Morocco’s Tree Goats

Morocco Goats in Trees
Image courtesy of Michael Chinnici





Argan Region – Near Marrakech Reasonable 2/5 Mar-Jun & Sept-Oct

Morocco is an often, undeservedly, overlooked tourist destination. It has everything the adventurous traveller could ever want, from the laidback surfing town of Essaouira, the high Atlas Mountains, the striking scenery such as Todgha Gorge or the Ease of Access to the Sahara Desert near Erfoud. One sight that is truly unique to Morocco is the sight of herds of goats that spend most of their waking life up in Argania trees.

four goats in a tree

These trees bear the Argan nut which is used to make Argan oil, famed for it’s use in high end beauty products. It turns out that goats also appreciate the nuts, and spend their days grazing on the top of the trees to get to them

goats in a tree

Historically the local farmers have encouraged the goats to graze from the trees, as the goats eat the Argan nuts, however they can’t digest the seeds, which come out their ‘other end’ these seeds are then pressed to extract the Argan Oil. Fortunately now more modern methods exist to harvest the Argan oil.

goats in a tree
Image Courtesy of Mother Nature Network

These days the locals capitalise on the goats in a completely different way. They sit under the trees and then charge tourists and passers by a couple of Dirham for a photo. One that we saw even had a baby goat he was encouraging tourists to hold. The Argan trees live for over 200 years, which has given the goats a long time to finely develop their sure footing.

two goats in a tree

Finding the goats is surprisingly easy. We headed out on the N8 road between Marrakech and Essaouira, and were barely an hour out of Marrakech when we saw these goats in their trees just off the busy road. No specialist knowledge or detours was required, just a driver who was happy to stop and let us jump out (most of them are).

The easiest way to get there is to fly into Marrakech, budget Airlines fly in from all over Europe, and Royal Air Maroc fly in from much further afield via Casablanca. Increasingly airlines are starting to fly into Essaouira, Easyjet from London Stansted for example. A private taxi between Marrakech and Essaouira will cost about 650 Moroccan Dirhams and will take around 3 hours (although if you were keen you could just hire a taxi to hunt goats for you for around the same price)

Getting there:

Nearest Major Airport:

Marrakesh Menara Airport (code – RAK), – 1 hours’ drive away

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