Oasis of Id Aïssa and Amtoudi
Nestled in the hollow of the charming Id Aïssa oasis, Amtoudi is a small village surrounded by imposing cliffs and dominated by two historical igoudar. Nearly 300 families, living mainly from agriculture, live in the village. Palms, fig trees, almond, apricot, olive and orange trees are found alongside small corn and barley fields and vegetable gardens.
The presence of man in the region dates back more than 10,000 years before our era as evidenced by the friezes of rock carvings containing giraffes and elephants. But it was in the 12th century that the first populations settled and built fortified granaries called “agadir” or “igoudar” in the plural.
Agadir d’Id Aïssa
An agadir is a collective fortified attic, with watchtowers to watch for any intrusion attempts, like a defensive citadel overlooking a valley from the top of its rocky peak.
The function of an agadir was to store and protect the village’s crops and also its wealth. It did not belong to anyone in particular, but the decision of its construction was decided by an assembly of representatives of the tribe, a clan or a group of families. In order to have the right to store their belongings, each family participated in the construction of the collective attic. The inhabitants were thus able to take shelter there and defend themselves in the event of an attack.
From its rocky peak, the agadir Id Aïssa is a marvel of defensive architecture. Unlike the ksour of southern Morocco, the agadir is built with stones, tiles and earth. The 360° view on the southern slopes of the Anti-Atlas and the first fruits of the Saharan zones is particularly breathtaking.
Of the 73 cells, most were allocated to Amtoudi families and some were reserved for a tribal group in Ifrane de l’Anti-Atlas, 66 km from the village. The allocation of a cell is final and is passed down from generation to generation; however, it was possible to transfer the cell to a third party.
The cells, or rooms, of identical size, are arranged according to the tastes and means of each, so they are all different from each other.
Collective and defensive use
Community property was stored in a space on the ground floor. Id Aïssa’s agadir had 3 water collection tanks, from which we can still distinguish the small seguias in charge of collecting water.
A small square served as a souk where food and utensils were traded between families. The agadir being a place of life, a prayer room and a kitchen were arranged. It was protected by three guard towers and two defensive gates in addition to the main gate.
When there was a tribal war with raids, the whole population would go up to protect themselves in agadir. Cattle were also taken away to shelter them from enemy lusts. This agadir is only 30 minutes ascent from the village of Amtoudi and is also accessible by donkey.
A little further, only 1h30 walk away, the agadir of Aglouy is also worth a visit. An entrance fee of 15 Dh is charged for each agadir.
It is a characteristic common to dry environments and Saharan zones, formed by a depression retaining water after the passage of a flood or fed by springs.
The guelta of Amtoudi, a transparent water surrounded by high limestone walls, winds through an impressive fault of the Anti-Atlas on a course of nearly 200 meters. It can reach a depth of 2 meters in places. It is 1h30 walk through the canyon from the village.
In 1 day, it is possible to loop the 2 attics and the guelta with a picnic lunch in the canyon or, at your choice, feet in the water. Count 200 Dh for the services of a guide.
Four cliffs, virgin there are little, four different sectors, nestled in the canyon between oases, typical villages and sources of emerald green waters, open thirteen routes ranging from difficulties 5b to 7b. Rope of 70 meters recommended, for heights ranging from 20 to 35 meters, in a rock of a dark gray orange limestone, forming small columns.
Many sectors are still to be found and beautiful lines are waiting to be opened. The good period of climbing is from October to June, the summer heat does not offer the optimal climbing conditions.
Beyond the South, ten minutes approach. This area is located just above the hostel “It looks like the South” you will access it by the back road.
Amloud et Zorro 6c, 10 points
Gecko volant 7a+, 10 points
The cliff of the shadow, 5 min approach. This sector is also located behind the inn, but without going up, in the direction of two magnificent argan trees centenaries.
Au gruyère berbère 7a+, 9 points
The first but not the last 6a+, 8 points
Hells angels 7b, 9 points
The cliff facing the village, 50 m approach. Access just in front of the village square at the edge of the dry wadi.
Tagout 6c, 10 points (80 meters rope required)
La traction marocaine 7b, 12 points
The cliff of the canal, 15 to 30 minutes of approach by parking in the following village. 30 minutes on foot towards the village of Aguelluy, along the wadi. As soon as you see a recently built stone wall, pass through the palm grove and follow the water channel… watch out for balance!
Look up, as soon as you have passed the majestic agadir on your left, the cliff is on the other side, to the right of the canal. Go up for 5 minutes to the grey bar above you.
Les plumes de pigeons 6a+, 10 points
Travail au noir 6a, 10 points
Le pilier 5b, 6 points
La virgule de Lucie 7a, 9 points
Au clair de lune 7a, 9 points
Petite prise de mains, grosse prise de tête 6b+, 7 points
Sources : Georges ROY; auberge on dirait le Sud – Amtoudi.
How to come to Amtoudi
Amtoudi is 235 km southeast of Agadir by the N1 which goes down through Tiznit (140 km from Amtoudi) and Bouizakarne (more than 72 km) where we join the N12 towards Tata.
Drive to the junction to the left, after the village of Taghjijt, indicating Amtoudi 30 km.