Morocco’s 100% solar village
Morocco’s 100% solar village: Is Morocco the new green destination? It could well be, for it was here that the very first 100% solar village on the African continent was recently inaugurated! In Id Mjahd, homes, schools, and other infrastructure are not connected to the power grid, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have electricity. After the installation of one of the world’s largest solar power plants at Noor, let’s move on to the solar village of Id Mjahd.
Many people take Morocco Tours to see the world’s largest solar power plant.
Morocco on the road to a green transition
As we already know from its gigantic solar farm, which is helping to make the country more energy self-sufficient, Morocco is determined to make a success of its energy transition. And the residents of Id Mjahd won’t deny it! The village, powered exclusively by solar energy, boasts a park of some thirty photovoltaic panels sufficient to cover the needs of around fifty inhabitants.
Considered a pilot project, the village was recently extended with a view to developing other projects, this time social ones.
An educational center to raise awareness of the energy transition
At the end of 2019, a new educational center was inaugurated in the village. Comprising a sports field, play area and several classrooms, the center aims to raise awareness of renewable energy issues among children aged 4 to 6. The young inhabitants of Id Mjahd and neighboring villages are invited to reflect on the future of our planet in parallel with their lessons. This social project is seen as essential by the local government, which is fully aware that it is future generations who will produce tomorrow’s renewable energies.
Meet the pioneers of solar energy
Morocco’s 100% solar village: As a traveler, visiting the Id Mjahd solar village gives you a completely different perspective on the energy transition. For some years now, this concrete project has been proving that solar energy works and represents a viable alternative to nuclear power plants. Of course, the country didn’t choose this form of energy by chance: with an average of 9 to 10 hours of sunshine a day in summer and almost 6 hours a day in winter, the yield is bound to be excellent. A visit to this pilot village is an opportunity to ask questions about solutions, and to witness the kingdom’s commitment to the environment and the various solutions for energy transition.
A step into Morocco’s future
And Morocco’s plans for environmental transition don’t stop there. The country has announced that it intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030. To achieve this, the region is banking not only on solar energy, but also on wind power. The plan is ambitious, but achievable: to ensure that renewable energies outstrip fossil fuels by 2030, increasing their share to 52% from around 42% today.
Authentic Experiences in Morocco
There is not one, but many ways to discover the different faces of Morocco. While some will focus on the wellness and nature aspects offered by the destination, others will prefer the authenticity of a stay close to the locals. And it’s for this variety of excursions that we asked our local expert to tell us about the authentic experiences to be had in Morocco, those that allow you to take a fresh look at a destination that’s already well known to the general public.
Spend a night in the desert
Morocco’s 100% solar village: Did you know that the gateway to the Sahara, the largest arid zone on our planet, is located not far from Marrakech? Here’s a chance to discover this 9 million km2 expanse of desert – almost the size of China – on an excursion you’re sure to remember for a long time to come! Contrary to popular belief, the desert offers an incredibly varied experience. I’ve put together a selection of campsites – from rustic to luxurious, depending on your preferences – where you can sleep in the desert under an incredibly pure, star-studded sky.
At the entrance to the desert, climb onto a camel and let your Berber guide lead the way. Your Berber guide will lead you to the magnificent sand dunes, where the sunset spectacle is breathtaking. At nightfall, join the camel drivers in lighting the fire and watching them bake bread under the ashes: a magical spectacle!
Mint tea on a riad terrace
Enjoying mint tea on a riad terrace is the very definition of the Moroccan dolce vita. As in China, mint tea is a veritable institution here, a time-honored tradition that represents a great opportunity to share good times with loved ones. On your vacation in Morocco, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to sample the national beverage, particularly in riads. These typical Moroccan houses, tucked away in the heart of the medinas, all boast a raised terrace. At least once during your trip, I recommend you sit down and order a mint tea. Most travelers to whom I recommend this authentic experience leave delighted to have been able to discover the art of Moroccan tea in perfect immersion. The subtle blend of flavors between tea and mint, the temperature of the water, the airy, picturesque service… It’s hard to remain indifferent.
Taste Essaouira’s famous fish
Morocco’s 100% solar village In Essaouira, I discovered a place where you can enjoy a tasty fish right off the boat, cooked and prepared right before your eyes. Without even mentioning the freshness of the products, this experience allows you to learn more about Morocco’s culinary traditions, and in particular about barbecued fish.
I invite you to begin this experience in the port of Essaouira, as dozens of boats return from the high seas in the morning with their nets full. Choose your meal from freshly caught lobster, sole, sardines, lobster, scorpion fish and squid, then watch them grill in the open air. No white tablecloths or grand cru to accompany your meal, but a unique opportunity to dive in and take part in the lively life of Essaouira’s port.
