Taliouine is renowned as the saffron capital of the country, producing a significant portion of Morocco’s saffron, which is one of the world’s most expensive spices. The town is situated in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains and offers a picturesque landscape.
Taliouine attracts visitors, especially during the saffron harvest season in October, when the fields are vibrant with purple crocus flowers. The saffron festival takes place during this time, celebrating the harvest with cultural events, music, and exhibitions.
Aside from saffron, the region around Taliouine is known for its traditional Berber culture, making it an interesting destination for those seeking an authentic Moroccan experience. The town provides a glimpse into the local way of life, and its surroundings offer opportunities for trekking and exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Anti-Atlas region.
How to get there?
You can fly into Al Massira Airport (AGA) in Agadir or take a bus or grand taxi from there or any other city in Morocco. It’s about 100 km and 1.5 hours drive from Agadir.
It’s 185 kilometres from Agadir to Taliouine and it takes about 2,5 – 3 hours by car. Driving is the most convenient way to explore the area independently.
I recommend using the service of Click’n’Go Car Rental. Very friendly guys and easy to contact on WhatsApp. I ended up renting a Renault Clio for the whole month and got a nice price.
CTM has two bus connections daily and the ticket costs about 80 – 90 MAD. Alternatively, as always in Morocco, you can get a shared grand taxi.
Tislite Gorges is about 45 kilometres from Taliouine and you will need your own wheels to get there. Follow N10 and turn left at Dogadir.
The best time to visit
Taliouine can be visited at any time of the year but the best time is during the saffron harvest season, which typically occurs in October. This is when the vibrant purple flowers bloom, and you can experience the lively atmosphere of the saffron festival while enjoying pleasant weather.
Where to stay?
I spent a night in Auberge Restaurant le Safran Taliouine. It’s not too fancy but accommodation options in Taliouine are limited. It was clean and had a hot shower so basically fulfilled all my needs.
If you wish to stay in the local guesthouse near Tislit Gorges, I recommend Maison d’hôte Tazziba Tislit. You can contact them at email@example.com
How long to stay there?
Taliouine is a small town so you can easily have a walk around it and then visit Tislit Gorges in one day. If you are an avid hiker and would like to explore the Anti Atlas mountains there, more time will be required.
What to see in town?
Though the kasbah is largely a ruin, it provides a nice panorama with the hills in the background.
Atelier-galerie de Moulid Nid Oiussadan
Moulid Nidouissadan is an Amazigh poet and calligrapher who paints vibrant compositions and Berber proverbs. I received a free sample of his skills including my name in Berber, created with saffron ink. Even though he doesn’t speak much English, I felt very welcome and the visit there really made my day! Who knows, maybe my next tattoo will be a symbol of a free man? That would be cool!
This modern information centre has a small museum about saffron and you can buy products from local cooperatives. Most displays are in French but there is some information in English. Opening hours are not followed so you need to be lucky to find it open.
Coopérative Souktana du Safran
The biggest and oldest saffron cooperative in Taliouine was established in 1979. They can sell you saffron as well as related goods like chocolates, cosmetics, and calligraphy ink, and they can also explain how saffron is made and offer you a tasting.
For those who want to trek nearby Anti Atlas, Taliouine is a well-liked destination. Trekking guides can be hired through local businesses or lodging providers.
Agadir Ifri Imadiden
An authentic agadir, so fortified communal granary, located about 20 minutes drive from Taliouine. Park in the village of Ifri, and continue on foot. Most probably kids will join you on the way. If they open the wooden door and you go inside, expect to pay 20 MAD and better to have the exact amount or you can forget about the change.
You have two options to get there: either park in Assaisse, and then walk about 3 km, or drive directly to the Tislit village. The road is rough but doable, even in Renault Clio.
Park next to the Maison d’hôte Tazziba Tisslit. If you have time, it’s worth considering staying there for the night. Looks like a great and authentic experience. The family is nice and you can buy some saffron or at least get some tea or coffee before you start the hike.
I went down to the gorge, passing by a few women selling saffron. Luckily, they weren’t too pushy. Well, I guess it’s a nice spice but I don’t even know how to use it so I didn’t buy any.
The gorge is full of amazing rock formations which make you feel like you are on another planet. The feeling was even stronger as I was there totally alone. You can scramble up some of the rocks to get a better panoramic view and nice photo opportunity but be careful. When the landscape opened up, I decided to turn around and come back the same way.
I continued following the riverbed to the west of Tislit village and it was worth it as well. The gorge there was completely different but still amazing! Unfortunately, it was difficult to go all the way through without serious scrambling as it was blocked by huge stones and water.