a VirtualTourist member from Singapore
I'm planning to visit the Imilchil Marriage Festival in late September 2013 then travel into the desert to stay with the Berber tribe. It will be great photo shoot opportunity. I plan to hire a 4x4 car/drive/guide to take be there and hope to form a group of 4-6 travellers/photography enthusiast to share cost.
If you are interested please contact me at this forum page.
It's a great way to travel, and with a few people to share the cost, very cheap. There really should be a website devoted to finding people to travel with!
thanks Erik...glad to see you beat me to it!
I have been to the Imilchil marriage festival 3 times now...2012's fest the meeting part of the couples nor the get together that a rep from the government usually attends to give certificates didn't happen in public and we couldn't find anyone to find out what was really happening...a few hand holding lovey dovey couples were sitting around at the usual venue which is at the huge souk about 20km from Imilchil and when we asked a few locals they said that for the first time things had changed and that part happened in private back in Imilchil
also the souk venue had long sessions of usual Berber entertainment from mid afternoon which in the past have not seen at the souk - the usual evening entertainment right in Imilchil was still also on though.
Do you have accommodation booked as that needs to be attended to fairly early as it pretty much books out.
I am also planning to visit Imilchil Marraige Festival in September. I would like to share transport/guide with you. The only thing is that I am not 100% sure where I will be heading to Imilchil from...most likely Marrakech. And you?
I am a journalist and photographer and think it sounds super interesting - keen to do a photo essay on it. It is difficult to find the right dates but I am under the impression it goes from 28th to 30th...can you confirm this?
Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon.
the dates are 18-20 Sept. but yet to confirm. I will coming from Fes to do a 3-day desert/Berber stay and arrive at imilchil for the 3 days festival. thereafter I'll have to make.y way back to Casablanca via marrakech to take my flight back.
Thank you [VT member b05d5], [VT member 1276e2], and angiebabe for your contributions. moondust, are you still keen to go. I'm still waiting for the dates to be confirmed. angiebebe, did tyou have a guide or were you on self-drive. I'm planning self drive if I'm travelling alone - any issue that I have to take note of?
Hello there, hi sun_69, hi moon_dust,
I'm also planning a trip to the moussem of Ilmilchil.
I'm living in Marrakech and want to do a trip like yours
with 4WD to Ilmilchil, Merzouga, Tinghir, Ouarzazate
and back to Marrakech. About 4 or 5 days.
What's about your ideas? Maybe we can go together.
If anybody starts in Marrakech and another one in Fes,
it,s possible to meet in Beni Mellal for the common trip.
thank you for your offer.
do you know whether the date for the festival is confirmed?
i'll probably traveling from fez to the er chebbi before arriving at imilchil then to Marrakech.
are your living in Marrakech or just visiting?
that's great, the same trip I wanted to do... but in the other direction ;-)
but you're right, from fez it may be better to go first to erg chebbi...
from marrakech better to start to Ilmilchil
about me: well, that's right, I'm living in Marrakech... half there and half in
germany. I live there with my moroccan wife.
I don't know, when you are staying there. I'll be there 10 days in the middle of
august and 4 weeks from 8 september.
about the date of the moussem of Ilmilchil: normally the date is published short-term,
I'll try to find it tomorrow... at work I'm better connected to the internet
You just found anybody for this trip? I mean not interested! I mean anybody, who says
"yes, I want to do it".
About me... I'm not just interested... i want to do this trip... and I'll do it ;-) and maybe I there
are one or two friends of mine interested.
Maybe we can find a way. to to a trip like this with some people :-)
Hi Sun 69 sorry haven't answered til now but yes its easy enough to drive in and around Imilchil - the major roads are all bitumen/ashphalt now with just some of the smaller roads still piste.
I would just say that you do need to start thinking about accommodation - ive been able to stay for the last 2 times because I have Moroccan connections and because we contacted the most viable accommodation for us earlier on. The first time I was there for it me and my bf stayed in a tent beside the lake so that was easy enough. Not the sort of thing Ive needed or wanted to do the past 2 times though.
The 3 day souk to me is fantastic for photos - its a huge souk with a lot happening. The venue for this is about 20 km away from Imilchil (on the road to Todra gorge/Dades valley road)
and the landscapes all around there are just beautiful. So are the people - especially the ladies in their traditional costumes of the Ait Haddidou tribe of the area.
