The Skoura oasis comprises a thin line of irrigated, fertile palmery, with dry rocky slopes to either side. Animals are not permitted to graze in the precious, cultivated area and so are kept just on the dry side of the line; to feed them, women constantly struggle up from the valley with huge loads of greenery – a characteristic sight here and throughout the southern valleys.

Southwest of Skoura 

The best point to stop and explore the skoura oasis is 2.5Km before you arrive at the village proper, coming from ouarzazate. Here, by the roadside, is a ruinous Kasbah, with a more recent single-storey building alongside; tour buses are sometimes parked beside it. This is the Kasbah de Ben Moro, which dates from the seventeenth century, and is said to have been built by a Spanish sheikh expelled from Andalucia. It nowadays belongs to the family of Mohammed Sabir, which lived in the old Kasbah until 1970 and now inhabit the house beside it; they use the old part for storage and and animals. Mohammed, if at home, will show visitors round, pointing out the living quarters on the first floor, the mill, and kitchens, and he will also guide you through the palmery, along a maze of paths and irrigation channels.

The palmery hereabouts is one of the lushest in Morocco, full of almond, olive and fig trees, vines and date palms, with alfalfa grass planted below for animal feed.


 

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