I was up very, very early due to my hotel being across the street from a Mosque and I was jolted out of my slumber by the morning call to pray. I kept meaning to log the daily prayer times to see if I could figure out the pattern but never seemed to get around to it. It does make a good alarm clock although I woke up a bit earlier then I had planned. But getting up early was good because I had a long day ahead of me, although I didn't know at the time how long it would be. My tentative plan was to go pick up the bicycle I arranged to rent for the day, bike the 15km up to the Todra Gorge, go hiking in the mountains beyond the gorge and then bike back to Tinghir. After breakfast and making a video from the roof of hotel, I stopped into a small store I had found and loaded up on water and snacks, mainly fruit but also an assortment of strange Moroccan cookies and treats.
Up again before the sun rise but this time it was so I could catch the 6AM bus from M’Hamid north back to Ouarzazate where I’d then catch another bus east to Tinghir. I would rather have stayed in bed a few more hours but rising early did allow me to catch one last desert sunrise and I tried to sear the image of the sun appearing over the rolling sand dunes into my memory. The bus ride north was uneventful and I spent the time watching the Moroccan countryside slide by my window. One of my few regrets on this trip was not writing down the names of all the little towns I stopped into along the way. And like all my drives during the previous days, this bus stopped into a small nameless town for an hour or so somewhere along the way.
I set my alarm to catch the sunrise and I’m glad I did. I don’t care where I am, I love watching the sunrise and it’s no different here. It was still dark when I woke and slipped out of my tent ready to find a dune to call my own. Immediately I caught some movement in the corner of my eye about 20 feet away and jumped in surprise. I could only make out a lump in the darkness but it had definitely moved and had startled the hell out me. I might have jumped an inch or two. It wasn’t until I got my flashlight on that I realized the lumps were sleeping people, the camp workers who slept under heavy blankets around the fire pit.
Collection of video clips filmed in Morocco This is a section of the road between Marrakech and Ourzazate in the Atlas Mountains on the north side of the Tizi n Tichka pass.. If you're heading from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert then this is one of the few driving routes heading south over the Atlas Mountains. Drive carefully!! You do not want to go off this road!!!
It’s Monday morning and I'm off to the desert. And not just any desert either. I’m off to the Sahara Desert and I'm excited, very excited. Seeing the desert was one of the main purposes of this trip to Morocco and now I'm on my way. I met my driver and his younger brother just after breakfast and we hit the N9 highway heading south. The N9 highway first crosses a flat expanse of featureless, barren rocky land before snaking up through the Anti-Atlas Mountains. It then follows the Draa River valley south to Zagora and ends in M’Hamid on the edge of the Sahara
After a solid sleep I woke early and hit the hotel cafe area for a complimentary breakfast that was small and unsatisfying. I tend to have a big breakfast while in Canada and I miss that while traveling. By 8AM I say goodbye to Hotel Toulaine and head off to find a Grand Taxi over the mountains to Ouarzazate where I'll plan to stay for the night before heading further south to M'Hamid.
It's been a long day of traveling from Canada but eventually my plane pulls up to the terminal at Mohammed V airport in Casablanca. It's 8:40AM local time. My goal for the day is to make it from Casablanca to Marrakesh, find my hotel and see how I felt after the long flights. After clearing customs I exchanged some money into Dirhams which can only be done in Morocco. I also had a supply of Euros.