If you plan on visiting the Fes region, Kamal Chaoui is in an exceptional host and a great resource for off-the-beaten-path activities while you’re there. My partner and I were staying in the Fes Medina for a week. While we truly loved Fes, we needed a break from the somewhat stressful and chaotic environment of the Medina. Enter Kamal Chaoui!
After reading about Bhalil and viewing Mr. Chaui’s YouTube videos about the region, I contacted him to see if he would show us around the area for a day trip. We were looking for some exercise and some remote mountain scenery to complement our very cultural visit in Fes. Kamal arranged the entire day for us that included pick-up and drop-off at our guesthouse in the Fes Medina. He and a certified Guide (Omar the Berber) accompanied us on a 6-hour hike from his guesthouse in Bhalil to Imouzzer Kandar along country farm roads through awesome post card scenery. Along the way he provided a very tasty lunch and snacks prepared by Naïma, the delightful cook at his Bhalil guesthouse.
Before setting out from Bhalil he gave us a tour of the weekly souk (Wednesdays) and arranged a short visit in one of the cave homes for which Bhalil is famous. Throughout our hike and our visit around Bhalil, Kamal provided commentary of the sights that made for a very interesting journey in addition to the great scenery. We stopped off at his guesthouse, Dar KamalChaoui, for some snacks and tea. His guesthouse is charming and immaculate. It would make a great location from which to base oneself for day hikes around the Middle Atlas Mountains.
A couple of days later he set up a similar visit to Tazzeka National Park. What a jewel that was! That trip took us through some spectacular mountain scenery: tiered waterfalls, forests of cedar and cork trees, and a very dramatic gorge upon exiting the park. It’s a strange thing that more Moroccans are not familiar with this national treasure.
Mr. Chaoui speaks fluent French, very proficient English, and a bit of German. If you’ve done your homework and you know where you want to go and what you want to see, he will extend his warm hospitality for the day according to a menu of pre-set fees. He limits the number of participants to about 3 or 4 people if any transportation is required. We made our 6-hour hike during the spring when temperatures were quite mild. During the hotter months you may want to cut this hike (Bhalil to Imouzzer) in half. There is a “somewhat flat half” and a “mountainous half” to the hike between Bhalil and Imouzzer Kandar.
Mr. Chaoui provided an exceptional experience not only because of his hospitality and personal attention, but also because of the time he was willing to invest in planning all of the logistical details based on the sites we wanted to see. He is passionate about his country and its history and takes great pride in sharing its beauty.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our Guests house is located in an Authentic village called Bhalil, this village is 24km close to Fez. How to come to Bhalil: A Grand Taxi shuttle is easy to catch from Bhalil to Sefrou located 3km from Bhalil for 3,5 Dirhams per person and needs 5 min to Serou, then catch a Grand Taxi at the same place from Sefrou to Fez, this time it will last 30 min and will cost 12 Dirhams per person, you can also ask us to bring you in our car for 25€ door to door. How to find us in Bhalil: have a look at Google map : Get enchanted by the view from our terrace direct to very close mountains, hundreds fields of olive trees are easily visible all around along with Fez city up there. Beds are hard and very confortable, quality is everywhere, food are fresh safe and tasty, we have European eyes to provide you European standards, safety and confort. We invite you to experience journeys with spiritual intention. Our tours blend authentic cross-cultural encounters with educational programs, recreational activities and life-changing adventure. We aim to take you into the hearts of our culture and to provide unique opportunities for learning, inspiration and personal discovery. ... more less
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