Flash Flood Warnings in the Desert

May 5th ~ Explore Desert & Todra Gorge, Overland to Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco

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Waking up at dawn in our tent camp in the Sahara Desert

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. 

Umbrella on the dunes

Umbrella on the dunes

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.

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Camel safari sets off across the sand dunes

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.

Sparse but wet

Sparse but wet

And not far ahead we were stopped as the mountain run-off was cascading across the road and traffic was stopped in both directions.

Water rushing across the road and cascading down the side

Water rushing across the road and cascading down the side

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 is one of two places we had to traverse

This is one of two places we had to traverse

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.

Water pooling across the desert

Water pooling across the desert

Rows of wells for use by the entire community

Rows of wells for use by the entire community

Pump system for the well

Pump system for the well

Passing though one of several small towns or villages, we saw the same pastel colors that have been so prominent everywhere throughout Morocco.

Pastel colors

Pastel colors

More stucco walls with men gathered under a tree

More stucco walls with men gathered under a tree

We are headed toward the oasis of Tinghir for lunch.

Playing musical instruments for our entertainment while we overlook T Oasis below

Playing musical instruments for our entertainment while we overlook Tinghir Oasis below

“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

Want to ride a camel or take a scooter for a spin?

Want to ride a camel or take a scooter for a spin?

HaHa, the weather Gods sure fooled them!

But the views as we overlooked the oasis were amazing.

T Oasis

Tinghir Oasis

Snake charmer. Fine for a paid sending

Snake charmer.

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.

Gorge

Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge

On to the Dades Valley, where roses bloom in profusion in springtime. Rose water is one of the local products.

Another use for the roses

Another use for the roses

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.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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18 Responses to Flash Flood Warnings in the Desert

  1. That’s a great shot of the camels against the skyline. I really want to get back to Morocco. Last time I was there I’d travelled overland from South Africa – we frequently had flooding-on-the-road issues.
    Alison

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  2. Harrowing adventure! Glad all turned out ok. Flash floods are nothing to mess around with.

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  3. ardysez says:

    We heard ‘Inshallah’ many times in Turkey too, a nice expression. I’m not sure I would have the stamina to do the trip you are on but it certainly looks amazing. How is Tim faring with the food? Crossing those swollen streams over the roads looks exactly like here. In fact our access road floods like that once a year, sometimes more. The rest of the time the river ‘flows’ under a dry looking river bed. It is amazing to see the desert when it rains, but it’s beautiful in the dry as well. Safe travels.

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  4. Amy Pantone says:

    Wow, what an adventure. Love how you were able to capture rain in the desert. Something you certainly do not see every day. Glad you were able to safely cross both times.

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  5. Wonderful photos. This happened to me once in Central Australia on the way to Uluru. Rushing water can be more dangerous that it looks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. janet oates says:

    wow love the view of the Tinghir Oasis, it is like watching a movie….

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  7. Karen says:

    Hi Joanne:

    I can’t believe the trouble you have had with the rains and flooding — or on second thought, yes I can — because we had the same problem. Love your blogs and especially the photos. I have the same photos of the water going over that same bridge. No busses or cars could pass over it because it was so deep. What an adventure Morocco is!

    Love, Karen

    Sent from Karen’s iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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