ruins and tree goats in fascinating Morocco
visiting exotic Morocco, most people tend to head to the big cities, like
Casablanca, Marrakesh and Fez. However, there are many exotic and interesting
sights to see in this North African country.
and the glory that was the Roman Empire
with a love of history and archaeology, one site well worth the visit is
Volubilis, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, ideally located
on a Meknes to Fez
tour. The original city was built back in the 3rd Century BC, but has
seen a wide range of occupiers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians
and Romans. However, by the year 285, locals took the city back. Then in
moved the Latin Christians, followed by the Muslims. Finally the founders
of modern Morocco, the Idrisid dynasty, took over the city, but abandoned
it in the 11th century when moving their seat of power to Fez.
an earthquake in the 18th century, many of the city’s stones were removed
to build the city of Meknes. However, during the French occupation, archaeological
excavations revealed the glorious remains of the Roman city of Volubilis,
with its beautiful, intact mosaic floors, an aqueduct, baths, temples and
remains of the Roman city are a worthwhile visit, as are the famous storks,
who have taken up residence on top of the Roman columns. While storks are
found on monuments all over Morocco, Volubilis is reportedly one of their
favourite nesting places. The site was designated a UNESCO
World Heritage Site back in 1997 and is well worth the stop along a
tour down the road from Meknes to Fez.
Goats of Morocco
of the famous tree goats are often used in humorous memes on social media,
but they are a very real animal. The reason for their tree climbing is
a simple one. Goats love the fruit of the gangly and thorny Argania trees
that grow all over the country. While the trees themselves are nothing
much to look at, the sight of so many goats, balancing precariously on
the rough and crooked branches, is a fascinating one. While this is a common
phenomenon throughout Morocco, the photo below was taken in Essaouira.
goats by yellow
magpie / CC BY-NC 2.0
trees are a rare species, grown almost exclusively in Morocco. While in
the past they were over-farmed, these days they are a protected species,
offering up an annual fruit crop. This delicious fruit attracts hordes
of goats from the surrounding areas, which jump up onto the branches to
enjoy a feast.
the local farmers have no problem with the goat fest, but they do keep
the animals away until the fruit is ripe, only giving them access at the
perfect time. While this may sound bizarre, there is method in their madness,
as after the goats enjoy their feast, the animals pass valuable clumps
of seeds in their droppings, which are then pressed by the farms to create
the much sought-after Argan oil.
to this profitable practice, there has been some concern about the fact
that so many goats come into the area to feed, as this may affect the general
health of the Argania trees. It is hoped the delightful and quirky tree
goats won’t end up eat themselves right out of a good perch.