The Rose House - fabulous Berber house in the High Atlas
Boumalne Dades Drâa-Tafilalet Morocco
1 Car space
Listed January 2019
The Rose House is in a magical location in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, with lovely views of the lush green Dades Valley. It's a great base for trips to the Sahara Desert or further into the mountains, and for hiking. The house is unique and very beautiful, and our friends in the village will give you the warmest welcome. Our previous home exchangers have loved the fact that their stay has been a wonderful cultural experience, in addition to the mountain scenery and the house itself.
Some recent reviews: "We loved staying at Rose House. It's a beautiful house, decorated throughout in traditional Moroccan style, with great views from the terrace. It's a good base for exploring the Dades Valley, Todras Gorge and Rose Valley. All are lovely areas. We had a wonderful dinner at Chez Pierre in the village and the hotel owners are delightfully helpful. Helen was incredibly helpful when we were planning our trip through Morocco and she recommended amazing places for us to visit and stay. It really helps to have local knowledge. We had a wonderful time." (Dorothy and Neil, Scotland)
"We had a wonderful couple of weeks at the Rose House. Michael and Helen gave us excellent help and advice in the planning stages and whilst in the village Ismael's family went the extra mile in terms of kindness and hospitality. The Rose house is a small work of art. We particularly enjoyed the roof terrace and making our own tagines. We went on a couple of tours to the desert and the Valley of the Roses which were both excellent. Most of the time we just did our own thing. We enjoyed seeing the women drying the figs; walking in the gardens; photographing the amazing rock formations; star gazing; lounging at Chez Pierre... The village may be simple but it has enormous sophistication in terms of the way people treat each other. It's the same with the food - very simple, but the quality of the vegetables, fruit and spices far exceeds what we have at home. We returned to the UK feeling healthier and happier. We highly recommend an exchange with Helen and Michael. (Rob, Hereford UK)
"Quel séjour magnifique nous avons passé dans la villa rose ! C'est une maison typiquement berbère décorée dans le style raffiné de la région. Nous avons profité de sa spacieuse terrasse ensoleillée avec vue sur les montagnes pour prendre nos déjeuners et pour nous reposer. Merci à Mickaël et Helen de nous avoir permis de découvrir cette fantastique région du Maroc, les gorges du Dadès ; grâce à leur ami Ismaïl nous avons pu parcourir la vallée des roses, et apprécier l'accueil et la gentillesse des Berbères. Un merveilleux voyage dont on se souviendra longtemps." (Sylvie, France)
"Che esperienza meravigliosa! Il Marocco è stato un viaggio pieno di sorprese, per i paesaggi differenti, dal deserto alle più alte montagne. La popolazione accogliente, disponibile a consigli e aiuti. La casa rosa di Michael e Helen ci ha accolti come un'oasi. Magnifica casa berbera, con ogni sorta di comodità per farti sentire a tuo agio. Helen e Michael sono stati accoglienti , ci hanno fornito informazioni e consigli davvero preziosi. Chez Pierre, nelle gorges, è stato il luogo degli incontri e del relax di lusso, davvero piacevole incontrare Ismail e la sua organizzazione. Colazioni degne di un re, cene ottime , una piscina dove posare i corpi caldi e stanche dopo i tour. Tutto in un'oasi di verde e silenzio.Insomma, tutto perfetto nelle Gorges di Dades. E in tutto il viaggio per il Marocco in moto. Grazie. (Maria, Italy)
Superb location for trekking, walking, mountain-biking, bird-watching or just relaxing in the High Atlas Mountains; located in the heart of a typical Berber village with lots of opportunities to meet local people with whom we are in close contact - you are guaranteed a warm welcome. It is in the small village of in Ait Oudinar, on the older and quieter side known as Izerwal.
The Rose House is a traditional earthen house restored and updated but maintaining its historical style. At the same time all the comforts of home are here with up-to-date plumbing, heating and electrical systems. There is also wi-fi, and a TV (not live) and DVD player for watching films or box sets. The thick, well-insulated walls keep the house cool in summer and easy to heat in the winter. The setting is very tranquil - you can often hear only the sounds of the river and birdsong.