A traditional hammam
You don’t have to be a wellness enthusiast to enjoy a relaxing break during a trip to Morocco. And you’ll soon discover just how different traditional Moroccan hammams are from the much more expensive ones you’ll find in Europe. From Essaouira to Marrakech, via Fez, I’ll recommend different establishments to suit your desires. The program includes scrubs with natural products, invigorating steam baths, massages and typical oriental treatments… The hammam is a veritable institution in Morocco, and you’ll find them in big cities and small villages alike.
One experience I love to share with travelers is the hammam in a mountain gîte. Imagine…. After a long day walking in the wilderness, you relax your muscles and enjoy a hammam heated with wood and waste. Some gîtes also offer Oriental massages using natural products typical of the region.
Sharing the life of mountain dwellers
In Morocco, it’s not really possible to stay with local people. In fact, what is commonly referred to as a “homestay” is more akin to a family guesthouse: you stay with the locals, but in a building attached to their home. I like to offer this type of experience to travellers in search of authenticity. In the mountains, for example, you can take part in local daily life by helping to prepare meals, learning how to bake traditional Moroccan bread or observing the techniques involved in making mint tea. This type of accommodation is ideal for immersing yourself in Moroccan life and meeting new people. It’s also the only type of accommodation that combines intimacy, comfort and authenticity in places that are often little-known in Morocco.
What to do in Morocco?
Morocco’s 100% solar village: A vacation in Morocco is always a unique experience, even after dozens of trips to the Maghreb. The folkloric atmosphere of a souk, the tranquillity of a garden, the flavours of the local gastronomy… here are our ideas if you’re wondering what to do in Morocco during your stay!
Visit Morocco’s 10 most beautiful cities
Marrakech, the imperial city, Chefchaouen, the blue pearl or Essaouira, the city of the trade winds… so many poetic names to define Morocco’s most beautiful cities. With their historic centers, architectural beauties and not-to-be-missed addresses, each city is unique and unlike any other. In the north, you’ll be dazzled by the Andalusian-inspired buildings, in the south you’ll plunge into the atmosphere of 1,000 and one nights, and in the east you’ll be seduced by the charm of the seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast. Visit our selection of the most beautiful cities to enjoy all that Morocco has to offer for the city traveler.
Discover Moroccan gastronomy
It’s hard to talk about Morocco without mentioning its culinary specialties. Here, all the senses are tantalized by dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious! Colorful colors, spicy smells and oriental flavors you won’t soon forget. It’s impossible to leave Morocco without trying the famous couscous (on Fridays!), tajine, pastilla, msemens and briouates. On the sweet side, try amlou for breakfast or Moroccan pastries such as gazelle horns or chebakhia. And last but not least, we can’t talk about Moroccan specialties without mentioning the traditional mint tea. A drink of welcome and hospitality, it is the perfect end to a good Moroccan meal, and is hard to resist. Traditionally prepared by the family “chef”, it can be enjoyed at any time of day.
Explore the wonders of nature in the national parks
Beyond the cities, it’s Moroccan nature that makes the country so charming. Morocco boasts numerous national parks. The landscapes are varied and typical, with a humid climate and dense fauna in the north and the typical dryness of the desert in the south. For hiking enthusiasts, mountains cover more than two-thirds of Morocco’s territory, including the highest peak in North Africa: Mount Toubkal. Whether you like photography, hiking or admiring the flora and fauna, Morocco’s national parks will enchant you!
Bringing back handicrafts from a souk
Morocco’s 100% solar village: Souks vary in size from town to town, but they all bring together local craftsmen and traders. Arm yourself with your sense of direction and bargaining skills and head for this meeting place so typical of the country. Meet the artisans, admire their precise work and take home one of their creations directly from their workshop. Pottery, tanning, mosaics, textiles, paintings, glassware, spices, copper, henna, jewelry… you’re bound to find something! Each souk is unique, and Moroccan craftsmen are the guardians of sumptuous know-how and the living heritage of Moroccan culture. Please note that some souks are only open a few days a week, so check the opening times.
Book a camel, 4×4 or quad tour
The kingdom is huge, and there are plenty of options for visiting Morocco. One of the things to do is to book a camel tour or, for driving enthusiasts, a 4×4 or quad. There are numerous routes to choose from, including rocky tracks, deserts, green valleys and oases. You can do it alone, as a couple, with friends or even as a family! Southern Morocco is a real paradise, with the Dades Gorges, the Sahara dunes and the Drâa Valley. From the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, you can explore the pink granite of Tafraout, the Paradise Valley, white beaches and wild lagoons.
