We arrive in Tan-Tan from Agadir, some 350 km to the south, along the Atlantic coast. The town is between two wadis that flow into the ocean: Oued Draa and Oued Chebika, bordered by dunes where it is not uncommon to see pink flamingos and other migratory birds. 25 km west of the city, also in the province of Tan-Tan, a second city has developed along the Atlantic Ocean. The people known the city Ouatia also as’Tan-Tan Plage’. It is home to fishing and merchant ports, industrial fish processing plants, and a large beach. The origin of the name of the town, or rather the place ‘Tan-Tan’, given by the nomads, is taken from the sound of the bucket swinging at the bottom of a well.
By Максим Массалитин (Maxim Massalitin) - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Surely, Tan-Tan was the site of a well where many nomads met with their herds. An annual moussem was held not far from the present town that brought all the nomads together annually. Definitely, the seaside resort of Tan-Tan is El Ouatia Beach, a beautiful beach. The ocean is deep and the waves are treacherous. Tan-Tan is also a town of fishermen and sailors. The Draa, the long river that feeds the oases from Er-Rachidia to Ouarzazate, comes to finish its course here, joining the Atlantic. Surely, these are breathtaking landscapes, a hymn to the beauty of the great Moroccan south.
The Moussem de Tan-Tan
Photo by Edwin Steele on Flickr
The Tan-Tan Moussem is a fantasy and an annual fair. The Moussem brings together more than thirty nomadic tribes from the Sahara and other regions of northwestern Africa. It is a living testimony of the Saharawi oral and artistic culture. It was registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008 by UNESCO.For centuries, the nomadic peoples of the desert and the south of the Atlas have met here in May for trade and festivities. Every year in May, the people of the desert meet here, with their camel caravans, their traditional dances, and their crafts, to celebrate the Moussem of Tan-Tan.
Between the Atlantic and the sandy immensities, the world of the ‘blue men’ shows its many colours. It is a whirlwind of dancing, singing, and riding, astride huge camels or fancy horses. Today, most of these peoples are settled, but the moussem revives the nomadic tradition. To receive delegations of guests from all over the world, people set up a Bedouin tent camp at Chbika lagoon. Large birds inhabit the beaches on misty mornings. Unforgettable sensations given by these are magical nights and dawns at the end of the world. Brown canvas tents accommodate families during the festival week, reviving the era of the great migrations. Berbers dressed in white, Sahrawis dressed in blue, bring the cultural heritage of southern Morocco to life in this extraordinary celebration.