1101 Isolated Desert Corners Trip (Mor 343*)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  , Souss-Massa-Drâa,
Sunday, November 13, 2011

              Day 048: 6 hours,

Two weeks after my Sidi Bouknadel day trip, I'm ready to really hit the road again.  This time I’ve got five days off so I should be able to cover some serious real estate.  After giving it some thought, I know exactly where I need to go:  I’m going to "clean up" some of the most remote towns tucked far away in the corners of Morocco: I’m heading back to the desert of the “Deep South” again.

Almost half of Morocco is what was formerly known as the “Spanish Sahara”, a vast, utter wasteland where you can go for hundreds kilometers without seeing a single town.  I’ve crossed it four times, going to and from Subsaharan Africa, but I’ve always been in a hurry, so there are still a couple of towns that I missed along the way.  Now that I really want to be able to claim that I’ve “explored all of Morocco”, I know I’ve got to go snag those towns, rather than wait for another trans-Saharan trip… which might never happen with the new restrictions on Mauritanian visas for Americans.

So, once again, I head to the bus station straight from work, just like the good old days… quickly sprint through the dodgy stretch near the station… hop on the first bus heading south… and I’m off.

A Serene Walk on the Beach

Around 7 in the morning I arrive in Tiznit, which was one of the first Moroccan towns of my Minstrel Tour back in 2008.   But there’s a nearby beach town that I missed—and it’s a must, because it’s actually a “revisit” town… I came here back in 2001 with wife when we were still newlyweds.  In order to be able to say I’ve finished my Morocco tour, I have to revisit all the towns I visited on previous trips.

Soon I find a collective taxi heading to Aglou, and we’re off down a narrow, windy road heading to the beach.  We pass through a sizeable village on the way there—which I might stop to explore on the way back. 

Aglou is just as peaceful and serene as I remember.  There the restaurant where my wife and I had lunch… there’s the shrine—a tomb of a saint on a rocky hilltop overlooking the sea… there’s a section of jagged coral rock, and then a long stretch of spotless sandy beach.  Up above it, a new boardwalk has been added—so my suspicion is that, come summertime, this place gets pretty crowded.  And up near the hillside are numerous vacation bungalows that have been built.  But for now, Aglou is just a therapeutic place where you can just sit back and let all your cares be washed away by the sound of the waves and the gulls… without hardly anyone around to distract you.

Part of me would like to just chill out here for the whole day… But I’m in Active Mode now.  This is a day for discovery, now for sitting and contemplating.  I sing my songs, and take a stroll along the beach where there’s only on lovestruck young Moroccan couple.  I wonder if they’re locals or from out of town… not very easy to be discreet in a small village like Aglou.

Instead of grabbing the taxi straight back, I decide to hike to the town I saw on the way through.  I’ve got this thing about “Intertown Hikes” nowadays—and it would be great to start my trip with one… The sun is starting to really scorch now, despite this being November… but I keep trudging along until I reach a row of houses and shops lining the road…

But no, the “Inter-town Hike” was not to be… I ask and am told that this town is still part of Aglou, in fact, this is the real Aglou… the other part is just a vacation village.  Oh well…
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