Discovering the richness of the Moroccan Anti-Atlas

5 spaces
1200 €/p.
8 days

The landlocked village of the Feija tribe is considered to be one of the oldest in the Moroccan Anti Atlas. Here, time has stood still, ancestral traditions are still upheld and  respected as they have been for hundreds of years.

Traditional festivals periodically punctuate the life in the village. Here, women wear special clothes, called haïk; large wool panels, decorated with henna painted patterns that reflect the great symbolic richness of this territory. Berber women welcome visitors with great generosity, inviting us to immerse ourselves in the strength of the songs and the tempo of the drums.

Several wool fabric dyed with henna drying in the Anti Atlas mountains

The price includes

  • 5 days weaving and vegetable dying workshop. You will make one or more textile pieces in wool (approximative dimensions: 25 cm x 40 cm).
  • All supplies (loom, wool and dye plants).
  • Two half-board stays in Taroudant in small wooden guests huts in the pavilions of Marc & Zahia Belli’s garden of paradise.
  • Full board for 5 days in the village with the artisans. Please note that the conditions are basic: squat toilets and hammam as shower. Double or triple rooms are shared.
  • Transport between Marrakech and Taroudant back and forth.
  • Transport between Taroudant and the village back and forth.

Dates 2022

15/05 - 22/05
09/10 - 16/10

Day by day

Day-1 On the road

This village, located in the middle of vast arid expanses, is known only by rural Moroccans. To reach this magical and timeless place, you have to be patient…

Until 2001, the village was only accessible by a track, and people walked for several days to reach it. It is a true place of pilgrimage during the great religious festival of the year, the mûssem.

On day one, we will take the road from Marrakech to Taroudant, known as "the small Marrakech", and in this imperial town we will spend one night in an olive grove facing the majestic mountains of the High-Atlas.

Day-2 The awe

We will arrive at the village in the morning, where will will take time to acclimatize and begin to understand what makes the place tick.

We will start by observing the different stages in the making of a woven veil: carding, hand spinning and mounting the wool warp on a vertical loom. It is one of the few villages in Morocco in which women still spin by hand: a process which demands extraordinary finesse, patience and skill.

At the end of the day, we will go for a walk in the surrounding mountains, from which we will gain  a new perspective on the environment, drinking in the atmosphere and the colors of the village.

The area is arid and uncultivated, with only stone, rocks and a few palm trees for scenery. These mountains will be sources of inspiration to draw and imagine the pieces you want to make. The stone architecture of the village is of majestic beauty, and the houses are noteworthy for the earthen ornamentation that adorns the walls. Here, the vernacular building style is preserved, and through this cultural and architectural heritage, the collective memory of this way of life stays alive, contributing to the beauty of this village in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas.

Day-3 Dyes and drawing

It's time to think about a design and draw it from the experiences of the previous days. You will be able to design, weave and paint a woolen piece, measuring approximately 25 per 40cm.

We will then prepare some magic baths and potions obtained from mixtures based on dye plants: madder roots, pomegranate bark and walnut bark… This step will allow us to dye the woolen threads which will form the warp and weft of our piece.

Day-4 Weaving

Setting up the warp on vertical loom. It is the backbone of any weaving. One by one, you will pass the warp thread through the loom in order to define the rhythm of your fabric.

You will have a loom of your own on which to start weaving your piece.

In this village, the weavers do not use shuttles. Everything is done by hand. But we will use a shuttle in order to get things faster and easier.

Day-5 Weaving continued

You will continue weaving, adding threads layer by layer, to build up the piece.

Day-6 Henna painting

On day six, you will prepare and apply the henna paste to your textile piece. Painting henna patterns is the exceptional and distinctive feature of this tribe, and the henna plant is believed to possess  a highly sacred dimension. Applying it to  wool is linked to the tradition of wearing of head veils by the bride during the wedding ceremony.

Day-7 Discovery of traditions 

Collection of the sun-dried textile treasures

It’s already time to hit the road again…On the way, we will visit an agadir, the traditional buildings used cooperatively by the tribe to store crops and other items. cooperative storage place in the area. The agadir are places of real richness and architectural heritage, and unique to the Moroccan Anti-Atlas. They are still used in certain secluded mountainous regions. 

Trip back to Taroudant for one night, the first capital of the Saadians in the 16th century.

Day-8 Back to the ochre city 

Again, it's time to continue our journey to Marrakech: Our heads and hearts full of the memories, colors, lights and friendships of this journey.

The room in the pavillion at Dar Zahia in Taroudant
The bed in the open pavilion at Dar Zahia's garden
The Majorelle blue swimming pool at Dar Zahia's garden
Two hands of a woman weaver sorting the wool
A woman weaver from the Anti Atlas carding the wool
A Moroccan woman weavers from the Anti Atlas spinning cotton by hand
A woman weaver weaving a wool and cotton fabric on a vertical loom
A Moroccan weaver weaving a wool and cotton fabric on a vertical loom
Several wool fabric decorated with henna and a pot full of henna paste
A Moroccan weaver paints a wool fabric by hand with henna paste
A woman weaver from the Anti Atlas hangs some wool fabrics decorated with henna
A woman weaver from the Anti Atlas laughs

Practical information

  • No particular skill required in weaving or vegetable dyeing to take part in the workshop.
  • Only five spaces are available for each session, that will give you the opportunity to entirely connect with the craftswomen, the villagers and other participants.
  • The weavers will help you discover all the richness of the Berber cuisine. They are happy to accommodate your dietary needs (vegetarian, vegan, allergies etc.), but please let us know any dietary requirements in advance.
  • Please note that this is not a tourist trip, but a cultural exchange. It helps to better understand the cultural and architectural richness of the region. It is important to respect the local culture and its traditions.

The price does not include

  • Airfare: We recommend arrival and a departure from Marrrakech.
  • Travel insurance: We require all attendants to have personal travel insurance to cover any medical expenses as a result of an accident or illness during their stay, trip cancellations, flight delays, lost baggage, theft, etc.

Payment

  • We offer payments in two parts. Half at the time of the booking and the other half 60 days before departure.
  • All sessions require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total booking amount to reserve and confirm the participation - except if travels between countries are still under restrictions.
  • Refunds will not be provided for cancellations within 20 days of departure.

Impact

  • Your participation allows the cooperative of weavers to pay the craftswomen at a fair price and to support its activity. You will support at a fair wage our local mediator Najima, specialized in sustainable tourism in the Anti-Atlas region.
  • This week is a good environment for the transmission and promotion of this unique know-how among the young generations of the village.