Sawadi, charming ecolodge in southern Morocco

Catherine Quenisset

I was born in Bordeaux, France where I studied sciences (PhD in materials sciences). Researcher and teacher at Bordeaux university for a long part of my professional life, I have also worked at IBM Bordeaux for 6 years which allows me to discover the corporate world.

Then, I created a consulting firm in the fiel of quality (Elitaq) and a Master in Quality Management at Bordeaux Business School. Teaching really is the best work in the world when there is coherence between students needs, educationnal methods and companies expectations. Leading this training was one of the best memories of my professionnal life.

40 years of professionnal activity can't be summarized in 10 lines. I have also lived through the ISO 9000 standard evolution until I was part of the creation of the ISO 26000 (linked to the corporate social responsibility) standard with the AFNOR. This work with the ISO standard is a synthesis of what I am passionnate about.

Economic growth while taking care of the environment and social aspects are a big bet.

These personnal believes and my involvement in different projects gave me the idea to put those concepts into practice. Since we share the same ideas with Philippe, we have chosen Sawadi, in the Skoura palm grove to live this experience.

Sawadi and Skoura palm grove are such "different" places. Every person who come to discover it ask us : how did you get there ? Here is our story :

Alain Ribelet, a friend from Bordeaux told me one day : "My brother is going crazy, he just bought a farm in a palm grove at the very bottom of Morocco". I kept this information in my head. A few months later, a congress I need to attend is organized in Marrakech. We decided to visit Bernard Ribet who I haven't seen in 40 years. We immediately fell under Skoura and Sawadi's spell. We decided to come back later for longe time at different seasons. Summer, fall and winter, each time we liked it more. Summer was hot, but the air is dry at altitude (1300m), fruits grow well (they are delicious). Walk in the mountain, stop by the torrents, we loved everything. Winter can be cold but snow on the Atlas moutain and the sun allows us to have lunch outside, even on January with the beautiful colors of nature. One day, when Bertrand told us that, for personnal reasons, he was selling Sawadi, whithout thinking (it wasn't reasonable), we have decided to buy it.

It was in 2006.

Leaving risks analysis and business plan out, we threw together in the desert, with agriculture, permaculture and tourists demands! There you have it, more than 10 years ago, after lots of construction work, plantings and meetings, Sawadi definitely is an extraordinary human adventure.

Nicolas

Since October 2014, Nicolas came to rejuvenate the management board. Also from Bordeaux (France), he used to work as an IT salesperson. Father of 4 boys (7 to 17 years...

Philippe Ferrer Mora

I was born in Bordeaux, France, where I lived until I settle in Sawadi in Skoura palm grove in 2005. My professionnal life has always been varied and engaging. My...