Live the experience
Eco lodge Terre des étoiles, Morocco
Barely 25 kilometres away from Marrakech, the arid, rocky, lunar landscape of the Agafay Desert stretches before travellers’ eyes. After half an hour’s drive, the camp looms up like a mirage. In the background, the Atlas Mountains add the finishing touches to the sumptuous natural setting of Terre des Étoiles, an eco lodge founded by Pierre-Yves Marais. Sharing, conversing with one another and the natural environment mean a great deal to this man with a pioneering vision of responsible tourism. Convinced of the crying need to reduce tourism’s impact on the natural environment, Pierre-Yves chose to set up a camp that not only respects the environment, but also provides resources. His sustainable management of energy, water and waste has won recognition and proved very successful. The camp has in fact been awarded the Green Key Label, the first international eco-label to recognise sustainability in tourist accommodation and catering. At the same time, who on earth would want to spoil the beauty of this magical place?
The tents immediately appeal to both naturelovers and urban-dwellers in search of digital disconnection, who, given the camp’s lack of Internet coverage, are obliged to go offline. The only thing one is connected to here is nature, which everyone can relate to in their own way thanks to the different activities available: hiking, horseback and camel rides, mountain biking… People also have a chance to connect to their inner self: the site is above all an invitation to contemplation. Offering meditation, yoga and sophrology sessions, Terre des Étoiles is wonderfully conducive to introspection and wellbeing. Foodwise, taking care of oneself acquires a whole new meaning, since the healthy, organic, traditional Moroccan food on the menu comes from the organic vegetable garden based on permaculture principles. Produce that moves straight from the garden onto the plate not only reduces our ecological footprint, but also gives guests a view of the magnificent vegetable garden, next to the farm inhabited by goats, chickens and Cacahuète, the donkey.
It’s a great way of introducing children to the cycles of nature, a notion that unfortunately is increasingly abstract for young urban citizens today. As night falls, gazing at the sky above should thrill budding astronomers who’ll return to their tents starry-eyed in both senses of the term. Mixing tradition and modernity, the 16 tents (each 35 square metres in area) happily accommodate either couples or families. Decorated in authentic fashion with furniture and textiles made by Moroccan craftsmen, they are also very comfortable; each one has adjoining washing facilities with hot water and toilet and a small terrace. Terre des Étoiles means experiencing family life in slow motion; means watching the changing colours of a unique, versatile landscape; means making empiricism your holiday assignment.
Sharing, conversing with one another and the natural environment mean a great deal to this man with a pioneering vision of responsible tourism.