Days: 467 (5 October 2015)
Total distance travelled: 124,232.2 kilometres (77,162.83 miles)
After our stunning night in the desert, preceded and followed by lengthy camel rides, we made a mid morning roadside stop at a rather flash looking hotel where our party was given towels and access to rooms where we could shower and freshen up.
It was welcomed by all, however we did appear to then linger at the hotel (with nothing to do) for a little too long…
Eventually we did get going again, passing through a region that began to resemble something like I’d imagine the Nile Delta to be (as in much wetter and indeed lush), before it soon gave way to some more standard desert terrain.
Soon the landscape began to be dotted with sun baked mounds of soil, and it was for a closer investigation of these that we eventually stopped.
It turns out, each mound (running in a series of parallel lines adjacent to the road) was once a working well, gradually being relocated over time as the water table was depleted bit by bit and the streams once running below ground grew dry.
A quick demonstration of the well mechanism, was followed by the chance to actually descend into the now bone dry tunnels below, all that remains of the subterranean watercourses.
Some sections had collapsed over time, but it was quite cool to have a brief wander around.
Then it was time for another spot of sweet, Moroccan tea!
An uneventful drive was to follow, filled with views of the same barren terrain, the occasional oasis breaking up the monotony, and mountains never too distant on the horizon.
The scheduled lunch stop was at an overpriced tourist trap, however they did serve up an interesting appetizer, something we’d not encountered anywhere else in Morocco.
This was a pasta dish, but instead of it being a savoury dish, it was served with crushed nuts, cinnamon and powdered sugar atop.
Interesting indeed, and not actually too bad…
Post lunch was simply a repeat of pre-lunch.
The same terrain just kept on rolling on, before eventually we hit an even bigger oasis, and from our experience in Morocco, when we talk oasis, we aren’t talking about a small pond surrounded by palms (although that is pretty much what we found in Huacachina, Peru)…
It was also where we’d be bedding down for the night, in another impressive looking casbah which clung to a valley wall and was reachableonly with the aid of a very well patched wooden footbridge.
Our day wasn’t yet done, however we weren’t set to wander too far from this new pad, hence our seemingly early check-in.
Soon enough, our posse was regathered, and a walk within the valley where we hugged the severely eroded river bank ensued.
It wasn’t strenuous, however it also wasn’t long before our group was stretched like a piece of elastic, and the occasional wait period was necessary so as to keep the group relatively together.
We wandered through the odd field, eventually reaching a semi-abandoned village, half of it ruins, the other, surprisingly inhabited (but in little better state than the ruins)!
Around another bend sat another small township, and it was here that we were to find ourselves at our destination, a carpet weaving demonstration and the inevitable sell.
Surprisingly, I believe a small rug or two may have actually been purchased…
It was here our chariot, or at least our min-van awaited, and we were quickly off as the daylight grew ever dimmer, to the ‘marquee’ destination of our day, Todra Gorge.
Our van departed, a brief spiel was delivered, then we were invited to walk through the gorge at our leisure… although had we not, I’m unsure if the van would’ve returned to collect anybody!
A crushed restaurant/hotel highlighted the potential hazards of such a location, the walls were steep, but unfortunately in the dim light, it was hard to be too wowed by our surroundings.
Had we been here before the sun was lost for the day, it probably would have been a far different, and indeed more memorable experience…
Still there’s always tomorrow, another day, another Moroccan adventure?
* Our flights from London Gatwick to Marrakesh (via Casablanca) with Royal Air Maroc cost us £88.09 per person.
* Our 15 night Morocco tour was booked through On-the-go travel, and costs per person vary depending on the season.