Just a short drive from downtown Marrakech lies a little piece of paradise, a reminder of the spectacular beauty and joy that can be found in simplicity and in nature.
Moving along the narrow road that leads you through the farm and up to the main house, golden reeds lining the way. A sense of romance and serenity, of harmony, quietly washes away the anxiety of city life; you can feel the love that goes into this land. The road winds up, each time it turns you’re offered a different, spectacular view, until finally you reach the clearing in which a little clay bungalow is happily nestled.
Standing in front of the house are Souhail and Delphine, waiting to greet you with warm, welcoming smiles. Together with their trusty guard-dog Caramel, they make up the heart, brains and muscle behind Domaine Sauvage, a sustainable and fair organic farm designed using the principles of permaculture.
Drawing inspiration from Mother Nature herself, Souhail was able to take what was once barren land used for grazing, into 12 hectares of productive farmland where he grows everything from fresh herbs and vegetables, to almonds and of course, the ever-present olive.
Souhail, Delphine and their dog Caramal
The farm fosters diversity in all things, for in diversity lies strength and resilience. The land is designed so that the plants and animals living on it support and nurture each other in the same way as they do in the wild. That is the beauty of permaculture.
In an effort to bring some balance back to the earth, permaculturists from all corners of the world have been reintroducing traditional practices to our modern way of life, and not just when it comes to farming. Looking at things and approaching them in a holistic way means seeing systems as a whole, to see all their different parts and how they interact with each other. This includes us to a very large degree, in the way we interact with our environment, as well as how the environment affects our own bodies and minds. Everything feeds into everything, and everything affects everything.
With all of these lovely principles in mind, Souhail works toward creating an environment that brings to the table a diversity of elements, all beautifully coming together to mimic the cycle that Nature has perfected.
As we learn more and more about these cycles and interactions, one that is particularly relevant to us these days is the relationship between our bodies and our minds; we must care for both equally. This is where practices like yoga and meditation come in, and where better to do so than on a stunning farm built around the same holistic values of kindness, awareness and traditional knowledge.
Born in Morocco, Souhail Tazi studied and worked in Europe for thirty years before returning home to pursue his passions. Choosing to spend his time tending to his beautiful produce and creating one-of-a-kind objects out of recycled raw materials, Souhail has found his element. You’ll find his curly hair and warm smile selling his beautiful honeys, herbs and vegetables at farmer’s markets around Marrakech, and his unique creations are sold internationally. There is a special kind of joy that comes from doing what we love and doing it well.
As we enter the rustic little bungalow, decorated with the earth-toned carpets and accented with sculpture-like pieces of reclaimed wood and Souhail’s beautiful recycled creations, we at once feel at home.
The house is designed and built in a way that encourages flow. Flow of people, of air, of sun, energy. You are not separated from the outside, as is the case with many of our modern homes. The golden light shines in from every angle, the life that exists on the farm can be seen and felt. The house is open, fitting in seamlessly with its surroundings, and its surroundings fit in seamlessly with it. That is the beauty of permaculture, the beauty of centuries-old traditions and ways of life.
Souhail and Delphine have prepared an inspiringly beautiful lunch that highlights the wonderful produce that comes out of Domaine Sauvage. Crisp radishes sprinkled with flaky sea salt are surprisingly juicy and sweet, salads brimming with delicate greens and crunchy vegetables are a delight to the senses, especially when paired with some tangy goat cheese and a glass of wine. The stunning scenery of the farm and relaxed charm of the house only added to the experience and left us all with happy bellies and blissful smiles on our faces.
The farm’s beautiful produce goes into Palais Aziza’s changing daily menu, bringing a taste of this wild domain right to your table. The scenery may be different but it is certainly just as stunning, with the added benefit of some well-deserved pampering and all the luxurious comforts of a modern Moroccan palace.
The sun is inching towards the horizon, painting the sky with swaths of oranges and purples, the perfect time for a walk around the farm with Caramel to keep us company. Souhail guides us through the land like a proud father and a humble artist, and points out to us all the special and beautiful things he grows, every so often picking something for us to taste, smell or feel, sometimes all three.
Souhail tells us about the change the land went through, the story of Domaine Sauvage, as we stop at the outdoor kitchen. Perched high above the small valley and rolling hills that surround the farm, the open kitchen and dining space has a remarkable view. With access to so much beautiful produce and such an inspiring environment, the space is perfect for hosting cooking classes, another arena where Souhail can work his magic.
We continue our stroll as the sun sets, the reeds now shimmering and dancing in the easy breeze, Caramel happily walking ahead of us and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and contentment shows clearly on our faces. It’s days like these that show us just how beautiful our world can be, if we just learn to treat it with the love and care it deserves.