Ringed with fortifications built by Moulay Ismail in 1688, this rapidly growing country town nestles in the shadow of 7,373-foot Djebel Tassemit, surrounded by verdant orchards that are well irrigated by the Bin-el-Ouidane reservoir, 59 km (35 miles) to the southwest. Beni-Mellal is largely modern and of little tourist interest, but its Tuesday souk, known especially for its Berber blankets with colorful geometric designs, is an event to catch. The 10-km (6-mile) walk up to the Aïn Asserdoun spring and the Kasbah de Ras el-Aïn is well worth the haul for the gardens and waterfalls along the way and the views over the olive groves and the Tadla Plain.
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