The ochre city has two facades. On the one hand, a frenetic city of a million inhabitants (and thirteen times as many tourists in 2019), and on the other, a garden city, born from founder Youssef Ibn Tachfine’s vision in 1070. And oh how pleasant it is to live in the few micro-oasis Marrakech still has to offer!
Mokhtar’s farm is a beautifully preserved green space, honouring what used to be the city’s outskirts agricultural richness. Believe it or not, Marrakech was once the heart of a “green belt”.
There is no doubt that when you rent a luxury riad in the medina, a change of scenery can only do you good. You will be able to hear the sound of birds singing, the soft whisper of vegetation and sometimes, even silence. Under the straw-roofed arbours, you can enjoy a tea made with freshly picked herbs and organic vegetable tagine (reservation required), prepared with love and no chemical additives, adding to the unique flavour.
This green haven is about a twenty minute car ride from Marrakech centre, in the direction of Tahanaout. Not too complicated to find, this hidden treasure is well deserved. “Those who like and share our passion, know where to find us”, jokes Aziz, one of those in charge of welcoming guests. Relaxation and friendliness are the order of the day.
History and family lands
Mokhtar, the house owner, does more than just plant vegetables. “I have two wives, my wife and my farm”, he says, smiling. “It is not an easy life and it requires skills, but when you see your work accomplished, satisfaction takes over the exhaustion”. And with a green juice packed with vitamins, the energy is back !
Mokhtar’s passion isn't random. Before him, his father and ancestors were already cultivating the lands and unlike other farmers, he never gave in to the big financial and land pressures this area of Marrakech is facing.
Instead, Mokhtar chose to preserve his heritage and develop what has become his life project for the past ten years. Years of working from dawn to sunset, he has created an idyllic paradise setting. “Our children will inherit all this, and I don't want to leave them a garage can”, he says with conviction.
100% natural and sustainable
The vegetable garden and crops are all managed according to the principles of permaculture.
This method of agricultural production has existed since the 1970s and is inspired by the harmony of nature. This sustainable approach relies on the complementarity between plant species, where the soils are preserved and the ecosystem able to regenerate itself. And when it comes to the farmer, he is the guarantor of all of this to be able to take place.
Mokhtar takes this role very seriously. "For me, plants are like human beings. They need to eat, drink, be cared for and receive love. I particularly like courgettes because it’s really like communicating with a person. At different stages of its growth, it expresses its needs”, and the farmer needs to know how to listen to them.
Humbly, he adds: "Our permaculture is not recent, our ancestors already worked like this. My father harvested his own seeds, sometimes spending cold winter nights outside to water his plants”.
Meals on site or vegetables to take away
Mokhtar's passion and green thumb are savoured on the plate. Vegetables, always only seasonal, are tasty. The lemons, bergamots, oranges or olives derive from the nearby orchard, the honey is collected from the farm’s ten hives and the bread is made with the its cereals.
Not only can you have your meal on the site and benefit from the virtues of the green setting, but you can also stock up on the fresh products and bring them back to your private villa in Marrakech, throughout the week.
The team is caring, motivated and voluntary and includes professionals as well as young people in training and isolated women... Sharing is at the heart of Mokhtar's approach.
Workshops on the farm
The green oasis also welcomes schoolchildren from a neighbouring establishment. They have their own small vegetable garden and their own harvest. This delights Mokhtar, because the farm is also designed as a place to raise awareness and transmit his philosophy of life.
Over the years, he has also become an adviser to people in the surrounding area who are interested in permaculture. In fact, training sessions will soon be held at the farm, as well as cooking workshops using farm products, yoga workshops and bicycle rides (you'll have to bring your own) to explore the farm’s different sites.
And if you're not in the mood for sports or putting on an apron, reading a good book on the comfy sofas will do just as well.
After this escapade experience and reconnection with nature, trust us that you will return to your holiday rental in Marrakech filled with good vibes... until your next visit!
How to get to Mokhtar's farm
From the city centre, take the RD203, direction Tahanaout, for a little more than 11km. Immediately after the "Loubabe restaurant" petrol station, turn right. Be careful, this small road is not very visible and there are no signs. Follow the track (very practicable).
Cross two small douars then, after a bend, look out for the farm. Along the road on your right you will see the facilities.
Parking is allowed on the side of the road.
Phone to book: +212 6 67843490