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Todra Gorge & Ouazazate

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Note: Internet access has been difficult, hence the lateness of this update.

Todra Gorge was quite spectacular, in particular from an ex-climbers point of view. As it’s not full tourist season yet it was relatively quiet, with only a few stalls set up selling their wares. I was offered a days climbing by a local guide who told me come March and the Gorge is full of traders and tourists.

Todra Gorge – a climbers paradise, and popular tourist destination.

As it was, today there was just a small group wandering around and I exchanged pleasantries with a young Japanese couple who like me were making their first trip to Morocco. Strange how out of a group of mixed nationalities it always seems to be the Japanese who are the most keen to converse – as a consequence it’s a country high on my list to visit later in my travels.

The mixed group of tourists I met in Todra Gorge.

The general consensus seemed to be that the Gorge out of season loses much of it’s appeal, because it is the sights and sounds of the various locals that make it special and to an extent I agreed with that sentiment.

I declined the offer to climb and had my photo taken instead!

But for the more adventurous (Neil & Matt spring to mind) wouldn’t you just enjoy this place?

The impressive sheer walls offer routes of all abilities.

I’m always on the lookout for ‘different’ types of photos and couldn’t pass by these local ladies doing their washing without capturing the moment. The young girl on the left spent some time ‘stomping’ the garments.

Washing day in the local Oued Todra.

What I find fascinating is that in areas where there is a lot of tourist activity, there is a noticeable improvement in the quality of housing, which is plainly obvious from the roadside as well as from a distance. The following photograph illustrates this quite well ->

The more ‘upmarket’ housing just outside Todra Gorge.

It was mid afternoon by the time I returned to Ouazzazate and so the planned stop at the cyber cafe never happened as I was mindful of finding a camping spot well outside of town, which sprawled out for many kilometers and so the leaving would take some time.

Ouazazate.

Leaving Ouazazate, the High Atlas mountains in the far distance.

I had however made a pretty drastic change to my itinerary, mostly because I was getting a little bored with the barren desert roads, (finding camping difficult) and was all Kasbah’d out. You can only see so many ruins before they all become much of a muchness, yet I’m sure there are many who would not share this sentiment.

From the ‘valley of 1,000 Kasbah’s, this was my favorite.

In reality I was just missing the mountains. I decided instead of heading South I would head North to Marrakech via the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass. After a few kilometers I got a pretty good view of the snow capped peaks of the High Atlas mountains through the (now familiar) boundary archways.

My next destination – the High Atlas mountains.

This next part of my journey was going to be a difficult one, but I was really looking forward to the challenge ahead…

 

 

2 Comments
jane
Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hey,
It’s good to see your progress, and what amazing photos! It quite makes me want to visit Morocco.
You are a stickler for punishment , heading for more mountains! Perhaps you have shed some of your 70 kgs of baggage..
I hope you enjoy it all, and continue to make good progress,towards the Cape if that is still the goal. Will recent events in Mali make you change your route?
All the best,
Jane and Chris

    Derek
    Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Jane & Chris, hope you’re both keeping well?
    Yes I have shed many ‘non essential’ items because the weight was just too much. I’m refining things as I go all the time and if the food situation here was different (aka more choice & availability) I would carry more dried foods which would reduce my baggage even further.
    I’ve given away many items of clothing though!
    As for enjoyment, well I’m more at home in the mountains than anywhere else – always have been.
    I’ll keep an eye on the situation in Mali, but I have a kind offer that would get me across (west to east) Africa safely if I need to take it.

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