Nomads Festival: An Event You Won’t Want to Miss

A lot of people visiting Morocco are interested in learning more about the nomadic people living in the desert. The desert is home to both Berbers and Saharawi nomads, the Saharawi nomads being the most well-known and easily recognized with their striking blue dress. It is not difficult to figure out why they have been nicknamed the ‘blue men’. Every year these nomadic people gather together to participate in a massive festival known as the Nomads Festival.

The Nomads Festival in Morocco is based in and around the small village of M’Hamid. M’Hamid (El M’Hamid Ghizlane) is located about 90 km southeast of Zagora and is an interesting little town in itself. It is generally quite a busy place, bustling with trade of all sorts as people go about their daily business. However, it is also here once a year that the streets come alive with nomads from every corner of the country for the Nomads Festival. Though one might assume such a festival has been taking place for a long time already, it was only founded as recently as 2003. Thus it has been running long enough to be improved upon, but it is still finding its feet. The Nomads Festival in Morocco is not simply about nomads – it is about discovery, sharing, exchange, learning and reunion. It does have its roots steeped in nomadic tradition, but modern trends from around the globe are being drawn on so that dance, music, exhibitions and conferences have been drawn on to make it into a full-bodied festival that has something for everyone. There are also a wonderful variety of handicrafts on display for those looking for a bargain. A number of international artists from countries such as Spain, Brazil and France are also regularly invited to perform at the festival.

The larger part of the Nomads Festival actually takes place about 20 km away from M’Hamid. Here you will find an especially set-up nomadic camp filled with people of all kinds. If you are planning to attend you should definitely make the effort to arrange appropriate transport since the road is not always as straightforward and easy as one would like. But the festivities are well worth it, so make sure you don’t miss out on the Nomads Festival this year from 6 to 9 March 2009.