Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Morocco Diary - Aït Ben Haddou and Road Trip

Hi there, how is everybody's week going? Mine is pretty relaxed apart from the last preparations for my vaca in Germany and some stuff to do at work. Today I'll try to keep it short telling you about some sights we visited during our road trip across Morocco.

As I explained in my last post we had booked a three-day tour with Mandala Tours from Fez to Marrakech with one day in the desert in between. One night we stayed in the desert camp (see my last post) and the other in a beautiful riad (you will see some pics of it at the end of this post). 

Exploring Aït Ben Haddou

One of the most interesting towns we have visited during the tour was surely Aït Ben Haddou in the Ouarzazate province, where popular movies and shows like Game of Thrones had been shot. Aït Ben Haddou lies at the bank of a river (which was dried out when we were there) and consists of a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high defensive walls and towers. It is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat and beautiful example of the architecture of southern Morocco. Some of us walked around the town a bit (the entrance is free) while others went to search for fossils (which are very common in this area of Morocco). Aït Ben Haddou really is a mystical place that is definitely worth a visit if you should come to this part of the country!

Road Trip across Morocco

We crossed a huge part of the country, passed many different and breathtaking landscapes and stopped once in a while to go explore a bit and soak in the beauty of the country. I can not stress enough that Morocco features really amazing landscapes! In three days we crossed the snow-covered mountains of Ifrane, also called the Moroccan Switzerland, where we could watch Barbary macaques play in the snow, as well as dried out, vast steppes where wild dromedaries crossed our path. We also crossed the stunning Atlas mountains that were either covered in sunshine or fog and, of course, the fascinating Sahara desert.

Here and there we stopped at a Berber village, larger city or ancient fortress called Kasbah. We also explored the Dades Valley and Todra Gorge, a canyon of red high rocks with a crystal clear river running through it. I feel like we have really seen some of Morocco's most beautiful parts. We did a quite touristic route but never found lots of people at the same spot which was awesome! Many parts of Morocco reminded me so much of the vast landscapes of Arizona that you see in movies. Dried out steppes, high canyons and endless sunshine. We also spotted lots of oases along the way, they really do exist! It's a beautiful sight, these lush green spots in the middle of nowhere. Trees and houses gathered wherever there is water. The Moroccan landscape was a fairy tale to me and I can only highly recommend getting out of the cities when visiting Morocco to explore its stunning nature!

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