Guide to Goulimine, Morocco

Back in the 1950s, Goulimine (also spelt Guelmine ou Gulimime) was practically the “Gate to the Sahara”, beyond which lay the desert. The town sprang up between the rich agricultural region of the Souss and the barren, nomadic desert to the south and was an important trading post for the caravan routes.

The Tuareg, nomadic “blue man”, would come in from all over the desert to trade at the traditional camel market. The women would also meet and beat drums and perform the guedra, the traditional Saharan dance.

Sadly, today you only get a taste of this and it is mainly for tourist purposes. There is an active souk on Saturdays with the usual Moroccan goods on sale, but the camels are not present in large numbers. The ones brought here are maintained largely for tour groups bussed in from Agadir. Watch out also for theatrical cons where locals would ferry people out to see “genuine blue men” in tents outside town. You are better off making for M’Hamid or Merzouga to get a more authentic taste of desert life.

Your best chance of meeting real Tuareg nomads in their blue garments is during the region’s annual museums. There is usually one held at Asrir, 10 kilometres southeast of Goulimine, in early July.

The only other notable attraction in Goulimine is the Palace of Caid Dahmane Takni (free admission), on the back streets of Hotel de La Jeunesse on Boulevard Mohammed V. The rather unremarkable ruins are barely a hundred years old.