And to the desert
Apr 8, 2011
|Another days travel through some amazing scenery – the country varying from flat plateaus to mountainous ranges – vary similar to the Territory or the Pilbara region – Glorious colours. Wide, gravely riverbeds, mostly dry with a small creek running through them
Now large Oasis appear between the ranges – full of date palms, Olive and Fig trees and small subsistence farm allotments. The houses square with flat roofs – all made of mud brick with few windows and the doors closed.
Passing through villages there are small stores but many are shut as Friday is a religious day. We do stop at a supermarket to stock up on goodies for our night in the desert. The ‘supermarket’ is just a collection of small stalls in a building – many selling the same items.
We also pass some large hotels, most designed to look like Kasbahs or castles. The tourist trade in Morocco is very important and they do a good job of catering for it. I find it strange to see caravans and campers in a Middle Eastern/North African country but Morocco really is only a ferry ride from Spain.
The women in this area dress more conservatively. They wear black draping wraps (capes) that are embroidered with red, yellow and green. Male and female are always rugged up in jackets or coats even though the temperature is around the mid thirties.
We see a dam on the Oued (river) Sebou, one of many supplying Morocco with hydro power.
We descend into the Ziz valley, which is particularly fertile. This area is known for its fossils. We stop at a small local factory that cuts and polishes large slabs of rock and makes all sorts of items showing the fossils. Dining tables, wash basins etc. Doesn’t seem quite right although the finished results are quite beautiful.
The landscape changes and we can see the desert on the horizon. Eventually we reach our Auberge where we drop our bags and prepare for our night in the desert.
We are allocated our camels, our daypacks are tied to the front of our ‘seat’ and we plod off over the sand dunes as the sun starts to sink in the west – creating some great shadows.
At times the sand very soft and we seem to slide about a bit. We quite like climbing the dunes as this gives us the opportunity to sit back in our seats again – hate going down the other side and we hang on with a tight grip. My ‘seat’ not good and I can feel some wooden part digging into my thigh.
It takes just over an hour to reach our camp. Everyone immediately climbs the nearest sand dune – quite a feat – to catch the sunset. I decline as my still sore toe doesn’t like to ‘grip’.
Whilst everyone is away our cameleer is busy making up our swags and then cooking our meal and singing to himself.
He serves up a tasty beef (goat?) tagine – very difficult to see as we only have one gas light. Out comes the wine and vodka, our cameleer and his offsider start on the drums, our guide Atika joins them and gradually throughout the evening cameleers from the other camps drift in and join the ‘band’ and we all take our turns. Before we know it its 1am and, once again, it has been a wonderful night.
We drag our swags out of the tent and lie under the stars – as usual we are blessed with fantastic weather. Our four ‘party’ members drift away with some of the cameleers to other dunes to give the rest of us a chance to sleep.