As mentioned in my earlier reply to your post, last year they added berber music ie singing and dancing to the afternoon schedules at the souk venue but had taken away, what to me was the main event I wanted to photograph again but by digital, the meeting of the men and women who are looking for marriage partners. Which as far as we could find out happened for the first time in private back at Imilchil.
Then in the evenings right in the centre of Imilchil town is the traditional Berber music with singing and dancing entertainment.
The landscapes around the area are beautiful - the road to/from Todra gorge/Tinerhr/Dades valley road is particularly scenic and this is the road that you would take if coming from Merzouga.
But If you were coming from Fez its a matter of turning off near Midelt or Rich which is on the road from Fez heading south and heading to Imilchil.
Then from Imilchil heading to Merzouga by taking the very scenic road down through Tamtatouche, Todra gorge and Tinerhr. Then along the Dades valley road to Tinejdad to Erfoud, Rissani and Merzouga.
If you did do the round about way of going from Fez to Merzouga and then up via Todra gorge the road from Imilchil that heads past the lake and up towards the pass and then over to the road down to Khenifra are all good roads that way. The road that connects from the Todra gorge road with the Dades gorge road around Msemrir is still 4x4 road.
Get a good map such as the Michelin map or the National Geographic that I found earlier this year and used for our latest drive around Imilchil which I liked after years of using new editions of the Michelin map.
You could contact the people that are in my accommodation tips in my Imilchil travel page to see what they have available and see what dates they have heard it will be this year. Often in Morocco festival dates aren't confirmed till a lot closer to the date! but hopefully the hotels etc will have an idea. but you need to speak to someone trustworthy so you don't get info to book rooms just to fill rooms for their benefit lol!
I will chase up from my end what I can find out for you about festival dates.
Many thanks Angiebebe for the helpful travel tips. Yes if you can forward your contact or link me to them regarding the festivity dates and accomodation during the 3-day festival.
Hi youre welcome.
The accommodation info is in my Imilchil travel page here on vt. Have someone looking for dates for you at moment and will get back to you.
i just found one website, they write the 13 to 15 september is the festival date. but it's not confirmed. and on the website of an hotel at Ilmilchil they write that they actually don't know the date. but it should definitely be from friday to sunday, so the 18th to 20th sept. may not be possible.
Ive been told the dates are definitely 28 29 30 31 august which follows suit with previous years being held end of august. but am querying those dates being a start date on a wednesday but I think it did start on a thurs last year but have been given these dates by reliable source but have asked to check those dates again
Wow, now we have a whole permutation of dates! If it is in late Aug I will have to move fast.
Angiebabe, appreciate if you can forward your accomodation contacts. What was the cost of a 4x4D for a week / day?
UdoL, if it is in mid Sep, I can join you on your route then to Fes. My plan is to cover Gibraltar/southern Spain before doing the Morocco leg. In any case I have to leave by 24th sep latest for some appointment back home. What is the cost of a 4x4D from Marrackech?
Thanks guyz for your help and input.
Hi, ive been told again that it is 28-31 August - Houssin who runs a gite at Imilchil and his contact details are in my VT Imilchil travel page [original VT link] - here in virtual tourist - we also contribute travel pages to location travel guides in addition to the forums here - (who ive stayed with - and the first year i stayed at his gite he was also hosting a famous French photographer and MOroccan film crew making a documentary including the festival) and has always been involved in the festival has said again that it definitely is these dates and publicity is going out now to confirm with the public.
check out the website I gave earlier for Jawad at www.rentcar-marrakech.com and www.maltacar-marrakech.com - he also rents 4x4s for about the cheapest Ive seen of any rental car company (about 700-800 dirham a day or something - as per website)
but really you do not need one unless you particularly want to go and find routes that are 4x4.
Thank you Angiebabe. I've emailed Houssian to book a room during the festival and am awaiting his reply. If the festival is 28-31 August, I will be able to start my trip from Marrackech to Imichil then to Erh Chebbi and Fes/Meknes before crossing over to Gibraltar/Southern Spain.
As for the need for a 4x4, wouldn't Erh Chebbi require one? I prefer a regular car with GPS.
