Goulimine (Guelmin)

From the eighth century, Goulimine was an important trading post on a route swapping Saharan salt and West African gold but by the 12th century, decline had set in. Back in the 1950s Goulimine was practically the last place accessible to the tourist. Beyond lay the desert. Nowadays the nomad 'blue men' and the camel souk of Goulimine are really for tourist purposes. Apart from this camel market, most travellers move on swifly. Still, if you are visiting Sidi Ifni from Agadir, you can loop back up via Goulimine and Bou Izakarn.

Ins and outs

Getting there

Goulimine is on the main road south to the Saharan provinces and there are bus and grand taxi connections from here both north and south. Agadir is 4½ hours from Goulimine by bus, Tiznit 2½ hours. Coming up from the south, Laâyoune is 7 hours by bus, and a rather faster 5 hours by grand taxi. Goulimine is about 1 hour by road from Tiznit and Sidi Ifni, although note that the Sidi Ifni- Goulimine road is narrow.

Getting around

Goulimine is really a transit sort of place. However, you may want to get to the hot springs in the little oasis of Abbainou, 15 km from Goulimine off the Sidi Ifni road, or to Aït Bekkou, another oasis 10 km away from Goulimine on the Asrir road. For these you will have to hire a grand taxi, if you don't have your own transport. Around 60 km west of Goulimine is Plage Blanche but, given the state of the piste, sturdy transport is needed to get here.

Sights

Goulimine is a regular excursion from Agadir, thanks to its Saturday morning camel souk along the Tan Tan road. The
market
is nowadays geared to tourist industry demands. Nomadic tribesmen ('blue men') distinguished by their indigo boubou robes, dance dutiful attendance. More genuine, however, are the
religious festivals
, or
moussems
, held in June (at Asrir) and August. Look out for the ruined kasbah of
Caïd Dahman Takni
.

Excursions

South and west of Goulimine, an enormous stretch of Atlantic coast is taken up by the
Plage Blanche
- tens of kilometers of flat, wide, sandy beach. It is also accessible from Sidi Ifni by the rough coastal piste.

South of Plage Blanche, the Oued Draâ reaches the sea. On isolated places along the Saharan coast, right down to Dakhla, there are still a few
nomad communities
of fisherfolk, the Chnagala or Harpooners, who fish the coast with nets and harpoons. They are not vassals to desert tribes in the way that the Imraguen of Mauritania are. Traditionally, it was the Chnagala group which collected the valuable amber from the whale corpses, which washed up on the coast near the mouth of the Oued Draâ.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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