Ecotourism and cultural tourism in Todra Valley, Morocco.

Ecotourism in Todra valley (Morocco)

Discovering the architecture of soil

Live together with Berbers in a Ksar

Hotel in El Khorbat, Todra valley, south Morocco. Restaurant with traditionnal moroccan kitchen in Todra valley..
Excursions in Ferkla oasis, Todra gorges and Merzouga dunes. Oasis Museum in El Khorbat, Todra valley, Morocco.

El Khorbat is an ancient Ksar, a fortified village, build of soil in the middle of the 19th century and recently restored, thanks to the international cooperation. It is located 50 Km. east from Tinghir (or Tinerhir), in the low valley of Todra, South Morocco.

About half of the houses of El Khorbat are still inhabited. Others have been rehabilitated with different functions, as a guesthouse, a museum or a handcraft workshop for women.

The object aims to use ecotourism in order to protect a historical and architectural patrimony of incalculable value: the Kasbahs made of soil.

El Khorbat has now converted into the ideal starting point for excursions to the oasis of the South of Morocco, the gorges of Todra and Gheris, the road of thousand Kasbahs and also the grand sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, near Merzouga.

This project of responsible tourism was founded in 2002 by three partners, Ahmed Ben Amar, Joan Castellana and Roger Mimó, who collaborate closely with the Association El Khorbat for Patrimony and Sustainable Development in order to improve the living conditions of the people and to organize a sustainable development for the oasis.

Our project obtained the trophy Maroc of Responsible Tourism 2010, for values, tradition and culture, national category.

Bienvenidos al ksar El Khorbat, en español.         Bienvenus au ksar El Khorbat, en français.        Benvinguts a l'alcàsser El Khorbat, en català.

Trophy Maroc of Responsible Tourism    The Green Key

El Khorbat obtained the Green Key and the Trophy Maroc of Responsible Tourism 2010.
Values, tradition and culture.


How to arrive at El Khorbat:

– Airports close by

– Transfers

– Public transport

– Tours departing from Fez or Marrakech

Morocco map to arrive at Ksar El Khorbat.

GPS coordinates:

N 31º 29,693’ – W 05º 05,206’.


Web map

Ksar El Khorbat wall, in Todra valley, south Morocco.

In El Khorbat you can buy embroider shawls or other local products, directly from the women who made them, or they can make you a henna drawing on your hands...

Embroider shawls in Ksar El Khorbat, south Morocco. Henna tatoo in El Khorbat, near Tinghir, Morocco. Fair market in Ksar El Khorbat

Meanwhile your children can play or have a bath.

Place for children in guesthouse El Khorbat. Swimming pool in a hotel in Ksar El Khorbat, near Tinghir, Morocco.

But, please,


Sustainable tourism: don't push children to begging.

When a tourist gives a child money, a chewing gum or a pen, he can’t imagine the damage he is doing!

  • This baby will get used to demand gifts from strangers.

  • For him, they’ll be like a walking purse.

  • Demanding every time more presents, this child will quit school and won’t have a better future than being a tourist hunter.

In El Khorbat we promote a sustainable tourism with respect to the nature and traditions of the local population.

In El Khorbat the children don’t ask the visitors permanently for presents as it happens in other villages, because until now the tourists haven’t got them used to it.

The Ksar El Khorbat Oujdid

Big door and minaret of the mosque in Ksar El Khorbat.

Central street of Ksar El Khorbat in south Morocco.

Public place of Ksar El Khorbat in Todra valley.

Ksar El Khorbat terrasses in Todra valley.

Clay building in Ksar El Khorbat, Todra valley.

Ksar El Khorbat wall in Todra valley, Morocco.

Wall of Ksar El Khorbat, Morocco.

Tower in the wall of Ksar El Khorbat, south Morocco.

The word Ksar has a wide meaning. It can refer to any kind of fortress, palace, barn or military base, depending on the country and the region where it’s located.

