Thursday, 17 September 2015

Morocco: Anti Atlas - Tata - Tazenakht

After getting disappointed with Alsa which we initially considered our next stop before starting another route we headed for another town, Tata. At that time we didn't know where exactly we were going to stop for the night. The plan was to eventually get to the dunes, Ergg Chigaga and whild camp in there. However, we liked Tata so much that we decided to spend the night there. 

Arriving in Tata


Having had a sleepless night before arriving in Tata due to heat this time we decided on staying in a hotel. Aaron, who viewed the room, ensured it had air conditioning. To our disappointment, although it was working, it didn't seem to cope with the heat and didn't cool the room enough. We couldn't feel any difference between the night spent in the tent and the night in the hotel room with air conditioning. We all found it very difficult to sleep and once again the only place where Marcel could fall asleep was the floor. 
The hotel in Tata...

...which turned out to be a perfect place to do some car maintenance. 

Tata

Two nights in a row of rather poor or no sleep at all was a bit too much to take so in the morning the decision was made: we were giving up on the desert and the dunes and instead we decided to go North into Anti Atlas mountains in the hope to find bearable temperatures at night. 

To avoid the heat of the day we simply spent all day long in the car in the coolness of the air conditioning which worked much better than at the last hotel! We even made our sandwiches for lunch inside the car.

Catching up on sleep
  


That was the maximum so far.

Where did the water come from?!

Note the satellite dishes!

An old kasbah on a hill - as we found out a few kilometres later we were supposed to drive right past it!


One of many buses spotted on the road with an open back to cool the engine down. I guess. 

Unfortunately that day we didn't get far enough down the track for the climate to change so we had another unbearably hot night. We found this stop (picture below) late at night so didn't exactly see where we set up the tent till the following morning. We were pretty close to a village and very close to a palmerie where some people were growing wheat. The close proximity to both entailed meeting some locals. A couple of ladies were watching us from their little fields between the palms whilst an older man came up to us and asked for something after which he simply sat by the car and watched us. Thinking that he may want some food I offered it to him but he refused it. If not food he was after it could only be money but by that point we had decided not to give out any money, sweets or toys to anyone unless we had a reason to do so and therefore after packing up we got into the car and drove away leaving the man behind us.

The palmerie by which we set up our tent

Now on the right track heading towards the old kasbah

And here's the kasbah.

School

Getting closer to our destination, Tazenakht, just a few oueds away

Getting into the first oued was a bit of a challenge but we made it.

Safely in the oued

In another oued

We had to cross at least three oueds on this route and drive in another two. Eventually after several obstacles we got to the point where we were about to leave the last oued and drive into the mountains. Unfortunately, a big chunk of road was washed out by the river and although we found a way around we decided against continuing this track. Having had to tackle so many obstacles already we were concerned there may be more in the mountains and finding a way around them may be more tricky on a narrow winding track up in mountains.

This time we braved the heat and had our lunch outside after which I had to cool down myself with a cold shower. Lucky we have one to use!

Tazenakht which was our destination is a little town famous for its rugs. Sellers from Marrakech, Fes and other Moroccan cities come to Tazenakht to purchase rugs for their stores. Our aim was to buy one, too. However, we wanted to arrive there early enough to be able to shop around. Due to the difficulties of out track we did eventually get to Tazenakht on a sealed road but it was quite late. Not wanting to give up on a sale again (the road to Tazenakht was closed last year) we had a very quick stop at a shop at the exit of the town and we became proud owners of a new Moroccan rug. Happily, we carried on to Ouarazzate.

Last year damages still clearly visible along the way

10 - 12 August 2015

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