Sunday, 12. February 2017 | Morocco – Guelmin-Oued Noun, Taghjijt | Petra
EXPLORING THE MOUNTAINS OF MOROCCO
We keep on heading south on our route Morocco. We are hungry for more new impressions. We want to see Plage Blanche and we want to soak up the fresh air of mountains. But first we have to go shopping.
We don’t expect too much from Agadir, the touristic stronghold at the Atlantic Ocean, and want to stop here just for a short stay. We need supply for our prepaid internet card and our refrigerator.
A delicious lunch in a nice little restaurant at the promenade, a new dress embroidered with flowers for me (Petra) and a wonderful sunset at the huge sandy beach turn our functional visit into pleasant excursion.
Jetzt wollen wir aber raus in die weite Natur. Es gibt kein Halten mehr und wir verlassen Agadir auf der Regionalstraße nach Tafraoute.
Nach etwa 50 km kurven wir auf angenehmen, autofreien Bergstraßen nach oben. Wir cruisen im Gebirgszug des Antiatlas umher, der uns immer wieder herrliche Ausblicke schenkt. Wir fahren vorbei an duftendem Ginster und blühenden Mandelbäumen. Die Berglandschaft wird immer schöner, je weiter wir nach oben kommen. Rotes Felsgestein streckt sich farbenprächtig dem strahlend blauen Himmel entgegen.
Wenn wir gelegentlich unterwegs anderen Menschen zu Fuß, mit dem Auto, auf dem Moped oder im LKW begegnen, ist uns stets ein freundlicher Gruß, ein Lächeln oder der Like-Daumen sicher. So viel spontane Freundlichkeit haben wir nun wirklich nicht erwartet. Wir sind tief beeindruckt.
At Tioulite Tizourgane, a kasbah with its fortified granary, heritage dating from the thirteenth century, we have a break for a late lunch deserved from our on-bord kitchen. It’s wonderful to have the time to watch the beautiful kasbah and the landscape. If somebody passes by he waves hello. A man on a motor bike comes along and stops next to us. “Bonjour!” he says with a friendly smile. “Labas?” (How are you?). Our answer is “Labas, allhamdulillah!” (Everything is fine, thank god!) and he is all smiles. We have a french and english conversation. He is happy that we like to be in his country. Shouting “Welcome to Morocco!” and waving he speeds off.
Ten minutes later a car stops. A man gets off and speeks to Win very friendly. This is how we meet Ali. He is an agricultural economist and is teaching marketing at a college in Meknès. He was born in this area and tells us a little bit about it. To stay here at night with our truck would be no problem and would be save, after all the berber are friendly people, he recommends his homeland. We like chatting with Ali very much. Before he leaves he gives us his phone number and an invitation to give him a call as soon we’ll arrive in Meknès. He would very much like to show us the city.
We feel save and secure in this friendly atmosphere of beeing welcome. We are in a good temper and enjoy driving uphill on a narrow mountain road higher and higher into the mountains. We pass impressing mountains, little villages or single houses. We marvel at endless terraces, that stick to the slopes high. They once were man-made for generations to facilitate agriculture in this region. Today they are underused, too dry is the soil.
Late in the day we set up camp for the night on a wide place in front of the major face of the rock. We probably never had a silent night like this before. Silence around us and an ocean of bright stars above. What a night!
The next morning we continue rolling through the diverse landscape of mountains past waving and smiling people. Motivated by the sun we finally reach Tafraoute in a good mood. The old cozy Berber village is very popular with tourists. Probably this is due to the enchanting surrounding, characterized by a fascinating rocky landscape. Round sanded granite rocks of all sizes, from tiny up to gigantic, form up to exciting formations and flood the dusty landscape. Tall palm trees and almond trees in bloom between and the towering mountains of Anti-Atlas behind. At sunset the mountains show glows of pink and purple, a fantastic play of color.
A few steps from here there should be some painted rocks our guidebook says. We take a close look at „Les Roches Peints“ and climb between the beautiful sculptures of nature. Jean Verame, an artist from Belgium, prefers to use nature as screen and let paint the granite rocks with blue and pink color in 1984. We think: You can do it, but you need not.
It’s warm and we clearly feel the energy of the sun. The beginning of February feels like early summer in Germany. We very much enjoy the landscape and the impressive spectacle of the rocks.
That we’ll have an extraordinary impressive way back to Tafraoute, we don’t know at this moment. Actually we take a different track back to the town. All of a sudden we’re very surprised when a small settlement bars our way. I have to get off the truck and lead Win with the big vehicle through narrow lanes to get not stuck anywhere. The passage turns out to be a high-precision work, every centimeter counts. This time it is not the sun that makes us break out in sweat. Finally, we make it!
After one week of abstinence we again have an appointment at the coast with Susanne, Stefan and Matz, the fire engine. Together we want to venture to do an off road tour through the mountains down to Plage Blanche. Meeting point is a place above a cliff some seven kilometers off Sidi Ifni.
Everybody is happy about our cheerful reunion and therefore it doesn’t matter that the expected colorful sunset remains invisible in the thick coastal fog. To chat and exchange all our experiences of the last days perfectly works even with candle light in the fog.
The order of the following days is off-roading. Just so that we need not to starve in the middle of nowhere we very well stocked up with food.
On our first day we drive six hours on gravel dusty roads uphill, downhill, along the beach, uphill and downhill again. On a specific place on a hill Win has to go backwards, downhill again. To pass the damaged track in front of us with our wide vehicle seems to be impossible. An french couple oncoming with it’s off-road vehicle right now recommends to drive back and use the track along the beach. From there we could go up to the hills again. So, let’s do it!
After a long way of rocking on stony dusty tracks and exciting paths we finally make it to the northern, less spectacular part of Plage Blanche. The beach is not white but gray beige and filled with big pebbles. The white sand dunes we will skip freely this time due to the not cooperating weather. It is rainy, cold and very windy – definitely not what you expect from a perfect beach weather.
In the evening Superman Stefan actually conjures electricity for us and everthing is fine again. Thanks a million!
Filled with the fantastic expriences of the last days we finally collapse into bed happy about the best electricity in the world. It’s a wonder that we don’t want to sleep with all lights on.