In the dry folds of the High Atlas mountains, approaching the Sahara, there’s an unexpected place called the Vallée des Roses where, in spring, the entire area is awash with pink Persian roses. In the small town of El-Kelaâ M’Gouna, roses nestle among hedgerows so that they’re not immediately visible, but they are the town’s lifeblood, from their cultivation through to the production of rosewater. The flowers are harvested in mid-May, an event celebrated in the colourful and sweet-smelling Rose Festival for three days, which draws around 20,000 people to the small town.
Interesting Features of Rose Festival
- In the late spring months, the city is literally covered in roses. A pink carpet as far as the eye can see dots the otherwise brown landscape. It is believed that pilgrims who arrived in Morocco from Saudi Arabia brought rosa damascena, the variety of roses that are grown in this region, with them in the 10th century, and they continue to play a part in the city’s culture today.
- Unique to this festival are the rose perfumed streets, Moroccan women wearing traditional head scarves decorated with bright colored velvety flowers, and boys and girls wearing rose-garlands. Floral decorated floats, camel-rides, and an excursion organized by the festival coordinators to take a bus ride from Ouarzazate to the Valley of the Roses are a few of the highlights available to all.
- If you visit during the first week in May, you can observe the annual rose festival. There is never a set date for the festival as it depends on the harvest season. Expect a lot of local Berber musicians playing traditional instruments and dancing.
- There is also a parade and numerous booths set up by artisans and food vendors. Garlands of roses are sold by local children for a very small price.
- Roses are picked by hand and then transported to small distilleries in the area to be processed to make Rose Water.
If you are planning a Travel to Morocco in the month of May, then never miss this beautiful Rose festival of there. Those who are romantics at heart are likely to swoon at the opportunity to visit Kalaat M’gouna in the spring.