It’s September on the south side of The High Atlas and cold, winter has just reminded us that it is but a stone’s throw away by blasting, albeit briefly, the land with a hail storm, before allowing the warmth of the African sun to bathe us in its glorious light once more.
The valleys up here have beautiful lakes that reflect the blue of the sky, a blue that is of such a colour and depth it is hard to believe it’s real. These lakes are shrouded in Berber Folklore and it is said that they were formed by the tears of two thwarted lovers.
Overlooking one of these azure lakes (Lac Tislit) is an Auberge offering a warm calm space, shielding the traveller from the wildness of this mountainous landscape. The welcome you get as you walk up towards the doors is that typically Moroccan one of smiles and open arms. Once inside your gaze is drawn to the sight of a rather incongruous looking barrel with a thick steel chimney reaching up to the roof. As you approach its warmth hits you and it is very welcome.
Soon after the warmth has brought cold fingers back to life the ubiquitous glass of sweet Moroccan tea is thrust into your hands, accompanied with a bowl of sweet almonds that have come from the trees growing down by the lake.
Once a brand new road with tarmac on was built to ease the passage from the historic nearby town of Imichil to the plains below the High Atlas but as is so often the case here in Africa, Mother Nature has used heavy rains and strong winds to rip it apart so the route is slowly turning back to the rough piste that once snaked its way down the mountain, keeping the Auberge with a certain mystery and remoteness that befits this part of the World.