Morocco: From top to bottom



Thu, 20 Jul 2017 - 06:00 GMT


Thu, 20 Jul 2017 - 06:00 GMT

Even though the route M11 is now well graded, like tarmac, nevertheless it’s a magical scenery

Even though the route M11 is now well graded, like tarmac, nevertheless it’s a magical scenery

CAIRO – 20 July 2017: In Ouarzazate and Aït Benhaddou we were that close to become Hollywood stars… The kasbahs (fortresses) there, have been used in various movies as settings, e.g. in the “Gladiator”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Prince of Persia”. In Aït Benhaddou we were lucky enough to be hosted by Kamal’s family. There, we rested for three days, made some sightseeing at the nearby oases, met the relatives of the family and Christina had her palms tattooed with henna!

Christina is having her palms henna tattooed

After a scenic route, passing through Telouet and a bunch of other picturesque villages, we arrived in the exotic Marrakesh! Having heard so many things about its night market, I went there straight ahead, to discover the reason of its fame. It’s not the market the main star of the show, however, but the activities on the main square, Djemaa el-Fna. Big crowds are being gathered around musicians, street artists, storytellers and snake charmers. Christina, however, found another attraction… I could not take her away from the food stalls, where she could find all that she dreamt of: veal heads, tongues, livers, intestines, tripes, lamb’s fries and many other interesting parts of the animal that are prohibited in Europe.

The exotic Marrakesh… Christina is somewhere in the background, lost in the smokes of the grills

In Marrakesh it was a good opportunity to have my boots and gloves replaced. I started this trip wearing my old boots, the ones I was wearing during my trip in Asia. After so many miles they were completely worn out. REV’IT! had no problem to send me in Morocco one pair of the unbelievably comfortable Apache boots and one pair of the Neutron gloves, which have a magical feature: you can use touch screens while having them on! Now I don’t have to stop and take off my gloves every time I want to use my cell phone to control my video camera, play music, use the GPS etc.

Finally, it was time to do some trekking on the mountains of High Atlas. After having visited the breathtaking Ouzoud Cascades, we made a beautiful ride through the Aït Bougomez valley and left our motorcycles at a guesthouse, somewhere in the valley of Aït Bououli. On the second day of the trekking, however, we lost the trace of the path and had to climb the mountain cliffs, in order to reach the pass. For me it was nothing, but Christina was moving really slowly and, after nine hours of constant walking, she was truly exhausted. In order to make it to a village before getting dark, she didn’t make enough stops to rest. We did not carry any of our camping gear or any cookware and food, so we had to spend every night in some village. During our ascend to the Rougoult Pass, on an altitude of 2,860 m (9,383 ft), she could barely speak. She keeps saying that this was the hardest day of her life…

: The peasants who opened a warehouse for Christina to rest and saved her, as she was a wreck after nine hours of constant trekking

After a good night sleep, she was ready once more to admire the wonderful mountainous scenery we faced on the other side of the pass! The entire route was by the river, through lush plains, that came in a total contrast to the brown cliffs of the gorge through which we were trekking. In some parts there were trees with yellow leaves, in a really autumn landscape. Many peasants were riding their overloaded mules, and you could hear the girls singing inside the gorge. The fields were full of families working. During lunch time, they were cooking on the spot and were having lunch all together.

On the way to the village of Ichbbakene, during our trekking on the mountains of High Atlas

After four days of trekking, we were on the road again. In order to return to the village where we had left our motorbikes, we took many different vans, the ones that the locals have turned into mini buses. It was already dark when we arrived at the valley of Aït Blel, where Hasn, a student of English literature, approached us and took us in the house of his family to spend the night. The next day we hitchhiked and, finally, we arrived at the village from where we had started our trekking. We took our motorcycles and we really appreciated the freedom that you get by having your own vehicle.

Through small roads, we crossed the mountains of High Atlas and headed south. Our last off-road riding in Morocco was the route M11 of Sahara Overland. Crossing the mountains of Anti-Atlas, it took us to some stunning oases full of palms. The biggest part of the route was well graded and it was like tarmac. Just in the end of it, we moved on a dried riverbed and rode on the piste the way it used to be.

Off on the tarmac again, we came across endless plains, where we rode dully on 80 kph (50 mph). The scenery was rocky with a few argan trees here and there. Some goats were climbing on the trees to eat its precious nuts, which are growing only in these areas. We arrived in Tan Tan, where Abdulhak hosted us, a very friendly lad whom we met through CouchSurfing.

Staring optimistically at the future



Leave a Comment

Be Social