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Kasbah du Toubkal

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Books and film

Books the Kasbah is featured in…

Reasonable Plans, by Derek Workman

Reasonable PlansWe are delighted to offer you the opportunity to download this new PDF booklet which describes in wonderful detail the story of Kasbah du Toubkal, from the original vision and plans of the late 80s to the present-day award-winning eco-lodge that has transformed the fortunes of the local area.

Here is a brief excerpt from the introduction:

“As you sit at your table on the sun-drenched roof terrace of the Kasbah du Toubkal, with Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa forming a magnificently rugged backdrop, and the villages of the Imlil Valley spread out below you, it’s unlikely that you will give much thought to your immediate surroundings, other than to delight in the Moroccan food on your plate. But the plate you eat off, the stool you sit on, the beautiful Moroccan rug beneath your feet and the straw hat on your head; the couscous on your plate and the dates and spicy olives in their small bowls decorated in Tifnache Berber script; the cups you drink the fresh mountain water from and the ornate kettle the waiter uses for tasse, the traditional ritual washing of hands before eating – none of it got there by chance.

Cast your eye a little further, to take in the metalwork of the stairways and the stout wood of the upper shaded terrace; the floor tiles and trees, the seed for the lawn and glass for the windows. In your room are toilets, sinks, showers and beds; djellabas and babouches, the traditional robes and slippers you are invited to wear during your stay. Every single stick of furniture, every piece of linen, all the wood and stone used for construction and the food served at your table, was carried up the steep rough track you arrived on (long before there were steps to help you on your way) on the backs of mules – and sometimes even on the backs of men. The single largest item, an industrial washing machine, took sixteen men – four at each corner of a specially constructed sling – to manhandle it up to the Kasbah, following the narrow mule path created over generations.

As a feat of endurance, imagination and sheer tenacity, the Kasbah du Toubkal is remarkable, and worthy of the awards that have been heaped upon it. But, from the moment of its inception as a Berber Hospitality Centre, it has contributed to the health, wealth and well-being of the people of the villages of the Imlil Valley and beyond.”

Download a copy of the booklet in PDF 1.4 MB

Authentic Ecolodges, by Hitesh Mehta

Authentic Ecolodges, by Hitesh MehtaDefinition of Ecotourism: “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people.”

Authentic Ecolodges brings this success to the pages in brilliant images and informative descriptions of thirty-six ecolodges that stand out as among the very best in the world…If you get to personally experience even just one of the lodges found on the following pages, running the full spectrum from budget to luxury, you will experience true ecotourism, where the guest, the natural environment, and the local people come together to deliver a positive return on life—a rewarding travel experience that also gives back to the planet.

From the Foreword of the book, Costas Christ, Global Editor National Geographic Traveller Magazine

Highlights from the Kasbah du Toubkal entry:

“Kasbah is the perfect synthesis of eco-conservancy and mid-level luxury … A modern-day citadel blessed with a healthy dose of eco-consciousness, Kasbah provides a level of comfort, graciousness, and hospitality unrivalled in the area and uncommon in the rest of the world.”

Click on the images below to see large scans of the Kasbah entry in the book:

Visit Amazon to order the book: Amazon UK

Extracts from Steve Carter’s & Jeremy Kourdi’s The Road to Audacity
ISBN 1-4039-0617-3

The Road to Audacity 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.

What was it that makes some people and some organizations able to respond audaciously, and others not?

And then I began to find out about the Kasbah…

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

From the start, the vision was to develop something upon sustainable principles that would benefit both visitors and local inhabitants. It was to be both a successful business and an experiment in social entrepreneurship. The vision for this place I find astonishing in its motivational richness. It is quoted verbatim…

The result is a place to stay that feels unique for the traveler. The Kasbah is not a conventional hotel, and the accommodation is a mixture of traditional Berber salons and elegant cool rooms, with furniture and other objects reflecting local ideas and crafts. The food and hospitality are authentically Berber and local traditions and etiquette are maintained. It has become a place not just for the wanderer going on up into the High Atlas Mountains but a place to stop, let go and think. The roof of the Kasbah on which you can sleep provides an environment of almost indescribable tranquility. All this on its own would make the Kasbah remarkable. But the Kasbah is more than an unusual and exotic place to stay, and its commitments to the local community goes beyond providing work for the local artisans…

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. Perhaps the mixture of the McHugo’s different worlds enables the Kasbah to remain commercially viable and increasingly successful. It is interesting as this book closes to compare it with The Eden Project: both seem to thrive because they have willfully defied conventional thinking, while retaining a sound business approach. At the heart of both ventures are values that address fundamental aspects of ourselves. They are richly appealing.

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 affect our behaviour.

Download Chapter 11 from The Road to Audacity in PDF format


So impressive is the scenery that film director Martin Scorsese chose Imlil as one of the locations for Kundun, his film about the Dalai Lama, temporarily transforming the Kasbah into a Tibetan monastery.

Martin Scorsese, the film director, made a film in Morocco about the early life of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet for India when the Chinese occupied Tibet. This film became the centre of a major issue between China, who wanted the film to be cancelled, and Disney, who decided to distribute the film. The Chinese threatened to refuse Disney permission to open a Disneyland park near Shanghai. Ultimately the President of Disney resigned but the film continued.

What has this to do with Imlil? Well, in November 1996 the Kasbah was temporarily transformed into the Tibetan Monastery of Dungkar, to which the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa in Tibet. Filming was based at the studios in Ouarzazate, but moved to Imlil for 5 weeks of set preparation and a few days shooting using Tibetan actors, extras and film crew. The Kasbah was clad with stonework, prayer wheels, wooden doors and Tibetan domes! 100 Tibetans, 45 horses and 2 yaks transformed the valley. Local villagers were employed during the quiet winter period to meet the 33 4x4 vehicles, 10 lorries and all sorts of film making equipment which had to be transported up to the Kasbah.

Our capable host, Omar, was a key coordinator between the village and the location crew. Snow was made from Epsom salts and the weather for the days of filming last December was all that the art directors had wished for – with a respectable amount of snow on the backdrop of mountains. The Tibetan actors and extras were flown to Morocco from Nepal, India and even New York. Local Village Involvement: Part of the location fee has been given to the Imlil Village Association, a NGO to use the development jargon, which should enable the villages represented to work with outside agencies in an officially recognised format.

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