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My short visit to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains

Ait Bougmez valley

(trip April 2010)

Wild and grand valley situated in the Moroccan Atlas, east of Marrakech, surrounded by pyramidal hills, old public granaries built like fortresses, mountains eroded like canyons….In the middle runs the green ribbon of cultures irrigated by the “seguoias” (traditional canalization). Inhabited by the Berbers who cultivate this rich valley, mountains and green valleys mix together in a dazzling sight of colors.

Imposing mountains:

Fascinating sceneries those grand red mountains, standing out with remaining ribbons of snow and sprinkled with dark green dots made by small trees. Here and there, modest ochre hills spread with bushes, soften this wild landscape. Sunrises and sunsets create stripes of lights that stretch out, moving up or down the hills at light speed. The glowing red of the mountains and the yellow-ochre of the hills are incredibly beautiful.

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At the bottom of the mountains are the green cultures; or rather, there is thousand different greens: tender green, almond green, dark green, almost yellow green, powdery green… all shades of green are here!

Water is not rare in this Moroccan area: many streams run down from the mountains and are diverted and used to irrigate cultures with lengthy man-made canals and pipes. Many ponds and marshes where frogs and other small animals are found in profusion are making storks very happy.

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Bowed in the high plants and grass, women work and mow; they formed nice colorful dots in those fields, carrying their heavy loads of plants in large square of material on their back.

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