May 5th ~ Explore Desert & Todra Gorge, Overland to Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco
How wonderful it was to wake up early in the desert. It was still sprinkling, but much lighter than the downpour we heard pounding on the roof of the tent during the night. Lucky for us, the tent did not leak and we had a good nights sleep.
The dunes were quiet, but how funny to see our group with umbrellas climb the sand dunes to watch the sun come up and the next group of tourists venture out on their chosen camels.
It is so unusual for rain in the desert and this certainly added an entirely different element to the trip. Already rumors are circulating with concerns about flash flooding as we left camp in our 4×4 to meet up with our bus, driver and bus boy.
And not far ahead we were stopped as the mountain run-off was cascading across the road and traffic was stopped in both directions.
After much discussion, a large truck decided to attempt the crossing. We held out breath as headlines flashed through my mind about cars being swept away and occupants drowned. Well, my dear hubby thought I was being too melodramatic, but I still had my fingers crossed and said a little prayer as our bus also waded across.
This entire scenario was repeated once more later in the day.
By mid-morning it had been confirmed that the road we needed to take the next day to Marrakesh had been closed due to a rock slide. It was unknown if it would be opened before we were scheduled to depart the next morning for that lap of our journey. Our guide, Ham, could only express it as “Inshallah” (God willing or if God wills) which we were to hear repeated many times over the next few days.
We see many pools of water, and once again we are privileged to be able to capture scenes that are not your every day pictures.
Passing though one of several small towns or villages, we saw the same pastel colors that have been so prominent everywhere throughout Morocco.
We are headed toward the oasis of Tinghir for lunch.
“Tinghir is an oasis about 30 kilometres (19 mi) long and about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide. The climate is arid subtropical: hot, dry winters in relation to altitude (1,430 metres (4,690 ft)). There are a few rainy days per year, with the greatest precipitation in fall and winter.” Wikipedia
HaHa, the weather Gods sure fooled them!
But the views as we overlooked the oasis were amazing.
Our literature from Gate 1 claimed that the Todra Gorge, a deep ravine carved by the Todra River would be the real attraction here. I have to say that I’m glad I saw it, but it was not quite a “wow” having seen so many amazing rock formations in our own National Parks.
On to the Dades Valley, where roses bloom in profusion in springtime. Rose water is one of the local products.
Once again we were staying in a Riad. Our room was not nearly as colorful, luxurious or traditional at the Riad in Fez, but the grounds were lovely.
We tried to convince Ham that we should stay here until the road to Marrakesh opened, but sadly we were overruled.
Overnight: Riad Ksar Ighnda, Ait Ben Haddou
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a safe crossing over a swollen river that threatened to wash out the road – twice.