11th Mar 2012 - 16th Mar 2012
Leaving Tafraoute for the Draa Valley
Left early towards Agadir over the mountains - a bit dodgy in places but the views made it worthwhile. Stopped off at Agadir to stock up at Marjane (large supermarket), before heading east to Taroudannt.
Found some guardian parking near to the city walls where we could stay overnight for 20 dirham. We walked into the town for the evening checking out the souk. Paul bought himself a quality turban. We were eventually shown the city square by a local where all sorts of odd trickery was going on for the locals. A lot of it seemed to involve snakes! Well, we had by now seen it all before so we didn't hang around for too long before heading back for our bed. Taroundant is a nice town that hasn't been spoilt by tourists, but felt we had seen enough so decided to head off to Tallouine the next morning.
The drive to Tallouine was pretty uneventful, but I thought a video of drivng through a town may be a good idea to give you an insight as to the driving conditons - so check out the movie section of this blog. (Sorry folks, problems with the computer, so can't access the video or download it.) I can assure you that we've been through much busier towns normally filled with donkeys and carts, but I am sure it will be interesting viewing never the less!
We stopped on a site near to the town with nice views and quite peaceful. Cycled into the town the following morning - not a lot to see, but did cycle around a traditional village and Kasbah first which is always more eventful. We like to get off the tourists trail! The town and the area is known for its production of saffron and hence saffron is cheaper here. Paul headed off on his bike into the mountains later, but tried to stick to the road as he was running out of puncture patches and innertubes!
After two nights we were off early heading east for Ait Benhaddou 160 km away. The roads now began to get worse, the surface in parts was not tarmaced and often was single track so suddenly the 160km was beginning to feel a long long way! We arrived at Ait Benhaddou by lunchtime and walked off into the village. The village is famous for it's use as a filmset in various movies such as Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia amongst others. Another Kasbah which was very nice but too much on the tourist trail for us. There were quite a few tourist buses including a load a Japenese who I guess had come over the mounatins from Marrakesh, all suitable attired with headscarves large silly hats and of course that infamous facemask!
We decided that we wouldn't stay in the village overnight and so headed a few kilometres away to a small family run campsite overlooking the river valley. The family put on some entertainment for us that evening - they played drums and danced before we sat with the owner and enjoyed a tagine. The following morning he delivered us tea and doughnut type bread for breakfast, before we were given a tour around his home. Very interesting too! The house is a traditional mud built Berber home with an inner courtyard where they kept the family cow (and the donkey at night)! Off the courtyard we watched his wife baking bread for us using a traditional mud oven. This is much more like the real Morocco! We left for Ouarzazate carrying fresh bread and the owner (Youssaf) who had been hinting at a lift into town.
Had two nights on a campsite in Ouarzazate. The town is quite large and modern and clearly receives quite a few tourists. However, we did wander and found ourselves in the older part of town, hidden from the tourists and managed to get lost walking around the labyrinth of narrow streets. But, no problem the locals came to our rescue again and walked us out onto the main throughfare. The chap even invited to his home for cous cous, but we thought better of it and headed back to the campsite!
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