Morocco, Home of Argan Oil and Tree Climbing Goats

Tree climbing goats
Tree Climbing Goats

Argan oil, the ‘Moroccan Gold’! My visit to Morocco revealed that there’s a lot more to Argan oil than meets the eye, and tree climbing goats was just one of the surprises.

Argan oil has a long-standing history in Morocco and so do those goats in the Argan Tree.  It’s only in more recent decades that argan oil has received worldwide attention for its special properties and value.

Take a 15 minute drive from the charming coastal town of Essaouira, and visit one of the many cooperatives, producing all kinds or argan oil products. For many of us, when we think of argan oil we think of Moroccan argan hair oils and serums, but there’s a whole host of offerings including skin moisturisers, lip balm, argan oil soap, argan oil for skin, argan oil hand cream, and hair shampoo. Then there’s the edible argan oil, created by toasting the argan kernel to produce the oil, ready to eat.

Berber people of Morocco have long used the argan oil for medicinal purposes, and argan oil features in home cooking, offering a nutty flavour and a flavoursome boost to many dishes, or just dipping bread in the oil, just as we do with an olive oil.

Between Essaouira and Marrakech the landscape is adorned with the pretty argan tree and much to my surprise, argan tree goats. I knew of mountain goats, but goats climbing trees, well that was something new. They’re after the argan fruit.

 Argan Tree Morocco, baby goat

 It’s utterly charming and quite the spectacle.  You can pull over and take your photos and videos and for a small tip to the local goat shepherd you can have your photo too with a kid.

My visit was to the all female, Coopérative Marjana.

 womens argan oil cooperative

You can watch the women dehusking the nut to reveal the kernel, then hand grinding it with a stone mill to produce a paste. Finally, the paste is squeezed to extract the ‘Moroccon gold’, a 100% pure argan oil.

And, don’t miss the chance of trying to crack open that nut for yourself. I tried, and I tried again, and it didn’t work for me. I have no idea how they do it!

After the fascinating visit watching the women produce this product, so loved now across the globe, you can visit their shop, make a purchase, support the local community and bring home some Moroccan Gold.

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About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 14 years of leading travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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