From Marrakech the road climbs through steep wooded hills besides the river to emerge 90 km later into the high valley of the Nfiss. it is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in Morocco, an archetypal vision of a secret valley surrounded by jagged horizon of snow-capped mountains. flowing through this upper valley is the river Nfiss: found in gentle aspect, a stream of slow-moving, cool, clear water full of darting trout, with orchards, terraced gardens and hillside hamlets lining its bank
7 km from Berber Home-stay the Almohad Mosque of Tin Mal emerges high up on the opposite bank of the river, a fortress of the faith with its high walls and strong towers. it is usually empty of tourists, yet must be considered one of the most memorable sites of Morocco, the sole survivor of the 12th-century city of Tin Mal and one of only two Mosques in Morocco that a non-Muslim may enter. Its striking position, deep in the High Atlas mountains, is only equaled by its extraordinary history.It has been restored in the last decade and a small museum built to house various architectural fragments. The track from the road has also been repaired, and you no longer have to clamber across a broken bridge.
The Tizi N'Test: the road that extends beyond Marrakech to Taroudant and Taliouine - it's unbelievably impressive. cutting right through the heart of the Atlas, it was blasted out from the mountains by the French in 10 November 1928 - the first modern route lo link Marrakech with the souss plain and the desert and an extraordinary feat of pioneer-spirit engineering. Until then it had been considered impracticable without local protection and knowledge: an important pass for trade and for the control and subjugation of the south, but one of that few sultans were able to make their own. Through much of the last century it was the personal fief of the goundafi family, whose huge Kasbah still dominate many of the crags and strategic turns along the way. Much farther into the past it had served as the refuge and power-base of the Almohads, and it was from the holy city of Tin Mal, up towards the col that they launched their attack on the Almoravid dynasty. The Col du Tizi n'Test, 2,100m in height, stands 43km beyond Berber Homestay. There's a cafe-restaurant just south of the pass. Walk back along the road a kilometre Frome here and you will find a track leading straight up to the col towards a platform mounted by a TV relay station. The views down to the Souss valley and back towards Toubkal can be stunning.