Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Sahara to Todra Gorge

We followed the bumpy road back to the highway and headed for Todra Gorge where we will spend two nights and be able to get washing done.

At every town there is an inspection point manned by the Royal Gendarmes.  It's not like Egypt where they are all carrying weapons. Here they are checking that papers are correct. Our bus is always waived through. For obvious reasons, I have not taken a photo of them, but they are snappily dressed in uniform.

We passed through several towns. As usual in large countries where the bigger cities are far away, there is not much money spent on these small towns and the inhabitants are poorer.

We came to an area covered with wells and we climbed up to have a look.

The wells are apparently about 40 to 50 feet deep. None of us fell in.

These are actually ventilation holes for subterranean canals that were built by family groups to bring water to the local town. Each family built its own water supply and they apparently did not share their water which is rather odd considering the labour involved. This line of mounds indicates the path of the canal. They were placed underground to minimize evaporation.

We stopped for a bathroom break. I liked the orange colour of the chairs.

I walked up the stairs to the roof.

School buses.

At lunch we stopped at an old Berber village.

The layout of the village.

Muslims have to be buried the day they die. This box is used to transport the body to the mosque for washing and then to the cemetery. Elaborate gravestones are not used, just a rock to mark the spot.

Note how thick the walls are.

To get from one part of the village to another, you walk along these covered corridors which are quite cool. The heat here in summer is often over 50 degrees Celsius.

We ordered lunch at a restaurant and then were invited to visit one of the two Berber museums in the country. It was an old house with many rooms filled with display cases. Eventually I reached the top of the building. It was quite interesting.

For a long time the Berber culture was suppressed as well as their language. However, attitudes have changed and both language and culture are making a come back.

Cooking area on top of the building.

Berbers are very friendly and very welcoming people.

View from the roof.

Soon we were back on the bus and heading off to the Gorge again. It looked like rain in the distance but we didn't get any.

I think this is a cemetery with the small pointed rocks denoting the burial spot.

We reached Todra and the van climbed a hill with a view of the oasis that lies at the bottom of the gorge.

Our other guide Mohammed who is in training, comes from Todra and of course knows everyone. A car stopped suddenly in the middle of the road and out hopped the owner to greet Mohammed. They are such happy and friendly people.

If you look behind the palm trees you can see the Kasbah where we are staying. We had to cross a bridge over the creek to get to the hotel.

My room. I get good internet reception using the Orange sim card on my cell phone but the wifi reception in the rooms is weak. Most used the wifi connection in the dining area, but that is limited when a lot of people are accessing it. If you come to Morocco, get a 10 gb sim card for about $10.

The bathroom. When we arrived, the rooms were very cold but eventually warmed up when they put the heat on at night. The water was hot. 

A month ago there was a meter of snow so I would advise against coming in January.

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