Rissani, Morocco

Situated on the edge of the Sahara with only the Tafilalt (also spelled Tafilet or Tafilalet) oasis between it and the vast expanse of the desert, Rissani is the last ksar along the Wadi Ziz. Yet this village with its small canals is more than a gateway to the Sahara Desert. Explore the souk, more authentic than the market in Marrakech. Bike to the oasis and tour a 17th century kasbah. Walk to Sijilmassa and visit the ruins of the northern terminus of the trans-Sahara caravan route. Shop for pottery. And, of course, organize a desert safari. But before you depart, vi... Read Moresit the town's only parking lot, which is filled with donkeys rather than cars. This mode of transport doesn't require a driver to “honk”. The scene, not to mention the noise, could well become the most talked about moment of your family's Moroccan adventure.
What is a Qanat?

A qanat - called a khettara in Morocco, galleria in Spain and karez in Pakistan and Afghanistan - is an irrigation system that carries water from an underground bed to a village or farm. Unlike canals, qanats are underground tunnels. They are used in hot, arid places with a high rate of evaporation. Qanats were developed by the Persians in about 800 BC and are quite simple in design. Each qanat has a series of dry wells or shafts connected to a gently sloping tunnel. The shafts provide air and access for repair. And they prevent collapse. The tunnel's downward slope ensures gravity does all the work. The gentle slope curbs the water's speed. And because qanats draw water from an upland aquifer, an underground reservoir in a mountain or hill, their tunnels meet the surface when they reach the fields.

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The age of the Saguaro Cactus is determined by:
number of blossoms
number of branches
width of the trunk