Painted rocks near Tafraout
One of the most exciting attractions near Moroccan town Tafraout are Painted rocks. Those are series of mountain rocks in a large mountain valley painted in different contrasting colours.
Initially, rocks were painted in 1984 by the Belgian artist Jean Vérame who also painted rocks in other countries, for example, in France, Egypt and Chad.
Before visiting Painted rocks, we red a number of negative reviews on internet regarding this place. The reason of criticism was the fact that there was not much paint left on rocks due to natural erosion and animals, especially goats, climbing on rocks. However, we were lucky; when we visited Painted rocks in 2020, all rocks were freshly painted without any signs of erosion.
There are actually at least three options how to get to the painted rocks depending on your preferences- hiking, cycling or by car. Directions below are given assuming that you would start your trip from the centre of Tafraout, near souk (market).
This is obviously an option taking less effort. From the town centre follow R104 towards Tafraout Valley and turn left after 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres) after you see Aday Mosque, which you will see on the right side of the road.
Here and below are screenshots from Google maps to give you an idea how to reach the place.
After turn, follow the main road and after approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) you will see Painted rocks on your left side. When you see left turn, go there and continue towards your destination until you reach rocks. There is a lot of space to park a car and you can wander around as much as you wish and also may follow smaller paths either walking or even getting closer to other formations of coloured rocks by car.
If you stay in Tafraout for longer than a day, there are plenty of options in the town to rent a bike.
As you can see from the second screenshot, you may cycle towards south and after reaching Agrd Odad turn to the right, cycle through the town and continue path until you reach the valley where rocks are located.
There are quite a few places with series of painted rocks, so cycling might even be the best way to move around these if you wish to see closer all of them.
Although we visited Painted rocks by all available means, hiking was our favourite; we even went there by foot twice.
As you can see from screenshot, there are two options – either walk towards Agrd Odad as described above (grey route) and, after visiting rocks, return to Tafraout passing nearby mountains or use hiking paths starting in southern part of Tafraout (blue dotted route) as a starting point and return either way.
We explored both options and our favourite was grey route for getting to rocks and blue dotted route for coming back to Tafraout. Blue dotted route is more difficult as you would pass mountain range mostly walking uphill in southern direction.
It may also be an option for cycling to return using blue dotted route, although you may have to dismount in some places – this is not suitable for street bicycles.