Rose Festival of Kelaat Mgouna

Rose festival at the foot of M’Goun

Kelâat M’Gouna is a small Berber town chleuh, located east of Ouarzazate at the foot of the High Atlas.

Dates, Rose Festival in Morocco 2018: May 10-13

It takes its name from the Arabic word “el qal’a” which means fortress or citadel and M’Gouna, because it stands not only on the banks of the wadi (river) Dades, but also near the wadi M’Goun, its tributary, thus taking its name from the second Moroccan massif, the M’Goun, which rises to 4070 metres above sea level.

The rose valley, which stretches for several tens of kilometres along the banks of the M’Goun to its gorges, is one of the most popular landscapes in southern Morocco. You have to walk your paths in April when the roses bloom and exhale their fragrance mixed with the scents of almond blossoms and wheat fields. Once the harvest is generally carried out by women, the moussem of the feast of roses is prepared.

The moussem of the roses

Kelaat M’Gouna is an important economic and social centre in the region which sees its population doubling during the rose festival.

Indeed, this festival is very much appreciated by foreign tourists, but also Moroccans who come to see it from the other cities of the Kingdom to discover perfumes and cosmetic products made from the distillation of rose petals, while knowing that rose water is greatly appreciated in traditional daily cooking as well as in oriental pastries.

It usually begins in the second week of May and lasts 3 days.

On this occasion, the locals dressed in their most beautiful finery, sprinkling each other with rose water and petals, singing and dancing while walking through the streets with traditional dances such as sword dancing, ahidous or the dance of bees. A young unmarried woman is elected Miss of Roses for the day and will travel on her decorated and flowered chariot, accompanied by music and singing throughout the parade.

Rose water, treasure of Kelaat M’Gouna

The oral legend says that the Rosa Damascena was brought back in the 10th century when a group of Berber pilgrims, back from Mecca, were impressed by the beauty and fragrance of this flower. They brought back some roses and replanted them in the region of Kelaat M’Gouna.

Some seeds, fallen en route, would have germinated then flowered to give these magnificent roses which embalm, embellish and make now the fame of this part of the High Atlas, become the valley of roses.

It is in April and May, at dawn, that women are busy picking precious petals. Nearly 1,000 tonnes will be harvested and distilled in the two factories, Kelaat M’Gouna and Souk-el-Khemis.

Copper stills process no less than 300 kg of petals in 700 litres of boiling water. Water vapour dissolves the perfumed oils, which is filled with petrol, passes through cooling tubes and leads the liquid to a tank, at the bottom of which rose water is deposited while the petrol supernatant. It will be extracted and packaged in essential oil. The rose is appreciated for its perfume and its cosmetic virtues, it is also part of the traditional pharmacopoeia.

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Cities
Kelaat Mgouna  
The Roses Valley  
High Atlas  
Hotels
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Kasbah Assafar

Valley of the roses – From 18 €

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Kasbah Iswan

Valley of the roses – From 25 €

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Dar Timitar

Valley of the roses – From 32 €

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Les Jardins de M’goun

Valley of the roses – From 35 €

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Le Jammou

Valley of the roses – From 39 €

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Kasbah Chems

Valley of the roses – From 40 €

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