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Kasbah du Toubkal

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Update from the Kasbah du Toubkal (archived page)

Jim Cooper’s lovely watercolour

The new Garden House

I am pleased to say that all continues to go well at the Kasbah and it is busy despite what has been a difficult year for the tourist industry. Guests continue to enjoy our offering and the Kasbah is increasingly well received. The addition of the Garden House has increased the range of accommodation and we believe we are now able to offer a huge range of accommodation to suit most pockets and taste from Berber salons through to the luxury of the new Garden house.

“The Kasbah was not only the highlight but one of the most memorable venues we have ever been to. We were extremely lucky with the weather but my comments are:

Service/welcome : 10/10. Outstanding.

Quality of accommodation: 9.5/10 - the new house is a superb addition - slight prob with bath which they fixed immediately.

Trekking: 10/10 - excellent guide, lunch. mules for the children (very important!)

Transport : Mohammed 10/10 - incredibly reliable + courteous

Pricing: not cheap but worth every penny. People will pay those prices for that quality.

Overall: excellent and we will be back very soon preceded by numerous friends. Can’t think of anything adverse; would say if I could!

I must congratulate you on what you have achieved both in terms of what we as a family enjoyed but more importantly how well the Kasbah seems to have been received in the country + the local community + all the local initiatives that you have completed so successfully work in property development but have yet to complete a redevelopment that would make me anywhere near as proud.”

Tim Mockett & Family stayed in The Garden House, April 2003

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New hammam

As a near final addition (there may be a hot tub at a later date) to the Kasbah, november will see the completion of the Kasbah’s second hammam. They are so popular after trekking that we need another! The new one is similar to the original and adjoins it, so can be used as a single complex but has a grander changing area and a plunge pool/fountain. There will be a seating area looking towards Imlil to allow people to relax and savour the views.

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Michael Apter’s “the eight ways of being”

We have also been featured in a new business motivational book by Steve Carter and Jeremy Kourdi. Steve stayed at the Kasbah when he organised a meeting for Boots plc.

The book is entitled “The Road to Audacity” ISBN 1-4039-0617-3

Extracts from the chapter “The Road to Morocco”

“The impulse for this book came in a small room in a tower on the roof of a Kasbah. I was staying there as a result of a determination to do something totally different to create a more liberating approach to the way organizations regenerate themselves. I was seeking new ideas and places that would stimulate radical and innovative thinking: a place where people could think through what to achieve and let go of tired assumptions and prejudices…

The Kasbah is a place that inspires people not just for where it is, but also for its story and what it stands for…

The Kasbah is audacious. Its audacity is not born out of huge resources of a large corporation but because it works at so many different motivational levels. To go there is to see all eight of Michael Apter’s ‘eight ways of being’ expressed in tangible, positive ways.

‘The Road to Audacity’ is essentially about rediscovering what it means for work to be based upon what it is to be human, and to make sure that our organizations address and create the conditions in which all aspects of peoples personality can flourish. The focus of this is not about social responsibility but about motivational connection.

Motivationally what we value will change as we move between the states. The mystery of the Kasbah means that which ever motivational state you are in, you can see its intrinsic value being met in special and more profound way. These places are very effective at nourishing, inspiring and appealing to the forces—the eight ways of being—that motivate us and effect our behaviour.”

To learn more about the “states” and this motivational theory “reversal theory” read the book, it’s well worth it.

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Easter 2004: 8th to 11th April - party and fund raising event for the village hammam

All is going well and it looks as if it has the makings of a great event, with many friends and past visitors to the Kasbah already paid up and travelling from various corners of the globe. If any one would like to reserve a place, who has not already done so details are attached. If you cannot make it but would like to support the event, any donations would be gratefully received and provide a little bit more motivation for those 1,000km by bike!! Mike has started training in a modest way and hopes to be in a more “Mastery” state rather merely “rebellious”/“playful” (read the book The Road to Audacity to understand) by next spring!

We have already been given gifts to auction off to raise funds at this event. The auction will take place on the 10th of April at the Kasbah but those unable to attend will be able to send in their bids prior to this. The gifts already pledged include:

  • Jim Cooper’s lovely watercolour (see above) of the Kasbah plus other painting from his travels around the country. Apart from the original watercolour Jim and Dawn have provided cards of this painting and others which are on sale at the Kasbah priced £2 or £5 by post.
  • La Mamounia: 2 nights B&B at this famous Marrakech hotel.
  • Riad Noga: 3 nights B&B at one of Marrakech’s top Riads right in the centre of the Medina.
  • Alan Keohane special one-off photo print Alan photo books include: The Berbers of Morocco (many of the photos in the Kasbah are Alan’s) and Bedouin Nomads of the Desert which has been re-released in paperback in 2003.
  • Amanjena: 2 nights B&B at Marrakech’s most prestigious hotel.

