Photo Essay: 180 Minutes In Ait Iktel, Morocco

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to arrive at a remote location and have an entire village turn out to greet you? It might look something like this.

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Ait Iktel, Morocco, a village of about 150 families, lies in the High Atlas Mountain region some 100 kilometers south of Marrakech. I was there last September to cover an athletics event which featured appearances by several Olympic and world champion athletes, from Morocco and elsewhere.

It was a big event for the village, a major celebration. Not surprisingly, most of the locals turned out to watch and participate in the day-long proceedings. And to greet us with song and dance.

It was an unforgettable experience that culminated in this 36-image photo essay, one I’m particularly proud of. Please check it out here in the new Photo Essays section of my website. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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You did go to the photo essay, didn’t you? 🙂

Image Gallery: Morocco’s Port at Essaouira

Crates of fish at the port of Essaouira, Morocco

Here are a few of several images made during a brief stroll around the Moroccan port at Essaouira in September, including a shot of the fisherman who flung a fish at me. He missed, but I’m still glad it wasn’t one of the many massive conger eels found in the makeshift stalls that line the piers.

Once the most important in the country, Essaouira is no longer among the country’s chief ports. But it is colorful and attractive in a gritty way, and a favorite stop among visitors and day trippers from Marrakech. It’s at its most vibrant and bustling in the late morning or early afternoon hours when fisherman are busy preparing their morning catch, negotiating prices, mending their nets or tidying their boats.

Fisherman sorting sardines at the Port of Essaouri, Morocco

The vast majority of the catch seen here is meant for, and winds up on, the local market. What I find most interesting when visiting local market ports is the wide variety of fish you find there –and nowhere else.

Fisherman repairing his net, Port of Essaouira, Morocco

The full gallery is here; some images are also available via the Corbis and Demotix agencies.