Travelers who enjoy off-the-beaten-track destinations will find the Ameln Valley in Morocco an absolute pleasure to explore. Located north of Tafraoute in the Tiznit Province of the Souss-Massa-Drâa region, the Ameln Valley has the majestic Jebel el Kest as a backdrop, with gold and copper colored terrain punctuated with patches of green cultivated land watered by springs and irrigation canals. The valley has twenty-six villages hugging the lower slopes of Jebel el Kest, each with their unique characteristics and worth spending some time in.
The village of Oumesnat consists of an assortment of houses many of which are built on top of the remains of older crumbling constructions and some of which are propped up on stilts as they cling to the rock face. Visitors to the village should seek out La Maison Traditionelle where the resident Berber family offers fascinating insight into the culture and daily living routines of the villagers.
Anameur is located at the source of natural spring, while the village of Tazoulte has an ancient Jewish cemetery which may be of historical interest. It may be noted that, although the Jewish community left the area some years ago, much of the silverware in the region has Jewish symbols inscribed on it as they were traditionally the silversmiths of the region.
The highest village of the Ameln Valley is Tagoudiche, or Tagdichte. The road is rough and best traveled by 4×4 or on foot, but the view is worth the effort. Up past the village is a black igneous dyke (crystalized molten rock) and a pilgrimage site. Just north, past the sparsely populated village of Tirnmatmat, there are rock carvings of hunters and animals that are believed to be prehistoric. There is also a trekking route along the ridge south of the village which offers spectacular views of the Ameln Valley.
One of the more popular ways of exploring the valley is on foot, as the distances between villages are not too daunting. Alternatively, bicycles or taxis can be hired. Rock climbing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities available on the primarily quartzite rock face of Jebel el Kest and Adrar Mkorn. There is no accommodation in the villages, and it’s generally a good idea to use Tafraoute as a base when exploring Ameln Valley.