Southern Morocco is vastly underappreciated compared to the more popular destinations over the High Atlas mountains to its north or the palm-fringed desert oases to its east. Most travelers stay in Agadir, Morocco's premier beach resort, and unfortunately bypass the rest of the region, preferring to fly in/fly out and sit on the beach. A city rebuilt from the ground up -- after a devastating earthquake shortly after Morocco broke free from its colonial shackles -- Agadir offers miles of golden beach and more than 300 days of sunshine. An obvious attraction for those wishing to soak up the rays and have some fun in the water -- the country's best surf breaks are to the north -- the city also provides a hassle-free break from the intensity that can be encountered farther north. Unfortunately, this is as far as many travelers go. The few who do venture away from the coast discover a Morocco of saffron-laced tea, pink-hued boulders, and rustic silver jewelry. The area is inhabited by indigenous Berbers who are fiercely proud of their heritage and overwhelmingly enthusiastic to show it to visitors.
The Oued Souss meanders its way between the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountains to its mouth just south of Agadir, along the way watering a wide and fertile valley and affording prosperity to its largest town, Taroudannt. This walled town is essentially still a market village, and its inhabitants are largely ambivalent toward its billing as one of the country's most authentic and photogenic traveling experiences. East of the Oued Souss and in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas is one of the world's premier saffron-producing regions, where the price of the precious spice is a fraction of that to be found on grocer's shelves in the Western world.
Intrepid travelers exploring farther into the Anti-Atlas will be rewarded with the strikingly picturesque, boulder-strewn mountains protecting the idyllic Ameln Valley. The town of Tafraoute is a quiet gem here waiting to be discovered.
Tiznit is a mere hour's drive south from the bright lights of Agadir. The town has a history of jewelry making that began in the 19th century with Morocco's now-departed Jewish population and continues today with the town's Berber silversmiths, witnessed by the exquisite jewelry on display in this small town's bijouterie souk.
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