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Aguelmam Azegza, a Hidden Paradise

Aguelmame-azegza

After almost two years living in Morocco, I had ticked off the vast majority of the touristic cities on the list, so I decided it was time to try something different. We were travelling on a low budget and we just had four days, so our options were limited: no expensive accommodation and an easy-to-reach destination. A friend of a friend had told us about this beautiful lake in the middle of the mountains. I actually did a bit of research on Instagram and he seemed to be right. Apparently, it was very easy to get there with public transport, and since we would be lost in the middle of nature, there were no other accommodation options but camping, and that suited us perfectly! I’m talking about Aguelmam, a natural lake just 30 km away from the city of Khenifra.

Aguelmam-Azegza-travel-to-morocco

We took a bus from Sale on a Thursday afternoon. This was the only option available if we wanted to go straight to Khenifra. The ride, as we expected, was long, and after what felt like an eternity (actually just 6 hours), we arrived in Khenifra. It was pouring rain, we didn’t know exactly how to get to Aguelmam and we were starving, so our first stop was a café where we filled our stomachs and charged our phones. We were hesitant about our plan since it was late already and it hadn’t stopped raining, but the waiter there convinced us to stick to our plan and gave us all the indications to reach the lake.

Aguelmam-Azegza-monkey

We were told to hop on an urban bus until the last stop which was in the outskirts of Khenifra. Once we were there, we’d find people who would take us to our destination for a fair price. It was starting to get dark and no one else was going to Aguelmam, so yes, we found a car very quickly but not for such a fair price.

Once we got there, I realised the place wasn’t as I expected. Yeah, it was in the middle of nowhere but it was full of locals living there! Was it as beautiful as they said? No idea, I’d have to wait for the morning light. We could have camped anywhere, but the locals had also arranged some clean and well located spots where we could set our tents for a good price. We couldn’t say no, it was dark and we were too tired. So once we had set our tents, we went straight to sleep.

The morning after I unzipped the tent to the most beautiful view: a big blue water lake surrounded by cedar trees. And there, in such an amazing spot, we started to cook breakfast.

Heads-up: if you go to Aguelmam not so well prepared (like me), don’t panic, the locals can provide you with all you might need: eggs, bread, msemen, tea, fresh milk, homemade tajins, etc. they have set some tents in case you have no camping equipment and there’s even a stand where you can charge your devices!!

After a nicely cooked breakfast we decided to explore our new home for the weekend. We spent hours walking around the lake where there were lots of sheep and donkeys running free, we swam in the lake and walked through the wild forest. Before the sunset, we decided to head back to our tent to start cooking our own tajin for dinner. Right after that, we sat next to the bonfire for a bit prior to bedtime. I was there in June, but keep in mind that it gets cold during the night.

We started our second morning with the new routine which we already loved: homemade breakfast with an amazing view. After that, we decided to go hiking to reach the summit of the mountain where we would have amazing views of the lake. We had to ask a shepherd since the paths were kind of confusing. The way up there was not really tough, it took us 3 hours but it was totally worth it, the views were even better than expected. The way back was way shorter since we took a shortcut. The highlight of the journey? Monkeys running free everywhere! We brought some bread with us to feed them so we could get closer to them. Once we got back we headed to the lake to have a well-deserved swim during the sunset before making dinner.

By Labib Lahdad

That was our 3rd and last night in Aguelmam. It was a short but intense experience which I highly recommend to everyone even if camping is not your thing. It’s a great opportunity to disconnect, to get away from the massive cities packed with tourists and overall, to discover Morocco from a different perspective.

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