Sunday, 9 September 2012


There are no shortcuts to the deserts that run down eastern Morocco along the Algerian border. I believe there is a small airport in a remote town called Errachidia but you certainly aren't going to find a low-cost airline that flies there which basically leaves you with two options, a full days drive from Fez or an even longer drive from Marrakech.

We felt that a driver/guide was the right way to go on our desert trip so that we could make best possible use of our time and see the most during our visit but it wasn't too far into our journey that we realised that, as that map had shown, there really was only one road all the way out there, pretty hard to get lost!

While our driver cranked out a selection of music from different regions of Morocco (and continually turned the air conditioning off each time he though we weren't looking) we passed through beautiful ever changing landscapes and towns. Ifrane was a town that caught our eye a few hours out of Fez. Also known as Little Switzerland, Ifrane is a summer resort/winter ski town filled with red-roofed, Swiss-style chalets laid out amongst gardens and tree lined streets, not a common sight in this country.

 A few more hours down the (same) road and it was the scatter of dark nomadic tents that captured our attention. Sophia was determined to go in for a closer inspection but I must admit that as we strolled out across the grassy plain I was a bit nervous, apart from the fact that neither one of us could speak Berber, how were we going to explain what we were doing knocking on their tent flaps?

Halfway out with 200 metres to go we were spotted, my pace slowed. I could now see the other family members beginning to gather out the front of the tent, I could feel my speed slowing again. A line of waving hands quickly went up, a spring was instantly injected back into my step. 

What an amazing family. Being there wasn't at all awkward or uncomfortable. We spent an hour with them simply hanging out and trading smiles before they walked us back to the road and we were again on our way desert bound.

The Nomadic plains.

Sophia with her new friends.

Smiles all round.
And Soph met a monkey...

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