Visit Itzer for a Traditional Berber Experience
The lovely little town of Itzer is located in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco. It can be reached by taxi, with roads leading from Azrou, Zeida, Midelt and Boumia. There are a number of scenic trekking trails that are very accessible from the town and Itzer is often used as a base to explore the surrounding areas at leisure.
Trekking in the mountains, forests and valleys surrounding Itzer can be a very rewarding experience. The view from the plateau that overlooks the town includes the nearby volcano, as well as the beginning of the majestic High Atlas mountain range. On Saturday mornings, Itzer is buzzing with activity as the regional souq draws merchants and customers to bargain with one another over everything from livestock to garments, fresh produce to carpets. This is the perfect opportunity for visitors to try out traditional foods such as ‘makoda’ – fried potato cakes, served on fresh soft bread and garnished with spicy sauce, washed down with generous quantities of mint tea.
Visitors to Itzer are given the opportunity of staying with Berber families in their homes, where they can gain insight into the daily lives of the local Berber people – interacting with family members, enjoying traditional Moroccan food, visiting the local hammam (bathhouse), and observing the skilful manufacture of traditional crafts. Stunning Berber carpets are completely hand-made, as they have been for generations, and these are marketed through the town’s artisan association (Atlas Fil et Couleur), providing an essential source of income to the town. Woven from the wool of local sheep, which is dyed using locally grown plants such as madder, marigold, henna, pomegranate and chamomile, these intricately patterned carpets are much sought after for their quality of workmanship and uniqueness. Paintings, sculptures and other crafts are also available through the artisan association and these often depict local scenes and activities, making them an excellent souvenir to take home as a reminder of a visit to this charming little town in magical Morocco.