The "hidden Himalayan kingdom"
The Lonely Planet guide book strikes the chord when stating that Ait Bougmez "... feels like a hidden Himalayan kingdom dropped into the Atlas". Hard to find on even the best maps, this is a gem for anyone with a few days to spare.
There is some confusion with spellings. Lonely Planet calls this place Ait Bou Goumez, while Rough Guide calls it Bou Guemez. LookLex' spelling is derived from locally produced texts.
Ait Bougmez had its first year-round road opened in 2001, and used to be isolated by snow 4 months a year.
Exploring the valley is easily done on foot, it is really to be preferred to driving, as so many places still have poor roads. The centre of the region is the village of Tabant, and from here, in less than an hours walk, several small villages can be explored. Ask for directions for Imelghas, Iskatafene, Ikhf-n-Ighir, Agouti, Ait Imi Iqballioun, Ifrane, and Arous. Three hours walk away is the village of Taghoulit.
Market day in Tabant is Sunday.
Mountain excursions here are very popular, being located near Morocco's second highest summit, the Irhil M'Goun at 4071 metres.
Hotels and alternatives
Ait Bougmez hotels
Gite of Mohammed Oulaidi In Tabant (No phone)
Outagloute Benassar In Ikhf-n-Ighir. (t. 023 459175)
Dar Itrane In Imelghas. (t. 044 313901)
Ait Bougmez has several accommodation options, mainly known as gites d'etape, charging about 40dh per person. These provide only basic services, but are often charming and memorable places to spend the night. For those asking for more comfort, the Dar Itrane is highly recommended.
Restaurants and alternatives
Although regular restaurants are close to non-existent, every gite will be helpful in providing food. Dar Itrane serves good food at affordable prices in beautiful locations.
There are tours into the valley. Otherwise get normal public transportation from Marrakech or Beni Mellal to Azilal. From Azilal there are early minibuses and an occasional shared taxi to Tabant.