Our first Video! The Abridged Version of the Story of Holidays With Heart

Welcome! I’m Jane Bayley the founder and director of Holidays with Heart at La Maison Anglaise Garden Ecolodge. I am excited to have this opportunity to tell you our unusual story and what is so special about our offerings.

It happens that it revolves are the letter P: passion, pioneers with a purpose, perseverance (how we got there), pleasure for you and us and our promise.

Passion my passion started I went to Morocco as a researcher in the early 1990s, researching, of all things, tortoise conservation & habitat decline. I had no idea what it would lead to.

I fell in very much in love with the non-touristy Taroudant area of Morocco – the culture, the people, the fresh food, the scenery, the wildlife & most importantly climate. We soon discovered the proof – tortoises don’t hibernate in our part of Morocco – so you can bask in the sun all year long.

Pioneers – I started to take my students to Morocco & talked about the potential for sustainable/ethical/responsible tourism with them. So I asked myself “Why not do it?”

Luckily the Moroccan government at local & national level were highly supportive of the pioneering project – this was 1997. Morocco continues to be pioneering too – ranked 3rd in the world for sustainability in 2020. I am lucky to live in Wales (where our booking office is & where we are filming now). We too have pioneering government which places regenerative and sustainable practice at its heart. So the 2 countries where I spend my time are an inspiration to me to continue my longstanding purpose – to promote regenerative and sustainable practice.

So I 1997 I took a second mortgage to purchase the guest house, the first to be owned by a foreigner in town. And the locals quickly decided its name for us “La Maison Anglaise”.

Purpose – to make a difference to your life (and possibly its purpose) and to make a difference to the lives of people in “our” area including through our charitable work.
It earned us the name “Holidays with Heart”. 

Perseverance – it has taken us 25 years to be able to add the words “Garden Ecolodge” to our name.

After 10 years I managed to buy an accessible large plot of land directly by the town walls with marvellous views of the mountains and close to the local landmarks.

Eventually 14 years later I got permission to build a highly innovative beautiful building based on traditional architecture and materials with added clever sustainable design features, the latter thanks to the help of friends in Wales and our marvellous staff and building team who did virtually everything by hand. And we opened in 2020. 

Pleasure – it’s our privilege to care for our guests as though they had joined a large happy family – we have an amazing team built up over the years who are such fun too. Guests feel their 5 senses stimulated by choosing from a wide range of authentic activities – and we are always adding new ones.

Promise – to care for you from the minute you enquire until the minute you leave Morocco. You will have plenty of choice of holidays, of food (we do special diets) & of fascinating activities (just ask if it’s not on our list!)

 

Final P for Poem
Proudly preparing from our productive permaculture plot..
Podded peas, pumpkins, pomegranate and papaya.
Passionately preparing porridge and pancakes..
Pounding (s)pices.
Proud of the place we’ve prepared for you precious people. Prepare yourselves for these pleasures in person.
We’re practically out of Ps! So we politely invite you please to promptly plan to pay us a visit (or phone us or visit our web site to find out more – there is lots to tell).

Finally another irresistible 4 Ps. I arrived by pedal power to do this video from Poppit in Pembrokeshire.
With huge thanks from 2 friends who improved the poem, one of whom has the initials PP and the second a first name starting with P!

Renewable energy in Morocco

Morocco embraces renewable energy

Aware that their demand for electricity was growing at 7% a year and that they were dependent on imports for 97% of that energy, Morocco had a vision to promote renewables.  A huge solar plant in Morocco is part of this plan.

By 2020 Morocco plans to generate 42% of its energy from renewables, using a combination of solar energy, wind and hydropower.  This puts the UK to shame: we aim for 30% renewable energy by the same date.

Solar plant in Morocco near OuarzazateThe world’s largest solar plant in Morocco

As part of this ambitious target, early 2016 saw the completion of Phase 1 of the site destined to become the world’s largest solar plant.

Situated in the desert near Ouarzazate, the Solar PV plant, created using new technology, is scheduled for completion in 2018, and will provide electricity for more than 1 million people.  It will cover an area equal to their capital city, Rabat.  Most significantly, it will reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of tonnes.

Mafalda Duarte, the manager of Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which provided some of the project’s funding, said: “It is a very, very significant project in Africa.  Morocco is showing real leadership and bringing the cost of the technology down in the process.”

UN Climate Change Conference Morocco 2016

Even more ambitious plans are afoot, and Morocco hopes to use the next UN climate change conference, which it hosted in November 2016, as the springboard to source 52% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Bags banned in Morocco

Morocco is really ahead of the game on many environmental issues, including Solar PV, and has now wisely followed the lead of a handful of countries around the world, where campaigns for the elimination of plastic bags have had great success.

The production, sale, and distribution of plastic bags, have been made illegal.  The campaign aims to distribute alternative, sustainable bags, assist former producers and distributors of plastic bags, and raise awareness of the reasons for the elimination of plastic bags from Morocco.

It is hoped that the Moroccan talent for innovation and creativity will allow the new law to take effect in a positive manner. Farmers cannot fail to welcome the innovation as their fields will be free from the unsightly and dangerous detritus which has littered the land for several decades.

The tourist industry is likely to get a boost when visitors are spared the ugly sights and damaging environmental consequences of plastic packaging.   It is exciting to predict that Morocco will be seen as a healthy and clean destination, and local people will feel proud of their country.

Holidays with Heart will encourage the Taroudant community to hold educational events, and set up groups to assist with removing rubbish and finding alternative ways of carrying groceries.

New Terminal at Marrakech Airport to open for UN Climate Change Conference

Solar PV farm near OuarzazateMorocco has been chosen as the venue for the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22) 7 to 18 November 2016

Morocco has been recognised as a forerunner in sustainable development – the most newsworthy example being the Solar PV farm near Ouarzazate.

The benefit for our clients is that Marrakech airport is opening a new terminal which will be completed in time for the conference in November.

There is now a much wider choice of flights to Marrakech, for example Easyjet offers daily (or twice daily at peak periods) from London Gatwick, twice weekly from Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester and from many European airports.  Several other airlines fly from Europe and beyond including British Airways, who fly daily from London.

Voted Number One on Trip Advisor

La Maison Anglaise has been voted Number 1 (out of 48 in the region) on Trip Advisor as well as being awarded a Certificate of Excellence annually. Thank you to all of you who have taken the trouble to write reviews.

activities-06
Roses and many other plants are in flower in Taroudant in January.