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  • Michelle
      United States of America
    January 24, 2014

    This was an amazing experience; the most authentic of our whole trip. We arrived in Boulemane at night, expecting that to be the location of the guesthouse, but when we stopped at a gas station to ask where it was, we learned that it was actually in Ifkern, a tiny town about 25 to minutes away. We started towards Ifkern and hit dense fog, luckily Mellouki came driving around looking for us and guided us back to the guesthouse. This was an authentic Middle Atlas farm where the Mellouki family resides. They have a couple of rooms for guests. They invited us to have cookies & tea and sit and watch soccer with their family in their family room after we arrived. Even though we could not really communicate (the Mellouki family only spoke French, Berber, & Arabic (i think), and we only speak English), they were so kind and tried their best to communicate. Our host did speak a tiny bit of English, enough to communicate a few basics. One of the crops that they farm is Saffron and they had some interesting pictures of the farming/harvesting process. The room was spacious and had two double beds. There was a space heater (although it could not produce enough heat in late Dec. to warm the room significantly). The restrooms were squat toilets and were not heated. In the morning we got up and they invited us to have breakfast with their family in their kitchen. It was so great to see our food cooked right in front of us (that wonderful fried flat bread!) and enjoy it with a Moroccan family in their home. It was a wonderful, delicious breakfast. The location is pretty out in the middle of nowhere, which we loved. It is also pretty close to Immouzer Marmoucha, which was a cute little town on top of a ridge above a gorge with big waterfalls and lots of hiking possibilities....with NO tourists in sight! Not sure why no one knows about Immouzer Marmoucha, but it wasn't in the guidebooks and wasn't in a lot of places online either.

    A couple of recommendations. If you don't speak French, Berber, or Arabic, this might not be the best place for you to stay (depending upon how much being able to communicate matters to you). I think Mellouki felt really bad that he could not be as good of a host as he wanted because we could not really communicate very well. If you go here in winter, bring a warm sleeping bag and heavy winter clothes. Even with the space heater, our room was VERY cold at night and it was extremely cold to get up and go to the unheated bathroom. We still felt the authentic experience was worth enduring the cold, but we were definitely uncomfortably cold that night, huddled together in a bed wearing every piece of clothing we brought. I think in the summer it would be perfectly comfortable and a great home base for some hiking around Immouzer Marmoucha.

    8.8

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