The house has a large double salon, and a cosy winter salon with fireplace for log fires when the weather is cold. There is a TV with DVD player, but no live TV connection. The kitchen is modern and equipped with a gas cooker (no oven) and various appliances (juicer, toaster, kettle, microwave), next to a large dining room which can seat up to 10 people.
There are 3 bedrooms: the master bedroom, with king-size bed, and an en-suite shower room; one double bedroom; and one twin bedroom. The double and twin rooms share a large bathroom. All bedrooms have plenty of wardrobe space and shelving to store clothes. There is also a double sofa bed in the study (this has no door, so is only suitable for children, teenagers or young adults). Downstairs there is a separate WC and utility room with an automatic washing machine, ironing board and iron. There is a clothes line on the roof terrace, clothes usually dry very quickly!
One of the most attractive features of the house is an extensive roof terrace (with in-built barbecue) for al fresco dining and relaxing, with fantastic views along the valley and surrounding mountains, and fabulous opportunities for star-gazing at night (no light pollution!). The terrace can be lit at night, and there are wrought-iron lamps - it has the most wonderful ambience.
We also have a secure garage just a few metres from the house if you want to park your car or motorbike.
Home exchangers are also welcome to use the outdoor swimming pool at the Auberge Chez Pierre, set in lovely gardens, for free. Chez Pierre is 15 minutes walk from the Rose House.
A guide to the house is also provided, with lots of information about practicalities, but also about things to do and see while you are staying there. The Rose House is at an altitude of 1650m, so it can be cold at night and in the early morning November-March, but is usually very pleasant in the day, even in mid-winter (can be 18C-22C). In summer it is fresher than the cities like Marrakech and Fez.
We are very happy to help you plan your trip to Morocco and tell you about possible activities from the Rose House. As well as activities like hiking or trekking with mules into the mountains, or donkey rides for the kids, we can arrange for you to visit (even stay with) nomad families, go to the hammam (steam bath), have your hands and feet painted with henna by some local women who are wonderful artists, or have Moroccan cookery lessons with a local family. We also know most of Morocco, and if you want to tour the country, we can give lots of advice about this as well, and recommend high-quality transport and accommodations.
When to visit: the high seasons in Morocco are 15 March-15 May and 15 September-15 November, because the climate is at its best then. Easter holidays are very popular but also very busy. We and our friends have also enjoyed lovely holidays there in August, when the mountains are much cooler than Marrakech or other cities; October and November have been extremely pleasant when we have visited then; Christmas-New Year, when it is cold at night but usually very pleasant during the day; and February, which is perhaps our favourite season - the nights are not so cold, there is still snow on the mountain tops, and the almond trees are in blossom - wonderful for photography and painting.
More photos of the house can be seen at:
The house is our second home, so we can offer non-simultaneous exchanges.
The house is accessed by a rather steep footpath from the road, and a set of steps to the front porch. There is a ground floor, stairs to the first floor, and stairs to the lovely roof terrace.
One issue in such a remote village is that the mains electricity supply is not very strong, so you just have to be careful not to have too many appliances on at once. e.g. If you use the kettle and the microwave at the same time, it will trip the fuse box, but this is easy to re-set and we provide detailed instructions with photos for you.
First aid kit
Sport and leisure
Suitable for infants under 2
Suitable for children ages 2-12
Pets not allowed
The Rose House in the Dades Valley, a short way north of Boumalne Dades, is the perfect place for travellers to discover the real Morocco. In 2000, we came to Morocco together for the first time, and fell in love with the country – its cities, its mountains, its deserts – and the Berber people, with their tremendous warmth and hospitality. Since then, we have returned many times, and have now leased and renovated an old Berber house, ‘Taddart Taourdiyt’ (‘The Rose House’), in the calm of the lush Dades Valley. This is a very beautiful area to explore, but also the perfect centre for 4x4 excursions and trekking into the High Atlas or the Sahara Desert, just half a day’s drive away.