In the south of Morocco, a Ksar is a village surrounded by walls, made of soil, with one or more monumental entrances and at least the following communitarian infrastructure: the mosque, the baths, a Koran school, a public place and sometimes an inn.

In the pre-Saharan valleys, between the rivers Drâa and Ziz, there were about one thousand Ksars in 1920. Today, more than half of them have disappeared or are in ruins, but still there are some that a partly or completely inhabited. They form a very important historic and artistic patrimony that hasn’t been protected until the last years of the 20th century.

The name El Khorbat (which in Arab means ‟the ruins”) makes us think that its founders were Beni Maaquil Arabs of Roha tribe who settled in the region of Ferkla in the 14th or 15th century. A part of the population also consists of farmers with dark skin known as Ikabliin.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the old Ksar El Khorbat (Ighrem Akedim) was occupied by the Ait Atta Berbers, who chased away the Arabs but accepted to live together with the Ikabliin in order to keep them cultivating the land recently occupied. Later on they extended the village and constructed a new wall.

At about 1860 another Berber tribe, the Ait Merghad that came originally from the valley of Dadès, chased away the Ait Atta from El Khorbat and built a second Ksar next to it called Oujdid, which became their political capital. The Kaid or chief of the tribe had his residence in El Khorbat and was recognized by the Sultan of Morocco.

The important political role of El Khorbat was maintained until the beginning of the French protectorate in 1934. After this date, the French authorities constructed their ‟Bureau d’Affaires Indigènes” about five kilometres further in the east, in order to be the future town of Tinejdad, and they transferred the administration of the oasis over there.

The Ksar El Khorbat Oujdid was constructed following a rectangular and very regular sketch. It is crossed by a central street from one end to the other. The doors of the houses are distributed over eight impasses perpendicular to the main street. The only exception is the Kaid’s house which opens directly to this one.

At the beginning there was only one monumental entrance into the Ksar. This entrance has the shape of an arch and simple decorations. There are also two watchtowers at the two sides of the entrance, four in the corners, one on the lateral side, and two on the backside, in total nine watchtowers. The public place with the mosque is located between the entrance and the central street.

The main and the side streets are mostly shaded by the first floors of the houses. Only the crossings are not; so they appear like fountains of light and give the whole Ksar a mysterious attractively.

The houses have three to four levels, which mean 10 to 14 meters height. The surface is varying between 30 and 200 square meters in each floor. The ground level, the first floor and sometimes as well the second floor are constructed with pisé (rammed earth). The third floor is built with sun-dried clay bricks, with a thickness of about 30 cm. The outer wall reaches 100 cm. of thickness and a heigh of four meters and continues with 50 cm. thickness for 9 to 12 meters. Many houses are connected with the wall.

The traditional doors are made with palm tree wood. Some windows are also made of wood, but others have forged iron grills. The exterior decoration occupies the highest part of the buildings. It consists of geometric figures made with clay bricks. The parapets that surround the terraces are crowned by triangular step like battlements.

Recently there have been opened new entrances to the houses piercing the outer wall an some of them have iron doors. There also has been constructed a minaret of concrete above the mosque, but it has been recovered with clay and straw in order to make appear visually similar to the rest of the village.

The Ksar El Khorbat has been restored by a local Association, thanks to the financial help of the School of technical Architects of Barcelona.

Ksar El Khorbat plan in Todra valley, Morocco.

Ksar El Khorbat, Morocco

Phone 00-212-535880355    Fax 00-212-535880357    Mobile 00-212-676527392
E-mail d’El Khorbat

Rooms of the Guesthouse El Khorbat. Restaurant El Khorbat. The Oasis Museum in Ksar El Khorbat. Excursions from Ksar El Khorbat. Circuits in Morocco International cooperation in Ksar El Khorbat. How to arrive to the Ksar El Khorbat. Airports. Transfers. Map of Morocco. Prices and discounts to stay in Ksar El Khorbat.