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img_4994EXPLORE FROM DAR GABRIEL

The town of Chefchaouen is a delight in itself. A medieval maze of mauve and turquoise alleys, it
bustles with looms and carpentry, aroma and colour.

Look up from the Medina to the peaks which stand like guardians above the town (Chefchaouen means ‘look at the peaks’) and you get a hint of the hinterland, the Rif mountains from which the community originates. These ranges are well worth exploring. Chaouen lies between two Natural Parks, Tallasemtane and Bouhachem. Dar Gabriel offers excursions to both.

img_4529Tour 1: ‘The Medina’

An introduction to the ancient medina of Chefchaouen.

 

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Price: 200dh

Level: Easy

Minimum number of people: 2

 

The old walled city of Chefchaouen is a delight. A medieval maze of mauve and turquoise alleys, it bustles with carpet looms and carpentry, aroma and colour. We set out on foot from Dar Gabriel, cross the medina to where the river – the town’s water supply – rushes out of the mountains (Ras el Ma) – then onto the main plaza ‘Uta el Hammam, the heart of Chaouen and home of the Kasbah and the main mosque. The loop back to Dar Gabriel walks through the passages of tiny shops, hidden mosques, eateries and hammams.

This tour is a wonderful taste of the medina, and a great way to orientate yourself and get your bearings.

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Tour 2: ‘The Higher Ground’

Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Price: 300dh

Level: moderate

Minimum number of people: 2

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This walk takes us out and above the town. Fantastic views over all of Chefchaouen and the surrounding ranges.

We leave Dar Gabriel by the gateway named ‘Bab souk’ – the site of a teeming fruit and vegetable market on Mondays and Thursdays. Climbing the hill to the north of the Medina, the view unfold.  We re-enter the old walls just above Ras el Ma, then cross the river. A well used country trail leaves the town behind, taking us to a recently restored Mosque on a spectacular promontory, again with wonderful views. We descend steeply through a cemetery, from where we walk up stream past gardens and cafes to re-enter the medina at Ras el Ma.

Tour 3: ‘The Al Kalaa Eco lodge’

Duration: 5 – 6 hours

Price (with taxi):250DH PP

Level: Moderate to Challenging

Minimum number of people: 2

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We leave Dar Gabriel and Chaouen, heading north. The route traverses the open shoulder of the Riff and can be walked or driven as far as the Berber village of Al Kalaaa. (3 km). From Al Kalaa we take a footpath up into the hills for 30 minutes. This trail leads us to the eco lodge, home of AHMAD – a unique and beautiful retreat with stunning vistas of a wide valley and the Bouachem massif beyond. Here we eat, drink tea and relax before returning to Chaouen.

Tour 4: Akchour (one day)

Duration: All Day

Price (with taxi): Contact us

Level: Challenging

Minimum number of people: 2

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A day’s walk to Akchour, Tallasemtane, leaving Dar Gabriel on foot.

 

This route traverses the open shoulder of the Rif through pasture and cultivated land with impressive views of wide valleys and ranges beyond. The trail passes through three remote Berber villages, which offer an insight into rural Maroc, as well as welcome glasses of mint tea!

 

From the last of these villages, el Xalaa, the trail drops steeply through Pine and Juniper forest into the Oued Laou valley, from where we walk the last stretch to Akelour, where there are river pools in which to bathe or refresh at bamboo tea houses on its bank. Return to Dar Gabriel in a taxi.

 

Tour 5: God’s Bridge

Duration: Short Day

Price (with taxi): from 400DH

Level: Moderate though steep

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Explore the mountains and waterfalls of Akchour, and reach the summit of the mountain where there is a natural bridge over the chasm known as the God’s Bridge.


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