The city of Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas in Morocco has long been known for its incredible beauty, surrounded with oases that are beautiful and rich, as well as its extensive history and deep culture. With the city having been populated for over two thousand years, this city has its own mythology that coincides with many of the older Jewish traditions. The local legend states that after fleeing from the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Jewish people came to Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas, which makes it no wonder that of the cities in Morocco, this was one of the cities that fought against the Islamic conversion through the country.
If, perhaps, you are interested in the more recent interests and developments for the city, then the focus would have to be on football. As of the 1990s, the city of Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas can boast that Moustapha Hadji, the international star who is a home player for Morocco, spent his time learning how to play while nestled between the conifers of the city. As time passed, the family is still enjoying that renown, as Moustapha’s younger brother, Yussuf, is also playing for Morocco and has been a star player, giving more for Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas to boast about.
When in Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas, people come to see the main sight of the city, which is right behind the lovely and bustling main souk of the city. This attraction is called the Footbridge, and really takes you everywhere you need to be in the city. With the freedom to look around and observe, you will find numerous places where sitting down with a camera will yield you some of the most beautiful pictures you have ever seen.
Ifrane itself, which is the small village the valley is named for, is an awesome sight, filled with rich beauty and colourful niches. The houses are richly coloured–something out of Switzerland–and the people are both incredibly welcoming and also fascinating and interesting themselves, and trees tower and frame the village at every opportunity. While the village has monuments like any other place, the natural beauty is what is really wonderful here, so be sure to actually take a few minutes to have a seat somewhere and talk with those walking around you. Children enjoy following travelers around, and there is something very refreshing about speaking to them.
One of the interesting places that you can find after leaving Ifrane itself is the olive press just some way down the road. A local affair, only three men and a donkey run this place, as the donkey brings the raw power needed for the men to spend their entire day producing olive oil. While they sell both locally and outside of the valley, it is the humble yet brilliant aspect to the small business that keeps one’s attention.
After the olive press, a climb up a slightly steep hill will bring you to another beautiful landscape contrasting emptiness. It is striking, jarring even, to look behind to the way you have come and to see no real life or plant life, but then to turn in front of you and see the lush and green of the valley.
With more exploration into the areas of Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas, you can find the Jewish quarters, now used by the local Berbers, and even a Jewish cemetery that has mainly been taken over by the natural foliage in the area once more.
One particularly enjoyable trek to take throughout your trip to Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas is to travel along the wadi, which is the seasonal river in the alley, and take in the sights around you. With colours that contrast each other, it is no surprise that any observant eye would find this to be a beautiful place.
While Ifrane certainly has hotels, there are some cafes in the area, the Café de la Paix, and an unnamed one that is located near the mosque. They will offer you a room for cheap prices, and as far as dining is concerned, you will find some of the best food at those two cafes located in the suuq. (Some) They do not have a menu, but rather they will serve you on order, so it helps to see what other people are ordering first.
All in all, Ifrane d’Anti-Atlas has an extensive history, and visiting the city can be a very rich and rewarding experience, with wonderful views and some exceptional hiking. With that being said, this is not the kind of trip for someone unused to learning how to barter and communicate with people, as it is not primarily a city for tourists.