Located 20 minutes from the hectic souks of Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, a handwritten sign that reads ‘Cacti’ welcomes you to the largest cactus farm in Africa. Let’s take a look.
This 17-acre (6.8-hectare) cactus nursery was founded in the mid-1960s by Hans Thiemann, an agriculture engineer from Germany, whose family has had a passion for succulents for years. After getting tired of growing them in greenhouse conditions, Thiemann visited Morocco in the 1950s to get plants from Jardin Majorelle, and, in the 1960s, decided to open his own cacti farm in the perfect weather of the Moroccan desert.
Cactus Thiemann is the largest of its kind in the whole continent of Africa, with more than 150 different kinds of succulents, all displayed in the most tidy manner, against the empty landscape of the desert. Among the plants he brought with him was a tiny elephant cactus, that is now 26-feet (eight-metres) tall.
Since Thiemann’s death in 2001, the farm has been run by his widow, Fatima, who lives in the property with her two daughters, Magida and Roselinde, to take care of the nursery and honour Thiemann.
The farm is located on KM10 Road to Casablanca from Marrakech, and the only way to get there is by taking a Grand Taxi that will cost around 200 MAD ($21).
Each year, more and more people visit Cactus Thiemann, either because of their love for plants, or to snap some amazing Instagram shots. Guided tours of the farm can be arranged by appointment, but Magida and Roselinde also plan to open a small café, with just a few seats and some shade, to sip on a glass of fresh mint tea and admire the beauty ahead.