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Apr 04 2012

Road Trip – Day 3 (Merzouga to Quarzazate)

Was I borne to camp in the desert?  Well, I did wonder because I had the best night’s sleep since arriving in Morocco.  I was really pleased to have slept so well.  That was until I realised it was light and we should have been at least halfway up a massive dune at that point to see the sunrise – aarrrggghhh!!!

Nomad, Tent, Berber, Morocco, Sahara, Desert

My Very Comfortable Sleeping Quarters

With that, I clambered out of the tent as quickly as I could, having just woken up, and rushed around the camp like a mad woman before trying my hardest to reach the top of the dune in time.  Some of the people from neighbouring camps were already at the top or were well on their way.  As I huffed and puffed my way up, I realised I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was and made a mental note to use my gym more frequently.  When I reached the top, I sat down and enjoyed the glorious view.  It was well worth all the effort.

Morocco, Sahara, Desert

Saharan Sunrise

When I returned to camp, I had to quickly gather my things because it was time to go.  For me, one night wasn’t enough.  I would have loved to spend at least one more night there.  There’s something magical about being in the desert.  I think it’s because it’s so calm, quiet, and the way the sand changes colour throughout the day.  We returned to the camels and joined up with people from a neighbouring camp.  I could hear a Spanish lady, on the lead camel, talking.  I thought she was having a conversation with the person behind her but she wasn’t… she was on her mobile phone!  I couldn’t believe it.Camels, Desert, Sahara, Morocco, Sand

After the 2 hour or so ride back, we said goodbye to the guides and the camels and headed off to the hotel for a much needed shower and breakfast.  I was starving by that point.  Once we were clean, fed and watered, we started our journey back to Quarzazate.  As we were going back via Rissani, we stopped at a Fossil Factory.  There are lots of opportunities to find and/or buy fossils and minerals in Southern Morocco so it was really interesting to see themanufacturing process from raw material to finished product.  I couldn’t resist buying a couple of pendants while I was there.  Well, they were stunning, easy to carry, and a real bargain.  What more can I say!

Man at Work in the Fossil Factory

Then we went across the road into what can only be described as an Aladdin’s cave of carpets, jewellery, trinkets, weapons, bags, nomadic tents, and pretty much any non-food item you can think of.  It’s a shopaholics dream.  As we drove back singing and tapping along to Brahim’s (our guide) great choice of African music, we saw a film crew but didn’t spot any famous faces and a camel bravely saundered across the road in front of us.  As I gazed out of the car window, I reflected on the fabulous experience and the spectacular scenery.

Morocco, Potter, Pottery, Ceramics, Work, Agdz

Potter at work

We made one final stop in Agdz, which is in the beautiful Draa Valley to visit a German lady who organises a ceramic workshop once a year.  It was great to watch the local potter teach traditional methods to his exacting standards.  After that, we visited Casbah des Artes which has been sympathetically restored.  It was interesting to have a tour and get some background information from a descendant of the original owners.  It must be nice to know all about your ancestral line without having to search around for bits of information to construct a family tree.

Morocco, Agdz, Kasbah, Casbah des Artes

View from Casbah des Artes

That brings us to the end.  Our road trip ended where it began 3 days before in Quarzazate and it was time to say goodbye to Brahim, our great guide, driver, and new-found friend!

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