Difference between revisions of "Asni"
Revision as of 10:47, 1 April 2008
Asni is a small town, in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. It is about a two hour drive from Marrakech. As the town is on both the routes into and around the Atlas mountains, there is a steady drift of tourists, and hence the place is full of hustlers. For a more peaceful stay near the Atlas mountains, carry on up the road to the more attractive Imlil.
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It takes about 1 hour to get from Marrakech to Asni. There are buses from the central bus station which ostensibly leave every 30 minutes (although this is not what we found). We found a quicker way was to take a petit taxi to the out-of-town grand taxi 'park' (cost 15dh. If you're better at haggling you can get this lower, if you care about a few pence). From there, a grand taxi will take you to Asni (cost 90dh split between 6 of us[Grand taxis are maybe not the way, if you don't like sharing very confined spaces with strangers. However, we got on well, swapped food and drink, etc]).
Alternatively, if you are staying at Kasbah Tamadot (Sir Richard Branson's luxury hotel), private transfers are available from the Marrakech airport to the resort bookable through Virgin Limited Edition.
Asni describes both the small village where the grande taxis drop you and the wider valley, however if we just consider the village: It is split into two parts. The 'commercial' area, down by the main road. Here there are shops lined up on either side of the road. Behind the shops up a slope to the South(?) a short distance is the 'residential' part of the village, consisting of 50 or so houses.
Obviously walking on foot is the way to get around (as the village is only a few hundred metres wide).
This village has little to see. We were taken to the smaller residential part while waiting for a van to take us to Imlil. These small old mud-brick houses seem amazing the first time you seem them, but you'll see more, higher up in the mountains, without all the touts and conmen.
For many people there's little to do here beyond buying food and water, and leaving. Okay, that's a bit harsh. Asni has many hammam (bath houses), which would have been nice after long walks in the day. It has a weak market too, selling feet, hairnuts, mental work, etc...(unconfirmed!)
Food, Water(probably a really good idea if you're planning to head further into the mountains. Bottled water gets more expensive the further you get from Marrakech? And if you feel like being conned, there are Loads of really naff trinkets being sold by hustlers.
The weekly market might be worth a look too. However, remember Marrakech probably has everything you can buy here, at half the price.
There are a couple of cafes on the main street, but we didn't try them.
Others report some have very good food.
This is rural Morocco...Alcohol is legal
There is one hostel and one hotel (apparently, would like this confirmed).
Additionally, Sir Richard Branson's new luxury Moroccan retreat is in Asni. It features a total of 19 rooms and suites.
To get back to Marrakech a grande taxi back is the best way. Warning: Taxis back to Marrakech are in general more expensive than coming here. The is because people often travel through the mountains, so theres less people coming back to Marrakech (apparently...)
To go on up into the mountains, please read the Imlil page. I have read somewhere recently that Branson no longer owns this property