The last Nomads in Morocco
Nomadism is known in the history of many nations, a lifestyle that has been ended in some countries while still exists in some others. In Morocco, however, the development of the country is, Nomad lifestyle still exists, and who we think the last Nomads in Morocco still live the same as old-time, the same way of life as their ancestors 100 years ago. Nomads Move from one region to another with the herd looking for the best pastures and weather still oblige these small humanities to do the transhumance and to continue what they believe the form of freedom and living in the wild.
Due to the drought and the development of the world around them, Nomads of Morocco become less and less every single year, some tribes Like Ait Atta in the Atlas mountains use to be 500 families 50 years ago, while only about 50 exercise the nomadism nowadays. semi-nomads choose to continue the same lifestyle but to settle in a tent or a cave, with no more movements, while some settled in the valleys and villages to exercise agriculture or any other jobs available.
The Amazigh nomads who are over 90% follow the Muslim religion in a very personal way, celebrating the religious holidays, they follow the other Muslim duties without any separation from their culture or the unique language that they keep the most.
Where do Moroccan nomads live?
Since Morocco is a tribunal system just 50 years ago, every tribe has its own land and pastures, where they move from a season to another, looking for better herbs for their herd, and water. Most of the nomads live in the Atlas mountains in a goat-hair tent such as in the case with the Ait Atta tribe. The main income would be goats and often a few camels. Ait Atta originally lives in Jbel Saghro mountain, their homeland, although they have their pastures in the High Atlas, where they move in the summer month, every May families with their goats, the camel would take over 15 days journey walking from Saghro mountains to the High Atlas, by the beginning of the first snow they would do the same tripe back to their homeland in Saghro mountains.
Nomads live also in the Sahara desert of Morocco, in small communities, ofter far from each other, they live in a harmony with the harsh environment of the Sahara. Nomads of the Sahara live in different areas, around Erg Chebbi dunes you still can observe such a lifestyle as well as the surrounding of Erg Chegaga and the western Sahara in big numbers. This way of nomadism is the same as Touareg nomads in the north of Mali.
Some nomads in Morocco lives also in the caves, their movement uses to be a cave to another for the same reasons as the other nomads. Most of the nomads who live in Caves can be seen in the region of Boutghrar, Dades valley, and around Todgha gorges. Semi nomadism luckily is the name we can call this lifestyle that still keeps animals as the main source of living, still living in the wild under the tents or inside the caves but they don’t move anymore.
Where they get food and daily supplies:
In every region, nomads have their main Souk Market where get the supplies for a week or two weeks, Nkob Village as an example remain the principal market where all the nomads in Jbel Saghro get the food from, also the main market where they sell their goats. Every Saturday there is an opportunity to find nomads in the market of goats. Souk or weekly markets play an important role in the nomad’s life, not only to sell and buy but also to visit their families and to get the news since most of the nomads live in the wild.
Local transportation is available in most regions for the nomads to the market, The same local transport is usually provided to take their goats to the souk. Often Nomads travel on the back of their mule to get to the market and back to the camp the next day same as centuries ago. This weekly travel for a number of the family is the only way to involve in society.
What the nomads in Morocco wear?
Depending on the region, Mountain Nomads of Morocco wear slightly same clothes, Tajellabiyt or Jellaba still one of the main clothing for the nomads in Morocco, while the scarf is very important either in Mountain or the desert to protect both man and women from the heat of summer and the cold of winter.
In some Saharian regions, nomads wear Draia, which is a blue full dress that covers the whole body the same as Jellaba. This type of clothing believed to be originated from Touareg nomads who are living in different southern countries.
Women in the nomad’s lifestyle:
A woman for the nomad’s society is a noble queen, She struggles with her family in everyday life. In addition to taking care of the camp and children, women do any activity that men do, although the rule of women varied from a tribe to another and a clan to another. The woman is the artist in the Amazigh culture same as the Berber nomads in Morocco, not just in playing with the colors of the Henna during every special event, but also in making carpets, blankets, and the tent that protect her family from this harsh life in the wild.
Tattoos remain an art that Amazigh nomad women do for centuries, in their faces, in their hands, but this act is rare at the moment for the new generations due to religion and cultural influences.
Souk and traveling reason usually is a job of the father or the husband, since it’s used to be a dangerous adventure back in time when there is a lot of conflicts between tribes. To keep women safe usually is to stay around the tribe land where the tribe is settled for the season.
Nomads daily life:
Small kids usually stay in the camp with an adult who would take care of them and do some camp work such as bring water nearby. women as mentioned they would work in preparing the camp, bringing wood for fir, or often grazing the goat the whole day same as the men do. Bringing the water from a source or a well is a daily job that someone of the family may do same as grazing the goats and these two activities are a daily concern of everyone in the nomad family.
Weekly man would travel to the market to bring the supplies or to sell goats and it’s when a woman taking care of everything in the camp.
Daily life activities are also depending on the season, as we notice there is always something to do for everyone from the sunrise to the night, but the beauty of the landscape, the calm of the camp is always a chilling environment for any visitor.
Education for the nomads:
An education for nomad children almost means to change their lifestyle, in most of the regions where nomads live, school is far and privilege if a family is lucky to have a number who lives in a village, which makes it hard for the parents and their lifestyle in the same time, Hard from the family to put away their kids, while when they are educated can they support to continue the nomadic lifestyle? certainly, it is one of the challenges that nomads have!
Living in the wild would make it very hard for the nomad’s kids to get an education. Some associations would take the lead and help to build a tent school for the nomads in some regions although this effort may get harder to provide a teacher That can follow the nomads wherever they move to, especially when the number of families reduces year after another.
How does tourism help the nomads in Morocco?
Trekking in Morocco mountains helped the nomads to connect with the other world, providing their mules to carry tourist luggage, Nomads start to get involved in mountain tourism since they are the best guides in these wild terrains. In addition to mountain holidays, trekking in the Sahara offered opportunities to Nomads to be a part of the caravans of camel trekking to allow travelers to discover the hidden parts of the Sahara.
Some traveling companies such as Adrar Travel offers some unique experiences to get in touch with Nomads lifestyle, a homestay in the High Atlas as well as walking with nomads during their transhumance journeys, This type of cultural vacation in Morocco helped a lot of nomads to provide a better life for their families and to continue the lifestyle of nomadism which is in the way of disappearance.