Reviews and Tesimonials

Here is what some guests have to say about their stay at Cafe Tissardmine…

“Am trying to figure out whether the magic runs underground like Morocco’s many stories and the water tapped for wells and drank by the thirsty palm trees in the oasis nearby; or if it’s the feeling of being at the edge of the known world, with only the beguiling Sahara sands and the caravans of ancient times beyond. Karen has created a beautiful space to dream and create; a safe haven where the magic can linger in the residents’ art work, weaving and stories. Ask her for the stories of Tissardmine; and about the ownership of camels smile emoticon Eat well, sleep deeply and dream under the stars.” Cathy Chapman. UK

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“This is a wonderful place to stay, the food is amazing and Karen and Youssef are the best hosts ever!” Aditi Yoga

“If you go to the Sahara, stay at the Cafe Tissardmine! It is much better than the typical hotels for tourists. It is run by a wonderful western woman and it is an Artshouse Guesthouse. The food is fabulous and you can prearrange vegetarian meals. It is calm, peaceful and it is in the middle of the dessert, in a very very small village. You will be able to feel the quiet, calm and peace of the dessert and you will have the best information about the Sahara with the owner. They can also arrange to pick you up with their 4×4 car as well as they can arrange trips to Rissani and Erg Chebbi. We were there only two days, way too short, and they organize for us a trip to Rissani including a guide and a very big lunch with a lot of Berber pizza (also vegetarian) and then for the sunset, they drove us with the 4×4 in the middle of the Sahara to Erg Chebbi. Driving by car there and being able to sit on the roof of the car was an amazing experience! Also the fact that we didn’t ride camels but instead we walked barfoot on the sand up to the highest dune, it was amazing! I highly recommend to stay in the Cafe Tissardmine. A really wonderful thing about it: there is no wifi! No internet, no phones! You are FREE! Enjoy your freedom!” Begona

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“Absolutely PERFECT!!!! You must visit it for understending!!! Thank’s for the incredible moments!!” Andrea Gadda

“Beautiful place with a fantastic atmosphere and amazing people smile emoticon. Would highly recommend!” Lindsey Morrison

“I went to Cafe Tissardmine on a writing course run by the excellent author Linda Cracknell. I went for the course, but Karen and Youssef at Cafe Tissardmine ensured it was an even more inspirational and enthralling experience than I could possibly have imagined. There is a guesthouse, but we stayed in Berber tents, complete with ensuite bathroom. It can be chilly at night despite the warm blankets, but you quickly forget that after getting up to watch the sunrise. The food is spectacularly good, and there was always enthusiastic applause when the lid was lifted on that evening’s tagine. This is by no means a luxury break, but neither is it roughing it. (We spent one night out in the desert in Erg Chebbi, which involved a camel ride which some might find a bit challenging, and the tents there are not ensuite – find a suitable bush… But that expedition isn’t obligatory. I fell in love with my white camel, Amalel, and clambering up the dunes for sunset and sunrise was well worth it.) Everywhere in Cafe Tissardmine is elegantly decorated, and there are plenty of areas to sit quietly, including two open Berber tents. Tissardmine also boasts a very handsome hound called Safi. He nicked my pen – we thought he might be planning to write his autobiography, but he was just trying to get our attention so that we would play with him.”  Olga

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“Cafe Tissardmine is a delightful place to unwind and relax. The compound itself is spacious and comfortable, with lots of nooks and niches where you can curl up with a good book, journal, sketch pad, or just gaze out in any direction to absorb the quiet, untouched natural beauty that surrounds you. We visited at the end of December – a great time to go. Gorgeous warm sunny days, crisp cool nights and breathtaking night skies. There is virtually zero “light pollution” and we never tired of watching the brilliant stars each night. Karen is the perfect host and she and her staff made us feel welcome and well looked after. All meals are included in the very reasonable lodging rate and the food was excellent and plentiful, each meal prepared fresh that day using all local ingredients. We feasted! We stayed in one of the guesthouses and found it very comfortable, despite the chilly nights. Hot water bottles and good blankets made for cozy sleeping. Waking up to the sun rising through the oasis as you sip your morning hot beverage of choice made for the perfect beginning to each perfect day. What a great way to end the year!” Kim

