5.18.2010

THE SHELTERING SKY: THE LAST LEG

UN (dernier)THE AU SAHARA
Un petit voyage au Maroc

LA DERNIERE ETAPE
We left the first camp le bivouac Le Petit Prince through very sandy, very flat terrain which quickly turned to a Mars like rather sterile expanse of rocks. 


This lasted for most of the morning until we finally stopped at a place that was very familiar looking: yes, a real oasis, just like in the text books.

There we had a closer look at the few fellow travelers we had noticed driving a parallel route on that interminable rocky stretch; also waiting, were 4 little girls who proceeded to try to sell us a small stash of necklaces made of tiny glass beds. They were fierce negociators! and totally adorable. Very poor and very unkempt, but so adorable.

And then at last we arrived at camp le bivouac de Chegaga. It was even more ensablé - sanded inthan the first bivouac and just as beautiful in a spartan minimal way. 

This time there were actual tents made of thick natural brown wool, here also sheathed with fabric on the inside and decked out in a riot of 60's patterns. Even the sheets were mismatched and the whole look was charming and wonderful and spotlessly clean and comfortable. There too, the samovar and soap were waiting to refresh those travel weary hands.

We were advised to hurry to the top of the Chegaga dune to see the sunset (yes, that one is enormous enough to have a name). Having been driven to the bottom of this giant pile of golden sand, we started climbing. The dunes here were much larger and stretched forever. All the way to Senegal our driver said. We believed him. 

There is good news and bad news when you climb a dune and the very tall dune of Chegaga in particular, we soon realized. 
First the bad news: every step you take becomes a half step: you feet slide back down in the sand and you have that much more to climb AGAIN!. I had to kick myself to reach the top, stopping to catch my breath at least 10 times along the (very long) way, determined to see the sunset (and I confess, avoid total embarrassment). 
Then the good news: the view up there is breathtaking. (no pun intended) and this amazing sea of sand does go on and on and on.

There were 2 surprises waiting : dune boarding. Who knew. It goes fast and you better not slide off the side of the sand pile...no, I did not try.

and we soon had to endure a noisy group of dune buggies who did not hesitate to shatter the soothing calm and silence against all desert regulations.

Dinner was served in the dining tent by candle light (sorry, no photos) and breakfast, outside, the next morning. Heaven.

Then it was time to start our way back to Marrakesh where we visited the Medina again, this time going by the dyers and their array of wool skeins in saturated colors and stopping to have a promised mint tea with our very scholarly new friend, the antique dealer, who very patiently and kindly gave us an informative lecture on the different tribes of Morocco.

One more day in Marrakesh and it was back to Tangier, our last stop before our return home: In the luxury of this cosy and elegant house, we started to recall  our multitude of memorable adventures and our favorite tea break. Of which there are always many in Morocco.

I hope you enjoyed following us during our very condensed tour of northern and southern Morocco during these last few weeks.

Many thanks to M'Hamid Travel for their hospitality, their professionalism, their smiles and their consideration and mindful help.
Au revoir.

3 comments:

  1. Great pictures! You must have so many memories of your amazing adventures in the desert. Morocco is such an interesting country, and your photos truly reflects its beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow..how amazing to visit such places..incredible experience i bet..

    ReplyDelete
  3. It looks like a fantastic trip! I really enjoyed Morocco and would love to go back. Coincidentally, I have a Morocco post scheduled for tomorrow. :)

    ReplyDelete