UdoL, if it is 28-31 August, will you be still keen to go. I can cover part of the trip (3 days Imichil & 3 days Erh Chebbi) with you before I head fro Fez/Meknes. do answer your earlier questions - no, I'm travelling alone. MoonDust has not replied to me. Yes, I'm good to go as long as it is not later than 20th Sep. so Aug 28-31 is good for me.
Hi, if you don't hear from him tonight or tomorrow Id suggest phoning him - easier and possibly quicker in case hes busy and doesn't get online so often (im pretty sure he has PC at the gite but they are on generator power so no electricity in the evenings)
Erg Chebbi doesn't require 4x4 as its all normal car access to the hotels - its all tar seal roads from Rissani down to Merzouga (not the road on the map from Erfoud to Merzouga but Erfoud to Rissani to Merzouga - unless the new road from Erfoud has been finished - a new piste road was being made, don't know if its intended to be tar sealed though) with signposted roads in varying degrees of piste (sand and gravel) off to the hotels that run along the chain of dunes.
To go into the dunes you can drive to areas that you can walk from (such as the big dune right closest to Merzouga town itself which is very popular for walking up in time for sunset - fantastic views from up there and lovely undulations of smaller dunes and you really get quite a good impact of the changing colours of the dunes). The sandy gravel roads are generally okay for driving along up to about the point in the road where the hotels Erg Chebbi and Auberge du Sud are - the road on from here heading up to the far end of the dunes such as hotel yasmina can get quite deep and unless you are experienced with driving in sand run a higher risk of getting stuck.
But to go into the dunes proper most would take the opportunity of a camel trip - all the hotels have access to camels and therefore provide their own sunrise, sunset or overnight camel trips. Some hotels such as hotel nomade palace have their own overnight areas with good toilet facilities and therefore provide a quieter and more comfortable time over night - to enjoy the atmosphere, see the stars etc. - rather than groups from several hotels sharing one communal area
and most places will also be able to rustle up a 4x4 excursion which is what id recommend you do to really get the most out of your time in the desert, great photo opportunities, see and meet Berber families etc. Cheaper for you in the long run to just rent a car and then take an excursion on a daily basis.
If you would like a recommendation of where to stay I have a few tips made here in my Merzouga and Morocco travel pages (here in virtual tourist) but particularly recommend Ali Mouni's hotel Nomade palace - his contact details are in my Merzouga or Morocco travel pages here on VT. and also good reviews on trip advisor. His hotel is just past Merzouga continuing on the road from Rissani to Taouz and then signpost to the left.
I started staying at his family run establishment during a trip for my birthday last year as wanted somewhere more private with nice staff - went back in September for a week and again this year in April and like them very much as its like a safe haven where they are professional and the hotel has been made very artistically.
Ive spent quite a lot of time already here through the years - and been out in a normal car right around the dunes and out around the Hamada (stoney desert) and its beautiful - especially the far oasis up along the Algerian border - but last year wanted to do a 4x4 trip to see it all again without the problems of getting stuck that we often dealt with with a car.
I did a 4x4 trip with Ali which was great - and another excursion down to the rock art, desert village of Rhemlia and Portuguese fortress - was meant to go to the dinosaur prints but ran out of time as we didn't leave til late.
He proved to be very involved with families living out in the desert and took me to meet those he often visits to take items - so you could take medical/first aid things like dressings and panadol, small clothing items esp socks or childrens clothes, stationery such as pens and colouring pencils and activity pads to give to children and families in remote areas
( In case you are interested in this sort of charity - I have always taken these sort of things with me to Imilchil as theres a lot of poor villages out that way and it gets very cold in the winter - the first time I was there a whole village of excited children came running out - us in winter gear and them wearing plastic shoes and no socks - never forgotten that sight). Both Ali in Merzouga and Houssin at the gite in Imilchil would be good for helping with who best to give items or which schools in the area are regarded as poor schools. if the kids are in class at the time is even better as then they see the teacher be given things to share rather than the risk of the teacher keeping the things for his own family etc!)
