Atlas Mountains and one night in the desert

If you arrive in Morocco try to plan your time so you can just take a 2 day / one night trip in the desert to see more of this exciting country. We had homework lessons, so after Fes and Casablanca, the day after we arrived in Marrakech, we went on a trip.

Just about any trip you choose, you’ll be taken early in the morning in front of the hotel and the adventure starts here. Our group of 6 girls, gazelles (echo that followed all over Morocco) plus a boy, we got into the minibus banded paths stuck for the next 48 hours with another piece of French frogs with his friend and 2 brothers of Iranian origin, settled in the West for a very long time, quite discreet and extremely well raised, quiet … they did not go well, because we were fun, music, chicks, etc …. I also coached the driver and made it all the way.

Route through the Atlas Mountains

How can I describe this journey: the bare mountains, sometimes reddish, with unnatural drawings dug by winds in the rocks, cities like sand … they look like they are not, they are brick: everything you have in the area has a camouflage plaster that gives you the impression of seeing sand castles perfectly integrated into the landscape. Calm, peace and serpentine, serpentine …. Berber and tuareg music thanks to our driver, a cute guy who adopted us and did everything to feel good, told us a lot of things, and he conquered me when he told me he had a girlfriend in Egypt with which he seamed perfectly and asked me hopefully if I knew her, did not understand my consternation, so I did not insist to clarify it, but certain because of his trip was a dream πŸ™‚
The first stop on the trail was a coffee somewhere at a inn and after a vue point with souvenirs for sale, desert flowers, other things for tourists, a break of pictures and in which we learned from Abdul, our guide, how to wrap our scarves like Berber and Tuareg (in fact only men wear that way, but that is, you must know!).

Ait Benhaddou – A berber town jewel

No trip can be completed without a stop in a “typical” setting. So we fastened at Ait Benhaddou, a fortified town or fort, in 1987, a very picturesque UNESCO site where scenes for many well-known productions such as Prince of Persia, Gladiator, Babel, Alexander, Mummy, sequences from the Game of Thrones, etc … I think we’ve already convinced you that it’s a special place. Indeed, the dΓ©cor is gorgeous, a beautiful city, but on the day of our clear tourist visit, full of souvenir shops of all kinds, every shop was serving Berber, in a traditional harbor. I talked to a few people, a little, but enough to realize that although it is gaining from this trade for tourists, it is called the desert.
I have the memory of a pack of noisy boys who help your faces to cross a small water on a boulder path, I give you a hand not to slip, a service for which I ask for a penny … great happiness if they were receiving something, but they did that they were too sympathetic πŸ™‚
Notable here would be to lose a gazelle from the group because a berber (very cute I could say) was totally conquered by her blue eyes made strategically with black, beautiful what, fortunately I have recovered it, I do not have let her fall into the nooks of the mysterious young man, admire the landscape, give the crossing to the rifle and continue our journey singing, dancing, etc. in the minibus.



Ouarzazate, the gate of the desert

We still cross the mountains, other serpentines, we have admired the Atlas studios, the largest in the world in size, with films for productions such as Asterix and Obelisc, Lawrence of Arabia, Bebel, Mummy, Legionnaire, Gladiator, etc., of course using fantastic resources of the area in terms of locations, like the town of Ait Benhaddou, and we reach the desert gate of Ouarzazate.
A city built by the Berberi, the province’s capital of the same name and an important tourist destination with multiple accommodation possibilities. Many tourists who want to explore the region are here.
I have to go back and I call this town, it has modern hotels as accommodation facilities, but I would sit at a dish with a pool and a view of the desert that starts practically south of the city … I think it is an experience of dream, at least a week ….
I took the lunch here, and with the driver I made a trip to a local market, I was curious to see more of the city, I took water, juices, beers, argan oils, etc. I received the drinks in a thick black bag – as is the case in some areas in Morocco – everyone left the market with a large black bag. I think for religious reasons this discretion is preserved, not to conceal what it contains, to prevent you not to be seen, to hear stories πŸ™‚ I doubt that there is someone who does not know what is in them, especially since the rest of the products were in thin, semi-transparent bags. After the police stopped us for irregular parking without any trace, we get back to the group again. Good and consistent lunch, and giving others what I bought, I noticed that the Frenchman had devoured the beer in a way that made me think, hmmm ….
Immediately after lunch, very good, tanjin (salad with meat or fish and couscous) salad, etc. We board the minibus, we go a little and we reach the last stop before the desert, where we are handed over to our guides here, two Berbers .

Evening on the edge of the desert

Finally, after a visit to a warehouse for the last bargains for those who needed it, we took the camels and from here, and the chicks, pictures, pictures, pictures, about an hour and a half to the destination, gorgeous sunset, among the dunes and we reach the few tents one of which was intended for us (all in the minibus). The rest of the others were mostly Australian. It did not look like the desert in our dreams, a few dunes, but more were seeing in the distance ….

We noticed: Our hosts first took care of the camels, after they relaxed a little, and after they took care of us: they served us with tea … and dinner, and after dinner – lentil soup and the best tanjin in all Morocco – they did not invite you to the evening’s fun, the campfire.
At the campfire we socialized with the other tourists, our hosts, from whom I found – if we had to tell us that we had realized – that we are only at the entrance to the desert, that if we want more we have to take a trip longer, otherwise there is no time, you can not go to the desert at night. They stay in this area for tourism for a few weeks, and after a few more in the desert, they are from the same village, only men, the women are at the fireplace and take care of the house, the children. I also received a very interesting proposal from one of them, that the ending in the desert ends, to go to his village, to spend a year in which I was teaching Arab and Berber, with the recommendation that armed so I can find anywhere in Morocco. OK, I expressed myself that I like it a lot here and I would stay, but I did not think so, so I missed the occasion…

The tent was bad, I did not really like the cats, there were many ants too, so I stayed almost all night with two more girls out there, with our two guides, and I sang everything I knew everybody. I’ve been sleeping for 2.3 hours, but I’ve been sore about not knowing what and how many things, unfortunately, I’ve forgotten to take my autman, a big mistake.

Sunrise on the dunes

In the morning I was awakened very early for breakfast and the sunrise was admired on the dunes … .. of invaluable. Beautiful atmosphere, climbing on the camels and after an hour and something, we meet our driver and the road!

Again, cheerfulness, fantastic landscapes, in the meantime we had a good friendship with everyone, a very pleasant atmosphere, short stops in beautiful places, and a lunch break in a strange place among the skinned animal carcasses. another friend I looked for alternatives, for which I was later envied by the whole gang. I ate somewhere near yellow melon and cheese, I could not do anything else at that time, and I had a bit of a car accident from the serpentine on the backdrop of fatigue and regret – DAR and with joy we got back to Marrakech!

What I learned on this trip:

It is soo beautiful in the Atlas Mountains, a timeless atmosphere, you blend in with the landscape, you feel so far from all the daily concerns that you see so meaningless …. from there!
We are very lucky: you encounter many areas on a very poor road, with minimal existential conditions, but people smile, and if you talk to them, find out how wise they are and how they look at life, they accept serenely their place in the world refreshing and healing I could say
The sand is clean and the best tea / tanjin in Morocco is prepared in the desert
Ouarzazate is a city worth exploring
Australians travel 6-8 months once, though not every year (in the desert it was the first time we talked more with Australian youths)
We, the Romanians, are good at singing – all the campers have learned, as we have learned, the three nightgirls, in the morning ….

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