The difficult road to the abandoned mines of Ahouli

Ahouli is an abandoned mining village located in the Midelt Province of the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco.

Ahouli abandoned mining village

Where is Ahouli in Morocco?

Nestled amidst the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges, in the heart of the country, lies Ahouli, or Aouli, a former mine that operated from 1928 until the 1970s. The French were responsible for extracting lead, antimony, and galena during its active years. However, in 1975, due to the exhaustion of veins and plummeting metal prices, the mine was forced to cease operations. Despite this, daring illegal miners, both men and women, continue to venture into the abandoned galleries daily, risking their lives in pursuit of a livelihood. As of now, the mines remain deserted, but there are discussions about the potential reopening of the mine to companies from Saudi Arabia.

Is Ahouli in Morocco worth it?

The once-operational facilities for mineral processing and personnel housing now lay dormant, gradually succumbing to decay. The mines pose considerable hazards as they fail to meet standard safety protocols. However, despite the risks, the area remains open for visitors, offering a unique experience with its captivating canyon, historical mines, and intriguing remnants of a ghost town. 

Can you drive to Ahouli mines?

The journey to the abandoned mining village proves to be an immensely challenging endeavor. Spanning 25.9 km (16.09 miles) from Midelt, the road winds through the gorges de la Moulouya, presenting an unpaved, narrow path devoid of guardrails. Despite its difficulties, the road's beauty is unparalleled, characterized by its rustic brown and rocky terrain that follows the swift-flowing Moulouya river, adorned with splashes of lovely pink bushes along the landscape. However, the most daunting part lies ahead—the treacherous section featuring a rickety, aged bridge supported by a single iron beam intertwined with multiple wooden pieces. Not intended for the faint-hearted, a 4x4 vehicle is recommended, especially after adverse weather conditions have taken their toll.