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Kasbah Du Toubkal

Kasbah Du Toubkal

Website:
kasbahdutoubkal.com external site

Contact email:
kasbah@discover.ltd.uk external site

Telephone:
+212 44 48 56 11

Fax:
+212 44 48 56 36

Address:
Kasbah du Toubkal
Imlil BP31 Asni
Marrakech

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The Kasbah du Toubkal is an extraordinary venture, the product of an imaginative Berber and European partnership. There is a shared belief that the beauty of the Toubkal National Park should be accessible to all who respect it. To this end the Kasbah has been transformed, using traditional methods, from the home of a Feudal Caid into an unprecedented haven; one that provides a variety of accommodation and event possibilities to meet differing requirements.

The Kasbah is a welcoming environment for those seeking comfortable mountain refuge and for those who wish for superb rooms in a stunning setting. It is also a conference centre for those who are searching for a venue that inspires, one that provides peace in a spectacular and remote location, whilst providing the best of modern equipment. The Kasbah du Toubkal is not a hotel in the traditional sense; it is more an extension of the hospitality that stems from the home of the Berbers who run it.

Enter a world where time becomes less significant, where you can watch the sun rise and set, almost every day over mountain vistas that are more normally the preserve of artists and poets; where the stars still fill the vast skies and where the pace of life is truly that of the seasons.

Formerly the preserve of the mountaineer or the intrepid explorer you can now relax in comfort at the Kasbah du Toubkal set high on a rocky outcrop surrounded by walnut trees and small terraced fields and nestled at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa.

This old fortified house of the local caid or ruler has been tastefully converted, using local labour and traditional methods and materials into unique accommodation for individuals or groups. The views from every window and the whole roof terrace will quite literally take your breath away at all times of the year.

No motorised traffic here, no chair lifts or fast food restaurants, no smelly or polluted city air, just the braying of the mules, the rush of water over the rocks, the sounds of the villagers living their lives and the ethereal call to prayer from the local mosque echoing over the valleys and bouncing off the rock walls.

Accommodation

There are 5 types of accommodation at the Kasbah:

-10 en suite “western style” rooms (5 with bath & shower and 5 with showers)
- 1 garden apartment (lounge, terrace, balcony, garden, fitted kitchen)
- House - Self contained 3 en suite bedroom house (lounge, terrace, balcony, garden, fitted kitchen)
- 2 Berber salons which can sleep from 7 to 10 people
- 1 Berber dormitory sleeping up to 10 people (cannot be reserved in advance)

Of course anyone who wishes can sleep out under the stars on the roof terrace and our staff will lay carpets etc out and provide you with sleeping bags. It is normal when entering rooms or going into carpeted areas to remove your shoes. This is something we observe. The rest of the area has been tiled so that shoes do not have to be removed.

Words and pictures cannot do justice to either the Kasbah or its location, and neither is it possible to describe the friendliness of the people in the local villages who will pass the time of day with you, or leave you alone to enjoy the seclusion of your own thoughts, but who will just as happily invite you into their houses for tea or put on a festival of local music and dance purely for the pleasure they get from the occasion.

EcoTourism Policies

The site is above the village of Imlil on the site of the former summerhouse of a Gloui Caid. The building had been abandoned in 1956 when the French Protectorate ended and was in ruins. It was the premier site for a fort with views down the valley towards Marrakech and up to Toubkal. It looks over 3 valleys.

Chosen because abandoned and therefore not taking used resources from the local community. The land was titled and extends to about 1.5 hectare ( 3-4 acres).

There is no road access to the site but there is to the village. The National Park du Toubkal (PNT) is just beyond the village. We can protect our own land and are looking to help create a formal peripheral zone around the park. The land can now be built upon under Moroccan regulations but we plan to only build according to our plans – low impact. Few formal planning procedures exist.

The development was carried out using traditional methods – no power available. Material includes stone gathered from the mountain side and clad in mud for aesthetic reasons. The Architect also helped incorporate vernacular features and these are now part of the local informal building code of practice. All materials either man handled or delivered by mule (aka Berber Mercedes)

It was on the basis of our build and design that in 2002 we were highly commended in the “Built Environment Category” of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award.

Kasbah du Toubkal philosophy

A location cannot really have a philosophy. However we at Discover Ltd. have tried to set certain principles behind the Kasbah du Toubkal’s development and operation and have married some of our European needs and values with those of the Berber society. It is not a colonialist set of principles. We do not wish to impose our values totally but to show our guests some aspects of Berber society. The major European values which we have established concern cleanliness and hygiene. The Kasbah has modern washing and toilet facilities with the majority of rooms with en suite bathrooms, there are also 2 traditional Hammam (steam baths). In Berber society men and women do not mix much but co-operate greatly. Please do not be afraid to visit the kitchen or any other part of the grounds. We are sure you will be made most welcome.

The result of the Kasbah development is that we have renovated a large ruined building on the most prominent site in the Imlil valley where the Caid Souktani used to live. The reconstruction was carried out under the supervision of Omar “Maurice” Ait Bahmed whom we have known for over 25 years. He was born in a house in Imlil that over looked the dilapidated Kasbah. He employed local people wherever possible and used local building techniques. Power tools were not available (electricity only arrived in 1997). Everything was brought to the site by hand/mule (teams of up to 30 men). A water supply using a spring was brought in from a long distance under gravity feed. We want the pace of development to be sustainable.

We attempt (subject to quality) to source as much as possible from suppliers close to the Kasbah there by using local labour to a maximum.

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