Back in 2004, Alain Ribet -a friend from Bordeaux- told me « My brother Bernard has gone quite mad: he’s bought a farm in an oasis in deepest Morocco”.
These are the words of Catherine Quenisset, the charming French lady who now, together with her husband Philippe, runs the ecolodge Sawadi in the palm grove of Skoura, Morocco. Read their story and about their sustainable concept by clicking the links above!
The Sawadi farm has the comfort of a riad and is implanted in a 4 hectare domain, This means a huge garden, and here they grow almost everything they need for themselves and their guests. For example roses for making rose water, flowers for the calendula oil, and all vegetables for the kitchen.
The hotel part of Sawadi includes only seven living houses, and is consciously restricted to that. In fact, Sawadi is the only establishment in Skoura to receive the “green key” a sign of their commitment to tourism and sustainable development.
All the buildings at Sawadi have been designed and built respecting the traditional local Berber architecture. The ancestral technique means that the houses are daubed with a coating of mud and straw and they all have narrow window frames. This to make the interior of the house remain cool in summer and warm in winter. The area has a constant dry heat which also means you can visit any time of the year.
Sawadi is a place for both body and soul. Mindfulness. After leaving the luggage and changing clothes, we sat on the porch for a long time this evening. Just listening to the silence, only interrupted by the birds and the occational sound from the farm animals.
There is a beautiful pool and the kind of traditional hammam (a steam room for 3, maximum 4 people simultaneously ) you can find in the wealthy families of southern Morocco. Here they offer you a scrub and massage with the famous Argan oil.
Callistemon – in abundance
Food preparation is consistent with Sawadi’s ”natural” ideal. In Sawadi they do not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This is one of the reasons to why there are so many birds on the premises – and no mosquitos.
Sawadi is situated close to several places of interest. For example Aït Ben Haddou, the Todra and Dades Gorge, the valley of the roses, the valley of Draa, Telouet, Ouarzazate, Zagora, the road of 1000 Kasbahs.
Much thought has been given to children and their families. The playground for volleyball for example, and the offer to take care of the children for a whole day, should their parents want to go hiking or visiting some of the tourist spots nearby.
After an interesting walk through the gardens, kindly guided by the gentle gardener, we returned for a delicious dinner by the pool.
Unfortunately we only had a few hours in Sawadi – late evening and early morning…So, if I ever go back to Morocco, I certainly know where to stay. Thank you again , Catherine and Philippe!