Journeys with themes
TRANSHUMANCE OF THE SAGHRO DEJBEL TO THE ATLAS
8 or 15 days
The tribe of Ait Atta (nomadic Berber of djebel Saghro) still practises the transhumance in its traditional style. Every year in May, families load their stuff on dromedaries, donkeys and mules, push their herds of goats and sheeps following mountainous paths upward Atlas in search of the freshness and the food for their animals.
During our stay together with the Berber family, we are going to take their route, walk with their rhythm and with the one of the herds, by sharing the big moments of this first experience. This close relation will allow us to discover the traditions of the Berber nomads.
This trip takes place twice a year, in May and in September.
Extract of a narrative concerning the journey of :
THE TRANSHUMANCE IN MOROCCO :
…. An experience of outstanding journey, rich in feelings, in luxurious landscapes….
We were 12 walkers (8 French people and 4 Germans), all loving mountains, happy to participate, thanks to the initiative of Hassan OULACADI (mountain and desert guide in Morocco), at the transhumance of nomads' family of the Morrocan South. We had this privilege, to live strong and unique moments.
- The hike : the "trek" began at N' Kob, desert town in the southeast of Ouarzazate. We crossed the djebel Saghro, the Dades valley, crossed passes, followed rivers, walked under a blazing sun in oueds, to reach the High Atlas, near the dried lake by Izourar: place of pasture during the summer for the Aît Atta tribe, 11 days of walking rhythmed by the leader of the nomads and the herd: 380 goats, 50 sheeps, 12 dromedaries, 3 donkeys and 4 dogs!
- The meeting : our hosts welcomed us under their tent in black angora wool, having sacrificed a kid to mark our arrival and the beginning of the transhumance (every year in May: date defined according to the lunar calendar. We introduced each other by tasting the meat roasted in the campfire, accompanied with the traditional mint tea. The family, stemming from the tribe of Aît Atta consists of: Idir, the head of the family ("the former"): 70 years, he practised the transhumance during all his life, his wife Aîcha and their 6 children (from 4 to 14 years). Lahcen, the elder son is a member of our muleteers' team, in charge of the transport of our equipment. All of them are berbers.
- The discovery :
♦ of the traditions of this tribe: we had to meet every evening, under the marabout tent with Idir and Addi (the leader of the muleteers) for a Berber chronicle, by drinking the tea. The formers told the story of their tribe, how they fought to obtain their place of pasture; they explained us their way of life, how get organized the celebrations (the marriage, the circumcision), how the Berber look after themselves in the mountains….Every evening, an episode, an anecdote keeping us in suspense, a religious listening followed by translations in French then in German: sessions like the European parliament!!
♦ of landscapes highly varied: the basalt peaks and the needles sculptured by the erosion of Djebel Saghro, the magnificent villages in pisé of the Dades valley, the green and flowery pastures of the High Atlas and some summits still covered with snow.
♦ of the flora (palm trees, date palms in Saghro, junipers, mountain flowers) and the fauna (golden eagle, sleepy scorpions!...)
♦ of the Moroccan cooking and the culinary traditions of the nomads (the cooked bread in the stone or in the improvised oven).
- The initiation : in the shepherdess's hard job… know how to recognize his herd, locate every goat or sheep, find the "rebels” and keep them around, choose the route favorable to their food, master the throw of pebbles to gather all the animals!
…. And the family solidarity : each has his own role and respects the work of the other one (the essential role of the woman)
- The sharing with our hosts and our muleteers of simple but intense moments, like the tasting of the still warm bread, the songs and dances in the evening around the fire, the games with the children (and their laughter), and the possibility to communicate without speaking the same language.
- The dream …. of a less difficult life for this family and the hope to perpetuate these traditions…. InchAllah ….