Touda is built in the high valley of Aït Bougmez, at 2,715 meters of altitude, in the caracteristic style of the valley. It gathers authenticity and modernity. It is a place of meetings and exchanges between cultures : it is from that will that was born the ecolodge Touda, and also from a meeting, between Saïd Marghadi, berber guide from high mountains, and a man from the valley, Ali, chief of the village of Zawyat Oulmzi.
Saïd was born in a valley close to the high Atlas. He knows well the mentality of berber people, because he grew up in the middle of them. In order not to disturb the life of Zawyat Oulmzi, he bought a ground not too far away, which dominates all of the houses. In one year, from 2007 to 2008, the local workers took on the back of the mules the stones of the valley, and then, step by step, all of the necessary material to build the building. No way to make a road and to distort the places.
Step by step, Touda arises, result of men and local resources. The walls and foundations, in stones (azrou) and adobe (tabout), are built between march and october. Just before the colds of the winter, the roof in soil is put. The major part of the structural work is local.
The magnificient fireplace was desgined and built on-site. Some elements come from a little farther, such as coatings, from Marrakesh, a mix of plaster and of tadekakt (aqueous lime), giving a waterproof brilliant depiction. The time to get necessary licences and authorizations and Touda can finally open, we are in 2009.
We can note that the architecture of Touda had been thought to facilitate and to promote exchanges between cultures : a living room of 70 meters, including several friendly corners (library, lunch space, fireplace, living room), an open kitchen space allowing a proximity and an easy contact with the staff of the village.
This accommodation welcomes vacationers, hikers and all of the travelers who want to go in ideal comfort conditions and who seek to stay in a place with an exceptionnal nature, being guarantor and actor to preserve it and to respect it.
The time passing, the inhabitants of the village of Zawyat Oulmzi took over the ecolodge as their own house, and their awareness were raised in the importance of preserving this project. In this way, friends and partners of the Touda ecolodge, but also the local people took several actions : creation of an eco-museum to promote the local culture, organization of Berber photographic meetings, meetings and school workshops with french illustrators, distribution of school supplies to local children, construction of a washhouse, launch of a reforestation campaign, waste collection in the valley, rehabilitation of irrigation channels, creation of a medical caravan, distribution of plants of almond trees to limit the soil erosion, initiation of local people into selective sorting, etc.
In order to highlight and to improve local people’s living conditions from the high valley of Aït Bougmez, and more specificly from the village of Zawyat Oulmzi, the ecolodge Touda sets up a lot of cultural, social and environmental actions :