KASBAHS – stay in one before it melts

A fairytale sandcastle, melting into the desert.

A fairytale sandcastle, melting into the desert.

We’ve never been to Morocco before, so everything seems wonderfully exotic. And our first night’s accommodation is extraordinary.

Okay, we’re not actually staying in the ruin above – that’s just part of the view from the parking lot.

Here’s the view from the terrace where dinner is served. You need to click on the photo to get the full effect…

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

Kasbah Itran is one of numerous castles dotted through Morocco. Every Berber village of any size has one, erected by the richest family in town, not only to show off to the neighbours, but also to offer a defensive position. So the kasbah is often perched on a vantage point.

Nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

Nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Kasbahs were originally constructed of mud and straw and require regular re-daubing to keep them in shape. Otherwise they melt in the rain. In many cases they are then just abandoned, as the family constructs a more durable and presumably more comfortable modern dwelling from cement bricks.

For visitors like us, we can enjoy the sight of the kasbah ruins (isn’t any ruined castle more photogenic than a restored one?) and when they are habitable, they’re ideal places to stay – offering charm, traditional Moroccan design, history, and usually a balcony with a view.

Kasbah Itran, in the Ouarzazate region a six hour drive from Marrakesh, has been restored by a couple of Spaniards and a Berber family and opened for business in 2002. It comes highly recommended by some of our Dutch friends and we love it at first sight.

First impressions...

First impressions…

...the front door...

…the front door…

...the lobby...

…the lobby…

...attention to detail...

…attention to detail…

...the bedroom (with ensuite bathroom and 'normal' toilet - phew!)

…the bedroom (with ensuite bathroom and ‘normal’ toilet – phew!)

...and dinner is served.

…and dinner is served.

As well as being a place to stay, Kasbah Itran organises trekking and other activities for guests, including our adventure from my previous post

The mules are following my hiking companions and I'm following the mules. One of them has my backpack, with keys, passport and mobile phone. Time to get a move on!

The mules are following my hiking companions and I’m following the mules. One of them has my backpack, with keys, passport and mobile phone. Time to get a move on!

I must also mention the exceptional kindness of hosts Mohammed and Omar who looked after our injured friend when she had to abandon our trek and spend a few unscheduled nights in Kasbah Itran.

For further details and to contact Kasbah Itran, click HERE.

1 Comment

Filed under Hiking

One response to “KASBAHS – stay in one before it melts

  1. Absolutely gorgeous, Richard!

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