Relax in the hammam
Originating in Roman times, the hammam quickly became one of the pillars of Muslim tradition, and was adapted to the principles of worship. Today, the hammam is a real meeting place, but above all a place to relax. It’s a steam bath that can be found in every city. To enjoy the benefits of the hammam, you need to stay for a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 1 hour. You lie down on the floor or on the marble benches, while a Kessala (the name given to the women who perform scrubs in hammams) applies black soap to your body. We then exfoliate with a Kessa glove to remove impurities. After a thorough rinse, Rhassoul (Moroccan clay) can be applied to cleanse the body, leaving it soft and supple. The treatment ends with a mint tea, and/or even a massage. Traditional hammams separate men and women, but in recent years mixed hammams have emerged to meet the demands of tourists.
Sunbathing on one of Morocco’s beautiful beaches
Morocco’s 100% solar village: With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Morocco’s Atlantic coast is the perfect place to extend your summer, or to treat yourself to a dose of vitamin D in the middle of winter. With this Caribbean-like weather, Morocco has developed some incredible seaside resorts. More Mediterranean than ocean? The choice is yours: Morocco’s high-quality coastline offers sublime, unspoilt beaches with breathtaking scenery, such as Legzira and its glowing cliffs. If you prefer family beaches, head for Agadir or Essaouira. Morocco’s beaches are a reflection of the country: beautiful and diverse! For fans of board sports, Morocco has been known for its surfing spots since the 80s, and more recently for its… kitesurfing spots! Thanks to the trade winds that blow along the entire Atlantic coast, Morocco is the perfect place for a surfing vacation, with sailing and surfing conditions that are safe and accessible to all.
Morocco’s most beautiful oases
An oasis is an island of land, suitable for vegetation and human habitation, lost in the middle of desert. In other words, it’s a little corner of life, in a place where life is normally impossible. True paradises of Mother Nature, oases are one of the kingdom’s natural treasures.
Covering an area of 77,000 km2, the Tafilalet region in southern Morocco is home to the world’s largest oasis, and surely one of its best-known. It is dispersed over around twenty communes in the area between the towns of Rissani and Erfoud, lost in a stony desert and crossed by the Oued Ziz. More than an oasis, it’s a collection of oases, with green islands covering the desert valleys as far as the eye can see, and a magnificent waterhole formed by an almost dried-up river. The most convenient places to visit are the villages of Tafilalet and Aoufous, hidden in the middle of a vast palm forest that you’d never think you’d find in the middle of the desert. Here, the precious water of this oasis enables the locals to farm despite the arid conditions of the Sahara. As a result, there are many fruit and cereal crops. Historically, this is a very important place for Morocco, as a trading point for spices and the birthplace of the Alaouite dynasty.
The Fint oasis
In Berber, “fint” means “hidden”, and it’s easy to see why when you discover this magical place hidden at an altitude of over 1,200 metres. Located around 20 kilometers from Ouarzazate, the Fint oasis is a green setting that stands out against the arid mountains characteristic of the region. Still little known to tourists, the Fint oasis is a veritable Garden of Eden, with fruit trees, vegetable crops and palm trees all around. Amazigh farmers live here and their houses blend into the landscape. It’s a haven of peace where women still wash their clothes in the stream. Nearby, take the opportunity to visit the pre-Saharan fortified earthen village of Aït-Ben-Haddou. Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987, Aït-Ben-Haddou is one of Morocco’s most beautiful sites, and has been used as a backdrop for numerous film shoots, including Gladiator and Game of Thrones. You’ll need a full day to explore this oasis and historic center, home to numerous buildings and even a dinosaur cemetery.
Not far from the Fint oasis is one of the most beautiful oases in the area, 160 km from Ouarzazate: the Zagora oasis. Known for its valley dotted with palm trees, fruit trees, market gardens and sublime adobe villages. The frontier of south-west Morocco and former stronghold of the Almovarids, Zagora is the last town before the Sahara desert, and a good base camp for your adventures in the wilderness.
Morocco’s 100% solar village This verdant valley, situated at the crossroads of two mountain ranges, stretches for 30 km in a dry, vegetation-free environment. Its cultivated fields and palette of green colors contrast sharply with the dry, red rocks that surround it. Home to 44,000 inhabitants, the area is laid out with canals for cultivation. You can also admire beautiful clay and earthen buildings, which only add to the natural charm. Take the opportunity to visit the Todra canyon, with its vertiginous walls climbing up to 160 meters. It’s also a world-famous climbing spot.