This Day Trip sees Fes Desert Trips take you up into the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains to visit the quaint town of Sefrou and the unique village of Bhalil. Fes Desert Trips, driver will pick you up after breakfast at 10 am from your hotel or riad to begin a memorable day.
Firstly, you shall visit Bhalil, situated at the edge of the mountain range, picturesquely perched on the edge of a hillside, off the main road, so not on the usual tourist route. Bhalil is renowned for its incredible cave dwellings situated in the oldest part of the village and also for its brightly coloured houses, interconnected by a series of mountain bridges. Several of these cave houses are open to visitors but take your chance while you can as, sadly, these fascinating homes are fast disappearing as the village modernizes which may also see the disappearance of the local craftsmen working in the streets at their handicrafts or preparing the crops grown locally. The caves had a practical function as they stay cool in the heat of the summer and keep out the worst of the cold in the mountain winter.
Helpful and friendly local guides are happy to show you around for a small fee. The village is also famous as a manufacturing centre for jellaba buttons and you can see the village women in the alleys just off the main street, gossiping as they work their way carefully through piles of cotton and buttons to produce unique and beautiful traditional jellabas. Bhalil is also famous for it's traditional bread ovens and the production of olive oil, both of which you'll be able to see. The view from the top of the village is breathtaking, a panorama of the green valley below and attractive hilltops.
The second stop will be at beautiful Sefrou town, on the main road and thus now a regular tourist attraction due to its proximity with Fes, less than 30 km distant. It is a very peaceful and relaxed place, part of its charm and one of the reasons for its popularity after the hustle and bustle of Fes.
Sefrou was originally a Jewish settlement, until the arrival of Islam in the 8th Century, but the communities existed harmoniously together for hundreds of years and you will be able to visit the Jewish quarter or mellah, and make your way through the narrow, twisting alleyways with their unique building designs and see the traders, Jewish cemetery and the synagogue too.
The we walk on into the quaint, whitewashed, ancient medina, with it's simple built houses yet with a very unusual style of terrace, and enjoy the clean, fresh feel provided by the river Aggai that passes through the middle of the town. The town is over 900 metres above sea level and every spring this river becomes a raging torrent which can be a danger to the buildings and surrounding farmlands but does wash away the rubbish which the locals fill it with during the dry summer months. Bridges, too narrow for cars, cross over the river at various points in the town.
You will also visit the charming, well known waterfalls near the town. Due to it's geographical position, Sefrou is an excellent area for agriculture and every June hosts a rather wonderful cherry festival, which celebrates the cherry harvest, and is internationally famous. It is due to this festival that Sefrou has been designated a UNESCO non material Heritage Site. Other festivals in Sefrou occur for the Prophet Daniel, who is said to be buried in a cave near the town, the 17th century saint Sidi Lahcen Ben Ahmed, and has pilgrimages to his tomb in August, and also for Lalla Rekiah, her spring is in the town and its waters are reputed to cure madness. The area around the shrine of Sidi Ali Bousserghine offers a spectacular panoramic view over the area At the end of a wonderful day, your driver from Fes Desert Trips will return you to Fes where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.
PRICE INCLUDES :
- Transport in a comfortable A/C vehicle (a 4x4 or Mini Van).
- Pick up and drop off at your accommodation.