Live the ex­pe­ri­ence

Eco lodge Terre des étoiles, Morocco

Milk Magazine (English) - - CONTENTS - terre­dese­

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.

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