Many more are expected and will be gratefully received, so if you have any to offer please contact us. A full list of the items in the auction will follow at a later stage.

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Building on the Kasbah’s BA Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2002

The poor state of the road to Imlil has traditionally acted as a natural barrier and has controlled visitor numbers. This will all change with the improvement of the road to Imlil and the decision to build a through piste to the Ski Resort at Oukaïmeden. Discover Ltd (owners of Kasbah du Toubkal) has always been concerned about the implications of the road and has been engaged in discussions with the local authorities on its impact. This has been mainly with the Local Governor, the Head of the National Park and the local authorities (President du Commune and the local Caid and Super Caid). Formal Impact Assessments are not traditional in the local area where to date any progress is seen as good progress.

Following on from the BA Award last year and presentations on the Kasbah Project both in Rabat and London, Discover Ltd proposed to host a meeting at the Kasbah, to include all “les acteurs” to discuss the impact of the arrival of the new road, how to improve car parking facilities and generally ensure that the Recreational Carrying Capacity—which is fragile—is not exceeded just when good overall progress on sustainability is being made.

We are pleased to announce that the local Governor Mohamed Ichennaren—the local representative of the King—has embraced Imlil since his appointment in 2000 and has become a champion for appropriate rural development and sustainable tourism. As a result real progress is being made towards creating a destination that can really claim the title Tourism for Tomorrow.

We are pleased to be able to detail some of the proposals for Imlil below. It will be on the basis of these plans once started/completed that the village of Imlil will enter the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award in The Environmental Experience category in 2004 or 2005. This will allow Imlil to act as a showcase to other places on what can be done when a shared vision has been created. The attractions of visiting the area are understood and both preservation and development are needed simultaneously.

Regreening of Imlil. A set of local plans (sort of zoning) have been created by The Governor which include a new car park to counteract the increased traffic due to the road improvement. This car park will be managed by the local Villages of Imlil and the income accrues to the village.

The main street (there is only one) will be made a pedestrian/mule only area. The main street will be resurfaced in cobbles to enhance its appearance and maintain a rural feel. All deliveries to the village shops will need to stop at the car park and unload. Transport from the new car park will be by mule - thereby ensuring livelihoods for the muleteers all year round.

A set of Design Guidelines are to be published and enforced that will reflect—at the level of appearance—the vernacular architecture. This is aimed at covering appearance, height, position and other aspects like signage, street lighting and light pollution. Certain buildings in the village have already been subjected to Photoshop makeovers by the local administration so as to give a clear idea of before and after. Many of the details being suggested are based on work that has taken place at The Kasbah du Toubkal.

A new bypass will be created that takes what traffic there is around the village centre of Imlil and onwards to Aremd or towards the new proposed piste to the Ski Resort.

Improved rubbish collection services covering all the villages in the valley are being created and rubbish will be taken to a small incinerator (designed for medical use) for disposal. 15 large rubbish bins have been distributed around the villages and their contents will be collected twice a week or more often if needed, sorted and disposed of. The village shopkeepers will continue to pay for this service. The incinerator follows a design from the Centre of Intermediate Technology. One following this design has already been commissioned at the Kasbah with great success.

A new extension to the school has been built and by local alliances with other NGO’s apprenticeship schemes in such skills as electricians, carpentry, and agriculture are being developed to enable appropriate skills to be transferred to the local population as their environment changes.

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Request for educational equipment and clothing for children

As part of the Governor's plans to improve the opportunities in the area and particularly for children he has specifically asked us if we might be able to assist by the collection of any items of an educational nature - paper pens, computers (surely there are many obsolete to us that could be functional) and children's clothes etc. If anyone is able to assist please contact us.

We hope that by working together and in a sympathetic way, we will be able to keep the Kasbah and Imlil special. Eloquently expressed in our visitors book by Cate:

“I just wanted to thank you so very much for creating this incredible space. For me, it was so good not to feel like I was entirely squashing someone’s culture and home, as is the case when Westerners travel to so many parts of the world. I have been inspired and privileged to stay here and see that we can travel and live differently - if we choose.”

Cate Buchanan September 2003

We look forward to welcoming you at the Kasbah and thank you for your continued support in this project.

Regards

Mike McHugo and All at the Kasbah du Toubkal and Discover Ltd.

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