Todra Gorge, Dades, Draa Valley And The Road Of The Thousand Kasbahs.
At the end of a lush valley full of palms and mud brick villages hemmed in by barren, craggy mountains is the magnificent sight of Todra Gorge, some 300 metres high but only 10 metres wide at its narrowest point, with a crystal clear river running through it best caught in the morning when the sun penetrates to the bottom of the gorge. Todra suspended in another age, following yet another different rhythm of life.
Along the road which goes through the gorge of the Dades River are rocks of varying range of red and purple colours. The arable land is cultivated down to its tiniest parcel, mountain gardens made up of different varieties of almond trees, olive trees, walnut trees, and poplars. The palm groves of the valley contains many little gardens, which supply families with the vegetables they need. The earth houses, with their thick walls, signify the pre saharan region. At the foot of the steep Todra Gorge, the town of Tineghir was once an important stopping place for caravans laden with spices and gold. It remains important today, filled with commercial travellers and tourists.
The somewhat potholed road snakes up in a leisurely fashion inside the wide walls of the gorge. On the way plenty of greenery is on display, mostly figs. Some of the rock formations are truly bizarre, resembling globules of molten wax dribbling down the side of a candle.
Rory's bike bracket, the one he crunched getting onto the ferry in the UK and finished off boarding the ferry for Morocco was ready for collection from the bush mechanic at 8am this morning. When we say bush mechanic, better described the repair as one undertaken by an unsupervised team of YTS students on Ecstasy!!! But the hovering oil covered Moroccan looked dead chuffed with his efforts and it seemed such a shame to spoil his day! Anyway, it took nothing more than a few blows with the hammer a couple of weld flashes and just 200 Dirham [15 pounds] and all was well, we hoped.
While this was going on the "funsters" headed to the nearby Todra Gorge, visited anything the gorge is majestic but early morning converging 700 foot high cliffs, shifting sunlight together with echo sounds of the rushing river over polished rocks is just magic. Yet another tour highlight.
Today's drive to Ouarzazate was a 100 or so miles, but on arrow straight roads across the great open plains before disappearing into the distance. It is again different and real RV/motorhome driving. Clearing the plains and passing Dades Gorge [visited on our next tour], we dopped into the "Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs". Towering mud pink, castle like buildings set on river banks and hilltops beneath the base of the High Atlas. The name says it all.
Then onto Rose Valley. Fields of rose bushes, which bloom earlier in the year suppling their pungent material to the great perfume houses of the world. Road side stalls selling all manner of products, rose water, perfumes, soaps, creams, etc etc. The wives of course had a great time bartering. It was about that time that I got a call from Ray, so I digress a little ... Those reading this blog know that the "funsters" hit Morocco in perfect time for Ramadan. No problem with that, it has affected the "funsters" in practical terms very little. In fact all agree it has been an amazing insight and eye opening experience. But for Ray there has been the added problem of travelling with A'hammid [DD staff member]. Respect and praticality Ray decided that an attempt at Ramadan, or at least 80% would be appropriate, just the odd sip of water and the discreet date or two during daylight hours..... Right, the weight has fallen off him, plummeting from a straight 16 stones to around 15 stones 10 ounces!!!!! In what, 14 days .......Mmmm, clearly not the alternative to Weight Watchers I think. The other problem is that the diet of dates has had the predictable effect as did the misreading on the packet of Imodium Plus. It said, take 2 .... How does that read, take 4 followed by another 2, 3 hours later. I will leave you with this thought!
The campsite at Ouarzazate was empty so plenty of choice as to where to finally park. There followed a briefing that mostly considered the possibility of re stocking the "funsters" dangerously low wine, beer and spirit levels. In a Muslim country during Ramadan! But no problems for DD, after a few phone calls a supply were found. Several hours later the now foraging "funster" party returned, bulging bags and even a shopping trolley in tow.
Geo also purchased an impressive pedestal Fan for a fiver, probably to assit the draft coming in through the gap around his window screen [more about that later], and Jan brought a few more yards of material.
Its just 6.30 in the evening and the 80 degrees temperature is being fanned by a pleasant breeze, most have opted for various versions of stable British cuisine whilst others are joining Ray and A'hammid in town for an evening meal.
Tomorrow brings with it the Hire of a Mini Bus which will be heading for the famous Atlas Film Studios, [Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Life of Brian, etc. etc.] where we have been told that the new major Walt Disney blockbuster Prince of Persia closed filming only today.
Then onward for a tour of the World Heritage Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, then return to Ouarzazate for an evening meal at the infamous Italian/Moroccan Restaurant, "Phoenix".
I may be a little late with the next posting, as today sees me become the 'roady' for our daughter, as she has a 'gig' for a charity function, and this normally means arrival home time for me will be around 3.00 3.30 in the morning. So, will catch you later, and thanks so much for the comments, they have been passed onto the "funsters" and of course Ray ..............
You need to be logged in to comment