honeycomb and Atlas - all very different in taste and texture. We were then shown how oil is produced from the Argon nut. We then drove to a viewpoint over an oasis. We could walk down to the bridge (20-minute walk along a mainly gentle slope, but it is the main highway, so cars do appear at speed). Passed local craft shops and houses with their donkeys/mules grazing nearby. Not too much water in the river and oasis, but we were told that the water can come over the road when it rain. Those who felt unable to walk could go in the jeeps.

Back into the jeeps through more of the river course until a suitable place found to stop and have our packed lunches. Again, an option after lunch to do a walk to the next bridge (20-minute walk on fairly level terrain), or get a lift in the jeeps. Quite dramatic erosion, where there was evidence of the distortion caused by earth tremors and the movement of the plates. Normally the tour would go further into the valley to see some fossils but we couldn't do this because of the stop to have packed lunch. After the final walk, it was back in the jeeps and retracing the route to Amla and then back to Agadir by a different road - through villages which are still being built, as are the roads.

The weather in the valleys was HOT - about 27-28 degrees, but in Agadir itself, it was a lot cooler at 20 degrees, as well as being hazy and windy.
CRUISES BOOKED:
Spirit of Discovery - Dec 2020, Dec 2021
Spirit of Adventure - September 2020, March 2021, June 2021, October 2021
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Re: Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby JollyJill » 13 Mar 2014 22:14

Thanks for that Lesley.

We did a Jeep excursion when we were in Agadir courtesy of a Fred Olsen excursion. It was very different to yours but still a fantastic day. Glad you enjoyed yours too. :)
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Re: Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby hazel20 » 14 Mar 2014 08:40

I think I fancy doing this one now I have read your account!
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2020 - Balmoral - USA in the Fall - a minimal chance
2021 - 2 legs of Spirit of Discovery to South America
2021 - Coastlines of Croatia - Sept SofD
2021 - Canaries - Nov SofA
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Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby grannyM » 14 Mar 2014 10:14

Sounds like a very good day out Lesley. Thanks for posting this. :D
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Re: Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby MartinPLee » 23 Jul 2015 14:59

"Arriving in Agadir, Morocco to bright sunshine, I was lucky to have been asked to escort the morning tour to Imouzzer Paradise Valley by Jeep. This tour is new to Saga and well worth undertaking. We left the quayside in two large Toyota Land Cruisers which coped with the mountain roads admirably. Our guide was the amusing Ahmed, a mature gentleman without teeth but with excellent self-taught English. He wore a white, full length gown with vivid blue head scarf and carried a carved wooden stick with which to point things out to us. Our first photo stop gave us a panorama of a valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains dotted with the famous argan trees and odd herds of goats. Next up was a curio shop, overlooking a palm oasis on the river, packed to the gunnels with plates, metalwork and fossils; the latter including both small trilobites and enormous ammonites one yard across! This stop also afforded us with our first up close view of an argan tree loaded with beans. We then drove up into the Atlas Mountains proper, entering the majestic Paradise Valley, which I would call a gorge. We saw lots of fish but only one lumionous blue kingfisher, a couple also saw terrapins in the warm water. Half way up we got out and ambled alongside the bubbling brook for half an hour in the glorious sunshine."

"Driving back down the gorge, Ahmed bought fresh oranges for us all to refresh ourselves with. Time for me to dispense the cold, eucalyptus-scented towels! Our next stop was at a Berber Co-operative where we were given mint tea and pieces of bread to dip into the famous argan oil and various local honeys. My favourite was the honey collected by bees from orange blossom. We were shown how the argan beans are dried on the flat roof, smashed open by hand with two rocks and the slim almond-like seed thus extracted. These are then compressed to release the valuable oil. At the back of the building we were able to enjoy a beautiful botanic garden with Mediterranean scented plants like rosemary and desert plants like agave, cactus and euphorbia. Back on the coast we had our final photo stop overlooking the port for us to take photographs of the Saga Sapphire glistening in the bright sunshine. This is a tour that I will long remember!"
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Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby Borneo » 23 Jul 2015 17:29

Now that sounds good . Pity we missed it. Went to a cultural show! And that my friends makes me say I wouldn't want to go to Morocco again. Just goes to show it all depends on what you chose .
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Re: Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby khkate » 24 Jul 2015 12:44

MartinPLee wrote:"Arriving in Agadir, Morocco to bright sunshine, I was lucky to have been asked to escort the morning tour to Imouzzer Paradise Valley by Jeep. This tour is new to Saga and well worth undertaking. "


I wonder how long Saga can call a tour new, when we did exactly the same tour in January 2013. However, I must agree that it is a superb experience and we still recall it with many happy memories. Ahmed is quite a character - apparently learnt his English (as do a lot of the locals) from films and also from visiting cruise ships.

On our last visit to Agadir, we also did the folklore show, and whilst enjoyable, it is not something I would want to do again. The jeep safari tour I could easily do again - it definitely provides a better idea of traditional life and it is less touristy than other places visited when in Agadir or Morocco - still unspoilt - and hope it stays that way.
CRUISES BOOKED:
Spirit of Discovery - Dec 2020, Dec 2021
Spirit of Adventure - September 2020, March 2021, June 2021, October 2021
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Morocco - Immouzzer Paradise Valley by jeep

Postby Gillzajoker » 24 Jul 2015 14:40

All very interesting, Lesley :D
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