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….
© Mark Simms Photography (2015)