Berber Cultural Center
One of the many great joys of traveling to a foreign place is being able to experience and immerse myself in its culture. That said, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate Morocco as much as I had if it weren’t for my stay in the Berber Cultural Center. Truly, apart from the Merzouga Dessert experience, this was another highlight. I am so glad to have experienced it.
Also known as the Berber House, the Berber Cultural Center is owned by Mohamed, one of the nicest Moroccan men we’ve had the pleasure of meeting who’s made it his goal to promote his culture. He also lives in the house with his entire family, so during our three-day stay, we got to spend time with all of them, as well as the other guests.
How to get there
Located roughly 90 minutes away from the city of Marrakech, the Berber Cultural Center can be reached by both bus and taxi. From Marrakech, you can take a local bus service or a taxi to the town of Imintanout. The bus costs 35dh while a sharing van/ taxi costs 75dh/head. From Imintanout, the village where the Berber House is located in is just a short taxi ride away. You’ll find that it is situated in a scenic area with the Atlas Mountains behind it.
If you ever get lost or unsure with directions, you can always contact Mohamed, and he’ll happily assist you in getting to his place.
What you’ll get out of the experience
The joy of disconnecting from the Internet.
I’m putting this first because, like me, one of the first questions you probably ask when looking for a place to travel to and stay in is whether or not they have Wi-Fi. The answer to that is no, the Berber Cultural Center does not have Wi-Fi… and it made our trip all the more memorable for it.
Without the connection to the Internet, we weren’t constantly on our phones and laptops, checking Instagram or Facebook. Instead, we spent the time making human connections with our wonderful hosts and fellow guests. Instead of exchanging snaps and tweets with our friends online, we exchanged stories with our new friends.
Good people in the most unexpected places.
When going to a new place, especially a place that has a culture so drastically different than yours, there is always that fear of how the locals would see and treat you. But my experience staying in the Berber House with Mohamed and his family has showed me that I will always find good people in every corner of the world, even in the most unexpected of places like the Moroccan desert. And as Mohamed’s son toured us around their village, we were met only with smiles and laughter from the village kids who were just as eager to get to meet us as we were eager to meet them.
Moroccan food… made by your own hands.
Part of the experience that makes it so incredibly unique is that not only do you eat their local delicacies, you get to learn and make them yourself. During our stay, we learned how to make bread straight from scratch, as well as tea. We also learned how to cook tagine which is a Moroccan stew of meat and various spices like cumin, turmeric and ginger. Learning how to cook all these kinds of food definitely makes you enjoy them all the more. On top of that, Moroccan food tastes so delicious!
Appreciation for the Berber culture.
One of the most memorable parts of our stay in the Berber Cultural Center is when we hiked to have a picnic and watch the sunset. Mohamed and his family accompanied us, and while we were there, they sang a couple of their native songs. It really brings home that feeling of complete appreciation for a culture that is vastly different from my own.
From the view that you get and the people you meet to the food you eat and the music you hear, the Berber House is just a fantastic way to get to know the Berber culture as well as Morocco in a more intimate and memorable way.