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Over the hills into the desert

Fez to Merzougha

sunny 28 °C

We had a day’s downtime in Riad Tafilelet after our arrangements fell through.
Doing it tough

Doing it tough


This wasn’t helped by the phones dropping out every minute, and I am not sure if the text messages work either. But a day’s recharge was in order anyway. A good dinner in house, and then packed and to bed early.Riad tafilelet at night

Riad tafilelet at night


Riad Tafilalet breakfast

Riad Tafilalet breakfast


A good breakfast before Lotfi was to arrive at 9:30 to pick us up. Trouble was, last night the clocks changed but as our host informed us, only a few people take any notice anyway. There was another couple there that got a suprise as they were flying out that night and knew nothing about it – they started their medina tour in a rush. So Lotfi turned up on time an hour late. Fond farewell, Tafilelet was a pleasant home for our Fez stay.
The tour car for the three of us is a SSangyong Stavic – comfortable for the number of us, maybe one more. Lotfi would like a 4WD, like a Landcruiser, Land Rover or X5, for the status possibly. To start with there is nothing much to see on the drive, mainly because we are fogged in and can hardly see the road ahead. This remains almost all of the way to Irfane.
It's always sunny in Morocco

It's always sunny in Morocco


This Royal city has a heavy euro influence in the designs of the houses, quite alpine in appearance. There is also an exclusive university where they teach in English and a modern hotel with design unlike anything else we have seen. There is also a training centre for athletes which isused by a number of internationals as well for a bit of altitude work. We saw many runners and cyclists out on the road, though I don’t think I would get out there on a bike.
We have a brief stop to admire the first of many breathtaking views, before going on to through the cedar mountains. Here we stop to introduce ourselves to the Barbary apes and feed them some peanuts, no doubt ruining their natural diet. The locals have every tourist stop and panoramic view point pegged out and are ready to sell you something.
Barbary Apes

Barbary Apes


On again, and we head up and into the Mid Atlas Mountains. The views here are spectacular and I get most of the way through a battery in this trip as I shoot away through the window. The formation of the land here is spectacular and would have enthralled Dad if he could see it. I realise a lot of my fascination with the form of the landscape is because of his enthusiasm when we were young. Through tunnels and passes we head to get over the top, and then on to the long drive south.
Middle Atlas road

Middle Atlas road


There are always sights to see as the road goes through so many small towns with something else different. There is a change in the building methods, if not styles. In the medinas, the dars and riads are usually three floors high, arranged around a central courtyard, the heart and display area of the house. This is open to the sky, to collect light and water. As we head out, the houses change a bit and are made with concrete columns and floors, the gaps in between filled with concrete blocks for the lower stories and light weight hollow terracotta bricks on higher stories. The whole thing looks a bit of a mess until the cement render goes over the whole lot. It also seems that you don’t build the whole lot at once; you build one, maybe two stories, and when you have more money you stick another one on. The buildings do not seem to have a hollow core, but are built as a cube, most house for the least material. Strangest to us from Australia is the lack of verandahs which may lend some much needed shade. But a bit of sun does not worry the Moroccans like it does a white boy like me.
We are heading south along the Ziz oasis, a massive oasis that goes for over one hundred kilometres, permanently fed by water from the mid Atlas. It is quite a sight in a dry land to look over an escarpment and see palms and crops as far as you can see. Some of the more intrepid people also take some irrigation water to try and scrape a crop into the dry land above.
Ziz Oasis

Ziz Oasis


The oasis ends in Erfoud, where we head off to Merzouga. It is now dark and by the time we reach our hotel it is 9pm. A quick clean up then dinner is served in the usual style. We are too tired to appreciate it and drop off quickly.

Posted by lostagain 11:05 Archived in Morocco Tagged automotive

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