We traveled 250 kilometers (about 150 mile), and is shown in the map below. We left the hotel after have an early breakfast. A map showing our travels on day 2 is shown below:
Even though did not travel as far, there was a lot to do. High points for day 2 included:
Toured Dades Gorge. This is a beautiful sandstone gorge with a really windy road that was recently used for a Cadillac commercial. We went into the g
Todra Gorge with a beautiful hotel at the end. We passed many more oasis’ and valleys with date palms reaching this point.
Marco Fossles Kasbak where fossils captured in marble are cut into jewelry, table tops, and other interesting items. We spent an hour here just looking at the fossil art forms.
Merzouga for our camel ride into the desert, and a Sahara sunset, and a night under the stars after our camel ride.
As with day 1, we will cover day 2 by showing photos of our day in sequence with narrated comments for each photo. As appropriate, additional text will be provided to tie the events of the day together.
The Dades gorge is fairly narrow so even though it was light we did not have any direct sun light. We left Kasbah de la Valle and went into the gorge, and then went to the top. Photos of our trip through the gorge follow.
Todra Gorge and Dades Gorge are canyons in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains. Both the Dades Toda Rivers carved out cliff-sided canyons (Arabic: wadi) in their last 40 kilometres (25 mi) through the mountains.
We left directly for Todra Gorge upon leaving Dades Gorge. To enter Todra Gorge, it is first necessary to drive through the City of Tinghir, Morocco. Tinghir is a city of about 40,0000. Tinghir is really an oasis about 30 kilometres (19 mi) long and about 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) wide. The climate is hot, dry winters in relation at altitude of 1,400+ meters (about 4,700 ft). Photos of the Todra Gorge, Tinghir, and the oasis follow.
Lunch in Tinjdad
We had lunch in Tinjdad about an hour after leaving Tinghir. It was nice to be able to get out the Toyota SUV and just sit in the sun for a while.
Mint tea has a long tradition in Morocco, and is now commonly served all through the North Africa. It is served not only at mealtimes but throughout the day. Mint tea is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served when there are guests. Mint tea has traditionally been a man’s affair: prepared by the head of the family. It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it. I have to admit that when I was in Morocco, I did not accept mint tea when it was offered to me. I sure hope that I did not offend anyone.
Macro Fossiles Kasbah, Rissani, Morocco
Macro Fossiles Kasbah (MFK) creates art work of all kinds from fossilized marble. The marble is extracted from a quarry in cut slabs or cubes. The material is then brought to their facility in Rissani, Morocco and fabricated into art work of all shapes and sized. My understanding is that MKB is a French owned company. I found the ideas of fossils in marble interesting, and the different are work that we way there was very interesting also.
Photos below show the entire process for creating the fossilized artwork.
This was our last stop before reaching Merzouga.
Merzouga is a city in Southeastern Morocco a few miles from the Algerian border. It is located about 550 kilometers (about 350 miles) from Marrakesh. It is approximately a 7 hour return drive from Merzouga to Marrakesh. It is a popular tourist area located near the dunes of Erg Chebbi. It is a popular area for tourist for tourist that want to ride camels in the Sahara, or camp under the stars. This was the furthest point south on our trip to Morocco. Two maps are show below. The first shows Merzouga’s place in Morocco, and the second is a satellite view showing Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi dunes.
A camel ride into the Sahara and a night in the tent under the stars
Our departure point for the camel ride was a nice hotel a few minutes south of Merzouga. Below is a photo of the hotels swimming pool. Even though it did not have any icebergs while we were there in January 2013, I sure that I would have felt like one if I had gone swimming.
Hicham, our Traces Berberes Voyages tour guide and driver, would be remaining at the hotel. Since the weather with quite cold, I was beginning to wonder if I was nuts for suggesting to Chuck that we take a ride into the desert to spend a cold night in the Sahara. I did ask Hicham about the best time of the year to camp and venture into the Sahara, and he told me that usually April and May are the test.
In most cases, camels are kept near a hotel. I am not sure if the camels belong to the hotels, or if the camels belong to independent contractors that take the tourist into the Sahara for a trip, and possibly camping.
Event for our camel / camping adventure followed roughly the following sequence:
Arrive at hotel,
Separate belongings that will be used for overnight trip into the desert,
Go out and meet guide and camels,
Saddle up the camel (you don’t really saddle a camel, but I think you get what I mean),
Get on the camel (easier said than done),
Line up the camels,
Follow the leader (your guide will lead your camel caravan into the desert), and
Get of your camel near your camping area,
Go to your camp for the evening.
Following are the photos of our camel / camel adventure into the Sahara. Once we reached our camp, it was the furthest most point on our Moroccan trip.
The camping areas for the overnight camel trips are located about 2 or 3 kilometers into the Sahara from the hotel. Our trip into the Sahara took us about an hour to arrive at the camp. Most of the camps are semi-permanent, and can accommodate a large group.
This ended the second day of our tour, and the furthest point that we would travel in Morocco.
My gallery of photos taken during the second day Sahara tour can be seen below. Click your mouse on any photo you would like to see enlarged. You an also see a slide show of the photos by clicking on the “slide show feature” in the lower left of any photo.