On my previous travel post, we were leaving Marrakesh to reach desert. This post is about the last 48 hours before reaching desert. This trip consisted many hours driving with a few stops, till reaching the Ouarzazate village, the first day and the second to the desert. Most of the photos are shaky since they were taken from the car.
First stop, was at a shop where women were making argan oil. I was not aware of the benefits of the argan oil. It contains essential nutrients for skin and hair. Also, it is used as food for dipping, in salads etc. Moreover, they offered us a mixture of it which was similar to peanut butter. There were women at the entrance of the store representing the whole process of extracting argan oil. For the extraction of argan oil, special stones are used to crush the nuts taken out from the fruit of the argan tree. The mechanical way to do that never worked, so people still are doing it manually with the stones.
We bought some presents and then we went to the restaurant next to it for lunch. The menu was couscous, tajin, omelette and skewers. This menu was the same in every restaurant we had lunch. This time I had skewers which was good!!!
With our stomachs full, we got into the car and we continued our long trip. Travelling all these distances, you get to discover that Morocco is varied in geology. Every area was so unique, different mountains, different plains is like you were entering to another country every few kilometers. It is worth doing a road trip but be careful because the roads near the mountains are not very safe. There was a cliff with 3 words on it. We asked Mustafa and he told us they mean God, Nation and King. The three values of the kingdom of Morocco.
Game of Thrones fans get ready to get excited!! The next stop was the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, where it was used as a set for the series. A fortified village made from clay. It’s unique structure made it an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, the village was a set for movies like Gladiator, Jesus of Nazaret, Babel and many more!! A must visit place. We wandered around the narrow alleyways and dawdled the small markets, till the top part of the village to enjoy the view. It is a very interesting place. Very few families still living at the village. Most people have moved to modern dwellings.
After taking some sunset photos we left for our hotel. The name of the hotel is Les Jardins de Ouarzazate. Mustafa informed us that the hotel has a swimming pool and I was craving a cold swim. However, seeing the swimming pool, the crave was gone. It was very dirty to get in. The water looked like the sediments in olive oil. Then they showed us our rooms which were small houses in the garden of the hotel. I must mentioned, that the garden was like a jungle with big grass and weeds. Long story short there were bugs and small lizards everywhere. Scary, because i was not sure if they were harmful!!
We put our luggage in the rooms and we went to the restaurant for dinner. For dinner we had…guess!!! Tajin with wine. Then i went to reception for my wifi dose since the internet there cannot be found often. There was no wifi in the rooms. After an hour I went to my room and I realised that my aircondition was not working. If there is no aircondition there is no sleep!! I had to pass through the frightening garden, again and get to the reception to let them know, since there was no telephone in the room. A guy came and he gave me the keys to the room next to it. In the new room the aircondition was working but the bed sheets were dirty, therefore I decided to go an sleep to another room with my friends. As I was explaining the whole situation to my friends, we heard a shout from the room next to us where two friends of us were sleeping. We run and our friend was scared because of a small lizard that was in the room. Anyway, after this adventurous night we managed to sleep.
24 HOURS BEFORE DESERT
As you realized this hotel is not one to recommend. Just to add that the breakfast buffet, the next day, was full of flies. This was the worst hotel in the whole trip. After breakfast we got in the car for the desert.We had a quick break for a coffee.
We were suppose to stop at the Kelaat M’Gouna city, also known as the rose city. There is a popular rose festival happening here, in May, when the roses are blossomed. We were going to see a rose valley but we skipped it because we were going to be late for the desert. The awesome thing is in this city is that the taxis are pink because of the roses.
The next stop was an oasis. Oasis is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area in a desert or semi-desert area. We were watching a green area surrounded with desert landscape.
We stopped at a restaurant for lunch. A very nice cozy restaurant with delicious food, the menu was the same as the previous restaurant, as i mentioned above. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the name of the restaurant, but i am sure you will get to it if you decide to visit desert.
After many hours we reached to a huge gorgeous gorge, the Todgha gorge. Imposing rocks were surrounding us, with some of them reaching the 400m as I read. The gorge is basically series of limestone river canyons. A small stream was the cherry on top to make this place look amazing. Due to the Eid Al Adha (as mentioned on previous post), many Moroccans were here and they were chilling and having picnic. They were doing bbq, singing, dancing and there were people that were doing climbing on the rocks. It was very busy. Photos cannot show the beauty of this place.
After 5 hours we moved our luggage from our car to a 4×4 and the new driver took us to a small hostel in a deserted area. We were late. Already a group with people climbed the camels and they were leaving the hostel. We met Mobarak who helped gave us all the information about the desert and helped us get prepared. I must mentioned that who ever we met they are very kind and friendly and you feel that these feelings are real. He told us that we will only need a bottle of water nothing else so we left our things at the hostel. We wore scarves to protect our faces from the sand got on the camels. Getting on and off a camel is a bit scaring the first time. This is the first and the last time riding a camel since it feels they do not get the best treatment, generally. Our camels were tied from the first till the last one with a rope. It was about 8 o’clock in the afternoon so the daylight was not much and we headed to the desert.
Stay tuned till the next post when we get to the nomads in the dessert. Follow me on my socials for more fashion, design and travel inspiration!!!!