A trip to Morocco is not complete without a visit to Bhalil, a small town located half an hour’s drive from Fes. The people here have lived simply in caves for generations and continue to do so.
Bhalil has a population of 17,000 people and has yet to be discovered by the tourists. However, it is worthwhile to take a short trip out there to see and experience the real Morocco.
Tour companies like #insightvacations provide you with an optional afternoon visit to Bhalil on their Spain, Portugal and Morocco tour.
But don’t expect any top name restaurants or designer stores. This is the real Morocco.
The people live in caves that have been handed down from generation to generation. One such dwelling is owned by Mohammad and his cave was first built 600 years ago.
Mohammad is a character and had been named Mohammad the Intelligent by the town because he was the only one in Bhalil who could speak English. He is often called upon by the people in town to help write letters and other correspondence as requested.
I was fortunate to be given the opportunity today to be invited into Mohammed’s cave house as part of my #insightvacations tour.
From the outside it looks like a normal Moroccan house with a wooden front door. But step inside and you feel as if you have stepped into an actual cave. The cave was made out of limestone with a low roof.
There are only two main rooms. One being the living quarters for sleeping and family time. The second contains a kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities. As we sat down with Mohammad it was great to learn all about the life of his family in the cave dwelling.
The temperature of the cave remains cool all year round. It is a welcome relief from the warm weather outside.
It may seem primitive to an outsider, but in fact some of the dwellings lie Mohammed’s have electricity and running water. So, they are are more civilised than you might imagine. Perhaps, even more do.
The people of Bhalil know how to live simply and peacefully. However, Bhalil is not wealthy. The people do what they can to make a living. The women teach their children how to make buttons which are then sold for money.
So, next time you are in Morocco be sure to grab a guide and visit the small cave dwelling town of Bhalil. It will certainly open up your eyes and make you realise how lucky we are.