Being More – What I love about guiding, Nouri Bachar

The legendary ‘Nouri’ has been working with Epic founder, Charlie Shepherd since 2006. Always with a smile on his face, he has an ability to engage clients and share in-depth insights about the Morocco he knows and loves. Nouri never fails to impress! Here he speaks to us about what brought him to the profession and what he loves about his job…

A man of the forest

“I grew up in the Ourika Valley, in a forest house – my father was a forest ranger. All our houses were built during the French occupation. It was a strategic location, which later became a great tourist spot for taking pictures,” says Nouri.

“The guides used to stop near our house to look at the valley. I’d offer the guests flowers – and listen to the English accents. I decided I’d like to speak this language, and I really liked the job of the guide – that inspired me.”

What do you love about Morocco

“As a citizen, we are proud to be Moroccan because we have a good reputation politically and we are a growing country. We have a very dynamic King – Mohammed VI, who has a great vision of modernising the country, politically, economically and socially. However, it’s easy to create laws but harder to change the mentality – that takes time.

“As guides we say it is a very diverse country, in terms of culture and landscapes. It’s rich in history and has many historical cities. It’s also not far from Europe and with the World Cup in 2030. There is a project to build a tunnel between Morocco and Spain, something that would be great and important in terms of economy, connecting Africa with Europe.

“Our tailor-made Morocco trips connect North and South and the Atlantic Ocean. Many civilisations have come through the country – Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, French. This mix of cultures makes it very diverse.

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Nouri’s favourite parts of Morocco

“Guests often ask the same question – but I can’t say, it’s so diverse. For instance, visiting the dunes is a highlight, but then there is Fes and old tanneries which is really something different, or the Rif Mountains with their Mediterranean landscapes, and hiking through Berber villages is amazing – so accessible from Marrakech. You can also surf all along the coast – really every place has something special about it.

“My last trip was with four ladies from US who said ‘We thought Morocco was only the Sahara. They didn’t expect the diversity. I think they get to see a lot of the Moroccan Sahara through social media, then when they come here they find it’s much more diverse.

“Now with Ryanair carrying more internal flights across 11 different destinations within Morocco, it will be easier for guests to explore new areas and discover more where previously the drive was too long. So the white sandy beaches of Dakhla in the deep south could become more accessible for instance, which is great if you love surfing, it’s near the Canaries.

The diversity of Morocco makes it hard to choose a ‘favourite place’…

A chance encounter with Epic

“The first time I met Charlie was in Siti Fatma in Ourika Valley I was working at a base providing information for private guests where we also did short walks and hiking for a few days. We started talking about guiding in 2006, and it was from then I started working with Charlie and Epic.

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The secret of good guiding

“To be able to talk spontaneously to guests and to be an international ambassador. The last King, Hassan II, called on that, as we meet international guests in Morocco its important. We don’t use the term ‘tours’ here we use ‘Guests of the Kingdom’, that means we always treat visitors as a guest.

“We do our best to show them the culture and to be an intermediary between them and the local communities. You need to love your job, you need to show your passion to the guests and show them the beauty of your country to make them want to come back next time or refer someone else to come. You have always to think long term and if the guests come back it’s a chain that benefits everyone from airlines to accommodation and the souks and artisans, we all benefit – it’s an economy.”

Artwork from two of Nouri’s happy guests!

Making lasting memories

“There are so many special moments in my job. Actually, whenever I hear a guest is coming back it’s a special time for me!

“However some things stand out, like when I went on a hike with a client and his girlfriend for three days, he had hidden a ring in advance on a hiking trail, when we reached the top of the path, it was just me, the mule handler and him, and on her way was his soon-to-be-fiancé struggling to make the climb. He was encouraging her to reach the top, then he asked her to marry him – with me as a witness – it was a really emotional time.”

Read next… Morocco’s best one-day hike: The Amizmiz Trail

If you’re keen to explore Morocco with Nouri, get in touch with our team and we’ll design and curate your ultimate Moroccan adventure.

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