If the GPS charge is high (when I rented a car in Turkey beginning of June the going rate then was 11 euro a day! ridiculous as they can be bought for £50) I wouldn't really say its necessary - if you have a good map the sign posting is usually good - has been pretty good on all my travels everywhere anyway - and so are the maps.
also you can always get further info here via me on VT!
thank you again angiebabe for your tips on merzouga n particularly the kids needs for medicine n clothings. I'll scouting for them before the trip. I like going local, share their lifestyle, exchange views, and provide help if possible to the needy particularly children. I read that there is micro financing scheme helping needy households to own goats to feed the children and sell cheese from goat milk.
Sorry for being slow to relply. The owner of this guesthouse: http://imilchil-collier-dambre.com/
said the festival is August 29-31. I have already booked my flights and won't arrive until mid-September so I will miss the festival unfortunately. Enjoy your travels. Best wishes.
Hi Sun you could send an email to communicate with Ali Mouni www.hotelnomadpalace.com - or ring him also - point out that it is via VT and me so that he knows the connection - and the dates that you are coming - then he can make sure he is there for those dates to look after you and personalise what you are wanting to do and see.
Ciao ,I 'd like to go to Imilchil marriage festival too,I'm looking these days on internet to organize a travel in morocco.I am alone,but I got time to stay there,I thought around 15 days but could be also a little more.I just have to know the dates to organize me with work.I 'd like to stay with local people too,and visit the desert areas,the same for me for the expenses of car/guide.
excuse me for my english(!)but I can express myself much better in french as in italian.
Did u already have the dates of ur travel?
On internet I found many different dates x the festival,me I come from Rome with flight,I've
never been in Morocco before,but I got time to get more informations about the country.
wish u a good day,Vanina
Hi Vanina, great to see you want to visit Morocco and welcome to VT!
- a great thing about VT is the travel pages we can make to share our tips and photos of our trips so for further info on what to see and getting around please have a look around the travel pages made by me and other VT members on various locations around Morocco and under the country name of Morocco itself.
You can find them by clicking on the link to Travel Guides at the top of the page and then when you go to the Travel Guide header for Morocco there will be leads to other locations around Morocco and then pages made by our members.
Or you can click on the name of an individual member, such as mine for example, and then the list of travel pages that person has made.
Its a very friendly community here and user friendly site once you find your way around.
the dates for the Imilchil marriage festival are here in this post - 28 or 29 to 31st August.
The places I usually recommend amongst my pages are places that tend to be run by locals rather than commercially run places, who have shown me a more real Morocco type experience to hopefully enhance the visits new travellers to Morocco will have.
Hi [VT member 8540a], Just tried calling Houssian at the number but greeted by a voice mail to call another day. Perhaps it is their Friday prayer as their local time was about 5pm+. Will try again.
it looks like moon dust is out, and awaiting whether UdoL can jpin me as one can't cover the area in 5 days. I propose 3 days in Imilchil and 3 day in merzouga to vcover Erh Chebbi.
Hi [VT member 8540a], would you want to join me? You seem to have similar interest as mine. we can share cost of car rental from Marrackech to Fes. If you wish to join me to gibraltar that will be fine for me too.
Will ask someone to try ringing him for you
Ciao,thanks a lot Sun and Angie,I was work today ,this weekend I 'll look x informations to decide what to visit with the time I got and how to get there.I have already been in Spain but I have to work a lot to get free time to go Morocco so I thought to arrive direcly there by flight.Anyway tomorrow I study the travel,'cause I thought to stay around 15 days thinking go back at the end of august,but the festival end at that time and after I have to go back till an airport so I have to re organize the date and the visits.
I don't know if the transportations could be founded easier diretly there, or being high season, we could have problems.tomorrow I 'll also try with arab friends in Roma if they know moroccan people of the area,
wish u a nice evening and a good night
HI Sun, is this the phone number you have been trying to ring as we have phoned Houssin and is contactable on this number which is the 2nd one that is in my tip information for his gite - 00212666103080
ok will try again using the second number . thanks
hI [VT member 8540a], I managed to get Houssin on the phone but couldn't understand my English well, so I sms him. awaiting his confirmation of room.
thanks [VT member 8540a] your help.
last night he was trying to ascertain how many people, how many in room and how many rooms. have you heard any more from Udol to know? as being so close to dates I would imagine hes having to juggle things.