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Jan 30 2015

A Magical, Moroccan Mountain: Jbel Kissane

While I was in Morocco a few years ago, we stopped off at Agdz on the way back from our desert adventure near Merzouga to Ouarzazate.  

Agdz is a small town, situated in the Atlas mountains by the Draa River.  It’s on the old caravan route between Marrakesh and Timbuktu.  One of the outstanding features when you are in Agdz is the magical, Moroccan mountain of Jbel Kissane, which is the Foto Friday for this week.

A Magical, Moroccan Mountain

For me, it really came to life when the sun began to set.  It is a spectacular view.  A friend and I sat on the balcony of a hotel, sipping Moroccan tea as the sun was setting.  This was one of a few magical moments I experienced during my time in Morocco.  As the sun sets, it lights up the mountain.  With the palm trees at the foot of the mountain, the contrasting colours are truly beautiful.

According to Wikipedia, Kissane means glasses in Arabic and the mountain was given this name because it resembles glasses of Moroccon tea behind a tea pot.  I can’t quite see that, but if you look at the summit, there is what looks like the top of a Moroccan tea pot.  Perhaps, that’s what they meant.  Well, whatever, it’s a beautiful sight.  It is also of national interest because the mountain, which is made up of shale, sandstone, and siltstone, comes from the Ordovician Period, which ended over 447 million years ago, when the area would have been part of the ocean.  It’s hard to believe that when you’re there, but that’s why the whole area, not just Agdz, is a great place for fossil-hunting.

As I mentioned at the start, Agdz is located on the old caravan route from Morocco to Timbuktu.  That sounds very exotic, doesn’t it?  Can you imagine a long line of camels making that long journey?  Apparently, the Berbers started using camels on a regular basis in the 7th-8th centuries because it was a more convenient way to trade.  They would fatten the camels for months before they started the long trek the Timbuktu.  The average size of a caravan was about 1,000 camels, but they could go up to as many as 12,000.  That would have been an incredible sight!   They were guided by well-paid Berbers, apparently, who knew the desert well and would have been the best people to ensure safe passage.  It was a difficult mission, but an important one for trade and communication.

What a journey!  Having done only a smidgen of it on a camel, I can’t imagine spending 52 days travelling across the Sahara desert on a camel to get to Timbuktu.  If you’re interested, you can find out about my camel trek and overnight stay in the Sahara.


Here are the points mentioned in the post on the map:

Center map
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Have your say

Have you been to Morocco?  If so, what was the most magical bit for you?  If you haven’t been to Morocco, is it on your list of places to visit?


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    • Patti on 01/02/2015 at 15:44

    Riding across the desert on a came and sleeping in tents – now that’s an experience to write home about!

  1. It does indeed look very interesting over there! Time, perhaps, to plan a trip there! Have to research about hiking over there, but perhaps not necessarily in summer.

    • Leigh on 01/02/2015 at 16:27

    Would love to hike in the Atlas Mountains – or do a camel trek. Looks beautiful.

  2. Hi Michael.

    It would definitely be worth it because there are lots of hiking routes. I would avoid the summer, though. It will be far too hot for hiking.

    Good luck with your travel plans and I look forward to your future posts about hiking in Morocco!


  3. It certainly is, Patti, and one that I would definitely recommend.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!


  4. It is beautiful, Leigh. You could combine the two: hiking and camel trekking. 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!


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