Archive for January, 2001
A programme written by a client:
Brahim our tour leader took us to a renovated Riad, which was to be our base in Marrakesh
A magnificent drive over the high atlas where the tzi ntichka pass is at 4000 m. We visited the Glaoui ‘s Kasbah at Talouet , with its beautiful mosaic, and Benhadou.
With amazing constructions of mud and straw, tea with a family in the Kasbah gave us some insight into life in southern Morocco. The night was spent in Pleasant Hotel in Ouarzazate.
A beautiful if bumpy drive along the Draa Valley. Kasbahs galore, all waiting for ancient camel traders with salt and slaves! The night was spent in Zagora, a good base for shopping before heading for the Sahara .
The day we had been waiting for! We arrived at the bivouac in the desert in the late afternoon and the two drivers left for civilisation! Although we slept in tents, and it was hot and sandy (surprise, surprise) we were throughly spoilt by Mohamed (Brahim’s brother), the cook, the camel driver, the nomad, oh and Ali . We walked to a sand dune to watch the sunset, where Mohamed demonstrated how to climb sand by running up, when we had performed a laboured one step forward and three slides back.
Alovely day walk or camel ride for the lazy ones to Oulad Driss, a small Kasbah on the edge of the desert. Brahim talked about the museum and we had lunch and a long siesta among the exhibits. Evenings in the camp were wonderful. A meal of tagine or chicken with bread was produced by magic, followed by singing and accompanied by drumming. We even managed “she’ll be coming round the mountain “. The stars were as bright as we expected in a black velvet sky.
A lovely walk into the desert and lunch at the bivouac .The wind rose during the afternoon and we slept in the large tent while sand filteredinto everything and everyone. Our last meal round the camp fire.
A early start to break camp. The drivers returned with the four by fours and off we went. The tarmac road ended at a small town called M’hamid and then the most bouncy off road drive imaginable, followed by a dried up lake which is part of the DAKAR -PARIS rally route. Dried up yes, but the waves lapped on the sand until you were near enough to realise it a mirage. Lunch was in Foum Zguit and then we drove to Tata for the night .
We followed the spectacular Tata valley to Tagmout. Camel drivers were moving a large herd along the dried river and we were also lucky enough to meet a Nomad family with a female camel which had given birth day before. Brahim arranged for us to visit them the next day. Lunch was fantastic, in a berber house, we walked round the village in the early evening, meeting people and investigating the irrigation system at the oasis .The night was spent in a sort of berber Butlins!
We return to Tata. En route we have tea with nomad family in their tent with goats and two very beautiful children. Late in the day some members of the group visited the Hammam in Tata while the rest of us were by the pool! Shopping in the evening market and a sleep in a bed before finding our trusty tents again .
Alovely drive into the Anti Atlas mountains where we were met at our camp site by Yahia and the men who helped with the camp. We were near to Brahaim and Mohamed ‘s village, and looking forward to meeting poeple. The men had arranged a romantic boudoir on the side of the gully where we drank mint tea. After a siesta we went across to the tents, strolled around ate another delicious meal.
Walked from the camp accompanied by donkey “in case”. After lunch and siesta, a change of plan. Brahim arranged for us to drive along the Issafen valley to the village where a bride was arriving for a traditional berber wedding. The people lined to road to wait for her and we were made to feel very welcome.
Another day to remember. A walk from the camp site along the valley. Electricity and water had recently arrived and everyone was very proud. The valley is fertile and beautiful, dotted with small villages. We visited a 300 year old olive press and enjoed a delicious tagine on the roof of Brahim’s mother house. After a siesta the women were invited into the house .
Last day, a wonderful drive to Marrakesh. After a long drive we arrived in Marrakesh where we bid farewell to Brahim’s brother who have been a tower of strength and good humour .We all said goodbye to Brahim who had been such good company.”An adventure never to be forgetten. Scorpions, lizards, wild flowers, camels, donkeys, discussion, amazing senery and warm friendly people.”