Berber Nomads in Morocco: Berbers (Amazighs, Imazighen, in the Berber Language) are the ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. They are distributed in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. Mountain Berbers live in houses made of mud bricks or cement. However, the wandering desert Berbers Nomads use black tents made of goat and camel hair that can be easily loaded onto camels for the journey across the desert. The tents are simple affairs held up with wooden poles and have no floors.
Men are dressed in typical Berber blue clothing. The tough conditions of the Sahara desert prevented any serious attempt at agricultural development. For this reason, the Berbers preferred to lead a nomadic rather than sedentary lifestyle. This mobile lifestyle is central to their culture, which is perhaps why they refer to themselves as “free people.”
Men and boys take care of the livestock. Women raise the children, cook, and make handicrafts – first for their personal use, and secondly for sale in regional open-air market places called souks. The Berber tribes are famous for woven carpets and rugs, especially those living close to, or in Morocco. The tapestry designs reflect the traditional customs and origins of each tribe. While mountain Berbers grow crops and raise animals on mountain terraced slopes, nomads depend upon the herds of sheep, goats, and camels for meat, milk, and cheese. Hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, offers some variety to the daily diet.
Traditionally, the Berbers have used their unique ability to navigate the Sahara to act as key players in the trade network between North Africa and the Middle East. It is difficult to find your way through the faceless, sandy landscape of the Sahara desert. That’s why Berber in the Sahara are like Sailors on the high seas, they orient themselves by the stars.
In addition, the Berbers have many stories and songs describing how to find small watering holes and a number of recognizable landmarks scattered across the desert.
The Social Structure Of The Berbers
In terms of religion, the vast majority of Berbers are Muslim and have practiced their faith for centuries. But there are a few unique aspects of their culture that have survived cultural influences.
Berber society is centered on the concept of the tribe, which usually consists of extended family clans. Each tribe has its own leader. The chief is responsible for justice and the resolution of disputes, as well as making important decisions concerning the tribe.
Like other nomadic cultures, the Berber clans live in tents, which they set up when they find a good place to graze their animals. A particularly unique part of Berber culture is guest rights. When one receives food and water from the Berbers, he becomes their guest. In this case, the host takes responsibility for the safety of the guest.
It may seem strange from a Western perspective, but in a place where finding accommodation and water is a matter of life and death, hospitality is very important.
Visit The Berber Nomads Villages in The Desert
All our tours include visits to nomads in the South-east of Morocco, especially in Merzouga or Zagora and their extremities. We will visit some Berber villages to discover the lifestyle of Berber Nomads and feel their hospitality. For an exotic holiday tour adventure, Travel to Morocco.
Many adventurous trips are available with our tour agency Morocco Top Trips and Tours. Our goal is to show you the beauty of Morocco by exploring the Old Kasbahs, Visiting the Medina in the Imperial cities, Enjoy the sunset and sunrise in the Sahara Desert, spending a silent night in Traditional tents, enjoying the Sahara music around the fire in the Desert’s camp and camel trekking between golden dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga.