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With some time to spare before lunch on the Sunday, I wandered round the award-winning Atlas Kasbah ecolodge. This was the brainchild and baby of Hassan and Hélène, our lovely hosts, and was opened in 2009. Here is a little more of its story.

From my door
Looking down into the internal courtyard
My room, called ‘Tigrite’, ‘Little star’ in Berber.
View from my room

One storey up was the roof terrace. Three of my companion couples had rooms in the corner towers.

Going down to the ground floor I took a peek unto the salon (French is the alternative language to Berber in Morocco), where if you enter you must remove your shoes.

Wandering outside, I found this lady, who had multiple roles in the establishment, making bread – heavenly to eat – in the traditional oven.

She turned it over and around every few seconds with her stick. It took a couple of minutes to cook one flat bread.

My last discovery was another roof terrace, this time covered, where I was told we would be having lunch shortly. Food for the week was Moroccan, copious and, I suspect, a little westernised. For instance, every time we came back from an excursion, we were greeted with a small glass of herb tea, only slightly sweetened, whereas the locals would have taken five times the amount of sugar.

After lunch we were to go for another walk, and I took this photo from the terrace in our intended direction, towards and into the older parts of the local village.

We set off. I just could not stop taking photos of our so photogenic home.

North African Chaffinch
Approaching the village, Tighanimine el Baz
Moussier’s Redstart (male)
Sardinian Warbler (male), photobombed by some other flying creature
Moroccan magpie. Note flash of blue behind its eye. It’s actually bare blue skin.
Black Wheatear
Little Owl
Dried-up river bed, of which we saw more during the week than those running with water.
Why these ants are moving larvae around on the oleander, I have no idea.
Dried and drying prickly pears, mainly
A cactus from Peru, not native to Morocco, Austrocylindropuntia subulata.
Turning back, impossible not to notice and take a photo of the lodge in the distance.
Castor oil plant and oleander
Castor oil plant flowers, and visitor
Sadly, there was a lot of rubbish around. Someone remarked that we used to live like that a couple of centuries ago. A couple of centuries ago we didn’t have plastic.

As I said to Philip, as we sat on a low wall waiting for the others to catch us up at one point, I felt it was good to start our week getting our local bearings, and not being isolated from the realities of Moroccan rural poverty. (I also felt it was good to get it over at the beginning of the week.)

Greenfinch. I snapped it because I never see them in my garden these days. They used to be so common.