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“First off – this place is not for everyone. If you want luxury accomodation, a pool, a gym, room service and high water pressure – dont’ come here! If however, you don’t mind something different – then its well worth a visit! The rooms have ensuites, hot water and comfortable beds. The tents are also very comfortable and a great experience. The place is small, and more like a B&B than a hotel. There is not much to do out here, but relaxing with a book and watching the sunset for a few days will really recharge your batteries. Karen is a great host, and a great cook. She hosts a lot of artist retreats for various groups, and has been a great, positive influence on the surrounding village. Be warned – very patchy phone, and no internet – but hey, its great to go off-grid every now and then!” Josh

first guests

first guests

“We were picked up in Marrakech by Hassan who drive us to Cafe Tissardmine. It was an amazing two-day journey through ever-changing landscapes, mountain ranges and fascinating oases. We are so glad we visited the desert – so different from Marrakech and Fes. Cafe Tissardmine was especially wonderful for its relaxed hospitality, spectacular surroundings and the chance to have terrific conversations with everyone there, including a diverse bunch of artists working on residencies there.  Karen, English/Australian co-owner, and Yousef, Berber Amazigh co-owner, with his extended family, run a welcoming, handcrafted guesthouse with every opportunity to experience the stony desert and the spectacular ochre dunes. Once there, we realised we should have stayed longer – but there is always next time … At the end of our stay, Hassan drove us to Fes, using his expert driving skills and local knowledge, we got great insights. How lucky we were to find out about this unique cultural oasis.” Cath

“I spent a week at Cafe Tissardmine in February 2013  as part of a group of women writers who were there for a writers workshop run by Jan Cornall (Australia). This was an amazing residency initiated by owner Karen Hadfield. The desert is a sacred place. It is also very, very beautiful. Apart from the fact that I learnt an enormous amount during the workshop under Jan’s very capable and supportive tutelage, being at Cafe Tissardmine itself was one of the most awesome holidays I’ve ever experienced. The accommodation was better than I had expected – I knew we would be sleeping in Berber tents, that this was not a 5 star resort! – but it was lush and cosy and comfortable. Having hot water bottles at night was an added bonus. And there are showers in the tents!! with hot water! Karen and fellow manager Youssef and the rest of the team at Cafe Tissardmine made us feel very welcome at all times and took care of our needs in unobtrusive ways. The meals we had while there were simple, healthy and delicious. They organised trips to Erg Chebbi for us, including a 2 night camping adventure, travelling by camels! Sunsets and sunrises in this western Saharan desert were unbelievably stunning. The sand itself with it’s rusty golden hues, the undulating waves of sand, was truly magical. As for the stars, sitting around the campfires at night, sparkled and winked at us. I felt like part of the firmament. Even after more than a year, I remember my time at Cafe Tissardmine with wonder and gratitude. I would like nothing better than to go back there one day. I would recommend this very special place as a destination for anyone with a sense of spirit and adventure, the curious, the photographer, the artist, the writer, the child, the tired, anyone looking for respite or inspiration in calm and tranquil surroundings .. I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone!! It was simply sublime.” Willing Wirra

mirijam and Kirsh

mirijam and Kirsh

“What an amazing place this is!! Karen and her team have done a wonderful job creating this interesting artistic oasis in the Sahara desert. The food was healthy and delicious, the service helpful and friendly, the Berber music one night! a treat. The rooms are beautifully decorated with the comforts of a well equipped bathroom and shower. We were driven to Erg Chabbi one sunset which isn’t far, but far enough that you aren’t on the usual crowded tourist trail. We were driven into Rissani one day to visit the town and picked up/dropped off on arrival and departure. All in all, a supurb introduction to life in the desert. I hily recommend a stay at Cafe Tissardmine.” Susanefromoz 

