Goats in Trees

I’m posting these four shots as a warning to future travellers to Morocco.

Although it is natural for the goats to climb into the branches of the Argan trees (after the Argan nuts that are used to produce the very expensive Argan oil) the wily old goat-herds have caught on to the fact that this unusual sight is very popular with the tourists making the 2 to 3 hour road trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira. Consequently the goats are often “encouraged” into the trees closest to the roadside (and sometimes even tethered to make sure that they stay in place) to entice the unsuspecting traveller to stop and take photographs. The goat-herds (who initially remain hidden) then suddenly appear “demanding” money for the privilege of taking a few snaps.

Now don’t get me wrong, Morocco is a poor country and life for many is pretty tough. Therefore I don’t generally have an issue with enterprising locals trying to make a few extra dirhams from comparatively wealthy Western tourists, especially as the whole business is conducted in a fairly good-natured manner…..or at least it was in our case. However there is something about the exploitation of animals in this way for the amusement of tourists that does make me feel a bit uncomfortable….

Goats in Trees, Road to Essaouira, Morocco, North Africa

Goats in Trees, Road to Essaouira, Morocco, North Africa

Goats in Trees, Road to Essaouira, Morocco, North Africa

Goats in Trees, Road to Essaouira, Morocco, North Africa

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

18 Responses to “Goats in Trees”

    • Mark Simms

      I love the suicidal goats in Greece. Driving around the mountain roads of Kefalonia and Lefkada, to come round a blind corner only to find a herd of goats standing in the road……crazy 😊

  1. Donna Yule

    December 1, 2015 Goat in Trees so wonderful you are getting them reading for TV. Have you seen the Commercial this past few week It is quite cute Goats. So we can relate to all your goats.

  2. Jane Lurie

    Love the last photo but I am feeling the push-pull of animal treatment and tourism dollars. Seems cruel to tether.

  3. storstadsnatur

    Sorry to hear that. In 1968 I hitchiked in Marocko – together with a Tasmanian guy – and we met an tremendous friendliness and generosity. Not many tourists back then. I had read about these goats and it was tremendous to at last see them. I remember them as more or less dark brown, not white, but time goes by as well as memories.

  4. caleephotography

    Your photos are amazing! But I agree; even if they do climb the trees by themselves they only do it when there’s no food left on the ground, not whenever a busload of tourists arrive..


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