EXPLORE THE RIF MOUNTAINS FROM DAR GABRIEL  
 

The town of Chefchaouen is a delight in itself. A medieval maze of mauve and turquoise alleys, it
bustles with looms and carpentry, aroma and colour.

Look up from the Medina to the peaks which stand like guardians above the town (Chefchaouen means
'look at the peaks') and you get a hint of the hinterland, the Rif mountains from which the community originates. These ranges are well worth exploring.

Chaouen lies between two Natural Parks, Tallasemtane and Bouhachem. Dar Gabriel offers excursions
to both.

 
     
  AKCHOUR - ONE DAY  
     
 
 
     
 

A day’s walk to Akchour, Tallasemtane, leaving Dar Gabriel on foot with qualified guides.

This route traverses the open shoulder of the Rif through pasture and cultivated land with impressive
views of wide valleys and ranges beyond. The trail passes through three remote Berber villages, which
offer an insight into rural Maroc, as well as welcome glasses of mint tea!

From the last of these villages, el Xalaa, the trail drops steeply through Pine and Juniper forest into the Oued Laou valley, from where we walk the last stretch to Akelour, where there are river pools in which
to bathe or refresh at bamboo tea houses on its bank. Return to Dar Gabriel in a taxi.

 
     
 
Availability Year round weather permitting
Booking When reserving a hotel room
or via Bensalam (Dar Gabriel) at short notice
 
     
     
TALLESEMTANE - OVERNIGHT  
     
 
 
     
 

A two day excursion into Tallasemtane.

Tallasemtane borders Chefchaouen. Here we offer a two day walk from the hotel itself, up between
the ‘guardian’ peaks and into the heart of the park. This part of the Rif is home to the endemic
Pinsapo fir, and the Morrocan Blue Cedar, as well as species such as the Lammergeier, Jackal and Porcupine.  This is a trail of majestic views, of ranges folding into fading shades beyond which the Mediterranean is visible.

Six hours easy paced walking each day, you are led by a qualified guide, your luggage is carried by mule.
We overnight at the small community run Hotel Azilane in a remote hamlet of the Rif, dining and breakfasting, of course.

Day two sees us descending the Oued l’Arda, a gorge which carves its way north through the massif reaching the spectacular Pont de Dios, a natural stone bridge crossing the chasm 250m above the
water course. Continuing down, the river flows through pristine pools perfect for bathing. Here we
have a late barbeque lunch before returning to Dar Gabriel by car.

 
     
 
Availability March – October
Booking By pre-arrangement
 
     
     
  ONE DAY EXCURSION TO BOUHACHEM - Barbary macaque conservation  
     
 
 
     
  Bouhachem is an hours drive west. This part of the Rif contains Morocco’s most extensive and best preserved oak forests in which live healthy populations of Barbary Macaques, the only primate found in North Africa.

In these mountains, we are guided on the trail by Ahmed El Harrad from the organisation Barbary
Macaque Conservation in the Rif (BMCRif). With a Land Rover available you can walk as much or as
little as you like – with small group sizes no larger than 6 we are flexible: the exertion of the excursion
is up to you.

As well as the prospect of seeing Macaque groups in their natural setting of oak woodland these forests hold many other surprises - with 28 species of mammals recorded in the reserve (so far) each visit has the potential to identify something new. For bird lovers there is the possibility of such specialties as Short
Toed Eagle, Long Legged Buzzard, Goshawk and during the spring and autumn migrations many other raptor species fly over.

For tree enthusiasts and arborists we are in the process of discovering another Bouhachem treasure:
Champion Cork Oaks (Quercus Suber), some measuring over 3m in diameter have been discovered.

(There is the optional overnight stay on the edge of the forest at Bakali Gite.)
 
     
 
Availability May – October
Booking Whilst reserving a hotel room at Dar Gabriel.
 
     
     
  THE WATERFALLS OF OUED KEELA  
     
 
 
     
 

This is a great day out in hot weather. Dar Gabriel can offer you a taxi and a guide, though neither are necessary particularly if you have your own transport.

Akchour, an hours drive from Chefchaouen, is where the trail begins – a popular place for swimming
it marks the confluence of two ‘oueds’ or rivers. To reach the cascades, you will follow one of them
– the ‘Keela’ – east toward the village of Taourate.

Passing pools fed by low falls, the path winds up-valley, crisscrossing the stream through the dense
groves of oleander, cane and oak, habitat of monkeys (the ‘Singe Magot’) and otters.

Allow two to three hours to reach the cascade itself. The falls are impressive (see photo), 100m of
vertical water sheeting down rock faces into a large green blue pool – fabulous bathing.

Ask for a picnic from Dar Gabriel restaurant. Drink tea at one of the wayside ‘chiringuito’ stalls.

 
     
 
Availability May
Walking Time There and back – 6 hours