“Cafe Tissardmine is a wonderful and magical place. If you ever wanted to see the desert, but like to avoid the touristic places, then this one is the perfect spot for you. You can make trips to the desert, enjoy the beautiful and calm place, get to know a little bit more about the village or just play football with the kids there. One of the highlights are def. the stars at night, which you can watch from the rooftop of your room: Unbelievable….The guesthouse´s owners – Karen and Yusuf – are extremely kind people, who let you experience this place in a wondeful way. And the food you get served is tasty as hell 🙂 Def. worth a visit! A once in a lifetime experience you shouldn´t miss!” Luke

flying kites from the terrace seps

flying kites from the terrace steps

“Cafe Tissardmine is a wonderful place well hidden in the depth of the Moroccan Sahara and as such the perfect place for a true escape. Youseff and Karen are fantastic hosts with a distinct ethical awareness. They have designed Cafe Tissardmine according to traditional standards or with sustainable materials and they always make sure that also the people from the small Berber village will benefit from this project whenever possible. Besides a veg garden and stables the grounds include the Cafe itself, a guesthouse and a traditional Berber camp, all of which feature outstanding accommodation in the most idyllic setting, that is next to a magical palm grove. Karen and her team really know how to cook and are experts in the Moroccan cuisine. Every meal we had was a true delight. Moreover, I had the feeling the team was quasi able to read our minds, so the service was always outstanding. Staying at Cafe Tissardmine was impressive in every respect and I can`t wait to return one day….
… and the camels are cute… :o)
Great thanks for it all to Karen, Youssef, Youssef, Eder and Hassan!
Lots of love and cu again one day!  Ilka, Germany

“Your money buys you full board as it’s nicely isolated. Karen runs the place as an artist retreat as well with residencies available for artists. Karen is a gem and so unobtrusive that mint tea left at our door each morning went cold because we didn’t know she had been. All in all it was one of the most memorable stays and location that we have had. Peter and Anne, Australia

“Inside, by candle light, it’s beautiful.  All red and orange and crimson cushions and carpets… Nellie and Karen made camel stencils…. Hassein taught me how to make a chicken tagine. They don’t use chopping boards there, everything happens in the hand!… Next morning Karen woke us up to show us the sun rising on one side of the house and the moon setting on the other.  She tells it like we just nodded and went straight back to bed but we were way impressed, even Nellie (aged 5)…” Anni, Australia

Nellie and Hussein play snap!

“So, the highlight of my stay was riding a camel into the dunes… having a delicious meal cooked for us in camp, eating out under the most incredible starry sky I have ever seen, listening to Berber drumming and singing around a camp fire and then being given a drum to join in. Heaven!” Lorna, UK

 “It was such a great holiday and I wanted to say ‘thank you’ very much for your generous hospitality. I will definitely be telling loads of people about your wonderful place. The trek into the desert was the highlight for me…” Alison, UK

My time in Café Tissardmine seems more golden, epic and philosophical as time moves on. Distant thunder storms, flash floods, rainbows, magenta sun sets and night skies full of shooting stars mixed with wonderful hospitality, great company, authenticity and a peppering of profundity were all interwoven. I left with so much more than I had arrived with.” Jessica, Sefrou

A jewel in the sahara’s crown. An incredible and privileged insight into Berber life.” Sonia, UK

I loved sleeping in the tents – they were extremely comfortable and warm at night and made an intimate and friendly shared space. Definitely need a good torch! The food was just gorgeous. Overall 10/10.” Rosemary, UK

In response to the retreat: “I liked the structured workshops with a variety of exercises and some free writing as well. They were very helpful and constructive for my own writing. The tutor was wonderful – serious about writing process, willing to share her ideas and humorous and sympathetic. I learned a lot.” Rosemary, UK

“Good companionship, wonderful food and nights under the moon and stars – what more could you want.” Rosemary, UK

A place to dream in, be in, learn about and to evolve your new dreams. Erg Chebbi at sunset is a gift to the mind and spirit.   Verity, Australia

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