The Rose House is about 6-7 hours drive (by car, bus or taxi) on the main road from Marrakech, over the Tiz-n-Tichka pass of the High Atlas, a very beautiful journey. An even better introduction to the mountains is to have a 4x4 trip to the Rose House on the old caravan route, taking in the famous and spectacular Telouet Kasbah, stronghold of the ancient Glaoui tribe, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou, and much dramatic scenery on the way. There is also an airport at Ouarzazate, 3 hours drive from the Rose House.
Near the Rose House, local beauty spots you can look up in your guide books are the 'Monkey's Fingers' and 'The Tortoise' (spectacular rock formations, possibility of walks through canyons), the Dades Gorges, the Valley of the Roses (near El Kelaa M'Goun) and the Valley of the Apples (near Msemrir).
The Rose House is situated in the village of Ait Oudinar, amidst dramatic mountain scenery bordering the river and its lush fields. It is also in one of the most important bird-watching areas of Morocco, with many migratory birds passing through the local area.
We are extremely lucky to be just 15 minutes walk from the hotel-restaurant Chez Pierre, offering some of the finest cuisine in Morocco for very reasonable prices. The Belgian-trained chef cooks sublime French-Moroccan fusion food, and the warmth of welcome from the owners is wonderful. There is also a swimming pool and lovely gardens that you will be welcome to use. There are several other auberges in walking distance from the house.
There are a couple of small grocery stores in the village selling basic packaged goods, plus a bread bakery 10 minutes walk up the road in Ait Ouffi. In the local town of Boumalne (30 minutes drive) you can buy meat and fresh vegetables, also there are small supermarkets and bakeries, and all amenities - banks, post office, petrol station, hospital and health services, as well as a traditional hammam. If you are looking for a swimming pool, as guests at the Rose House you can visit Chez Pierre for free, just 1.5km up the valley, and they also offer bike hire. The staff there can also organise hiking guides, desert trips etc. for you.
There is the opportunity to hire a locally-based 4x4 driver and guide to take you off-road to follow ancient caravan routes, through mountain villages and nomad camps. You can do day-trips or longer tours. Go trekking on foot, with mules, or by camel - you can go mountain-biking too. There is also rock-climbing in the Todhra Gorge, 1 hour from the Rose House. On the way, experience the delights of Morocco’s cuisine, learn about its traditions from a Berber guide, and lose yourself in its music and dance. Arrangements can be made to meet you on your arrival at Marrakech, Agadir, Ouarzazate or any other location. Check out Sahara Atlas Tours via www.saharaatlastours.com - we highly recommend this small family business.
Photos of our local area and of places to visit further afield can be found at:
Getting to the Rose House: The Rose House is about 6-7 hours drive (by car, bus, private transfer or taxi) on the main road from Marrakech, over the Tizi-n-Tichka pass of the High Atlas, a very beautiful journey. An even better introduction to the mountains is to have a 4x4 trip to the Rose House on the old caravan route, taking in the famous and spectacular Telouet Kasbah, stronghold of the ancient Glaoui tribe, and much dramatic scenery on the way. There is also an airport at Ouarzazate, 3 hours drive from the Rose House. Or you can drive from Agadir in around 9 hours, possibly stopping in Taroudant in the Anti-Atlas on the way to break the journey.
It is a half day's drive from the Sahara Desert, for the Erg Chebbi dunes near Merzouga. We can help you arrange a desert camp and camel trekking there. From Merzouga you can travel on to Fes in 1 day.
The Rose House is 30 minutes drive up the Dades Valley from the main town of Boumalne Dades, which has all main amenities and ATMs. In Ait Oudinar village itself, there are small grocery stores, and within walking distance, a bakery and several restaurant-auberges, notably the excellent Chez Pierre which offers superb European-Moroccan fusion cuisine (see www.chezpierre.org and check them out on TripAdvisor).