Desert and Gorge Tour Day 2 - Drive, Drive, Desert

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Desert Camp

Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, May 10, 2010

Had a nice breakfast at the hotel and headed for Todra gorge. This time before arriving at the gorge we met a tour guide. He basically took us through the palmeries where the local food is grown. Appears that he locals use the river to irrigate their crops in order to produce the food they need. Lots of diffeent types of crops. Also interesting to see groups of women carrying faggots of grain on their heads from the field to where ever it is that it goes.

After the walk through the palmeries were taken to a carpet shop. The guides sister. Were given tea and shown a bunch of rugs. Also got some education about how vertical rugs are better quality and about different materials used, one of which was cactus silk. Thankfully didnt have to sit around to long when the rug sale was made and no one was willing to buy a rug. Were told we were getting the rigs for a good proice but you have to be dubious when someone says they can do you a deal if you like something in particular. It begs the question of how much the price can be reduced. If it really was a good deal in the first place then the price couldnt be dropped without being non profitable to the seller.

Headed up the gorge and had an hour and a half for lunch so decided to see how far around the gorge circuit I could get. 50min one way and 40 min back. Managed to get through the petite gorge and a reasonable way up the valley. Saw some goat herders along the way and a number of locals driving donkeys. Even saw a hikeing group. Decided at this point it would be worthwhile heading back to the gorge for some hiking after the tour.

Got back to the hotel and waited 5min before we left for the desert. Ended up dropping the guide off near the road to town. Guess he was only coming along for a quick palmery tour and to try and sell a carpet. Wonder if he knows the driver??

Drove throufh the Ziz valley and upon getting near Merzouga the bus was assaulted by the wind blasting it with sand. Upon getting out of the car found that the wind was strong but that since the sand was finer than in Wadi rum, it didnt have the stinging bite I had expected. Ended up riding to a desert camp on camel or should I say I was sitting on one. Didnt really have any control of my camel, since it was tied to one in front and one behind, so maybe sitting is a better word than riding. Enjoyable enough trip either way. Found that travelling through the desert remined me of Ica in Peru though the sand there was white rather then yellow as it was here.

Prior to tea wandered up a nearby sand dune. Found I was more tired then I had thought, Though walking on sand is always hard. Also guess the walk in Todra gorge earlier had worn me out. Upon reaching the top of the dune basically had a sand shower. The wind was basically blowing sand over the top of the dune and due to the steepness of the dune, shooting it into the air over my head creating a shower. Not good since the sand got stuck in my sweat and it wasnt til the sweat dried that I could scrub most of it out. Definately didnt want to sleep will all of it.

Hang around the top for a while to enjoy the views and wondered back down after dark to join my group plus another larger one for dinner. Before and after tea had a few people playing bongo drums which was interesting but after tea decided to wander into the desert to look at stars and enjoy the quite (or sound of the wind at least). Didnt see as many stars as you might expect but not completely unexpected given the amont of sand being blown into the air. Upon heading back didnt bother getting a blanket from the dinner tent and since I hadnt brought my sleeping bag sleep under my polar fleece. Just before dawn ended up having to use my polar fleece, Gortex jacket and long sleave top as a make shift blanket to keep warm. Thankfully this ended up being good enough to get me through until dawn.

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