Tafraoute is worth all the effort and time it takes to reach, approached by scenic roads through the Anti-Atlas from Tiznit or Agadir – both are beautiful, but the Tiznit approach has the edge, winding through a succession of gorges and a grand mountain valley. With your own transport, you can also get here from Ifrane de l’Anti-Atlas, Igherm or (with 4WD) Aït Herbil. Tafraoute is a centre for villages built among a wind-eroded, jagged panorama of granite tors – “like the badlands of South Dakota”, as Paul Bowles put it, “writ on a grand scale”. The best time to visit is early spring, when the almond trees are in full blossom, or in autumn, after the intense heat has subdued; in midsummer, it can be debilitatingly hot.

Created as an administrative centre by the French, and little expanded since, Tafraoute is one of the most relaxed destinations in Morocco, though a few faux guides may still make a nuisance of themselves, claiming to be the guides mentioned in this and other books, and spinning all sorts of yarns to coax the unwary into carpet shops where they can be subjected to the old hard-sell routine.

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