A while back a friend I’d lost touch with but still had on Facebook posted “I’m going to Morocco in April, anyone wanna come?” Yes was obviously the answer and 2 days later it was booked and the group had grown to 6 of us. We flew into Marrakech and got there late, stayed in a traditional Raid in the city, down one of the tiny winding back alleys. Our host arranged to walk us to a restaurant for dinner and to pick us up later. As we were walking I realised how much of a necessity this was as I tried to memorise the route (just in case) I got about as far as left, left, right, left, right, left, right, right, left or was it left right?! Who knows, we’d only been walking about 3 minutes when I gave up and started to blindly follow through the millions of tiny streets…
After an early start and a big breakfast we spent the day doing the 10 hour drive across morocco to Merzouga, a small town on the edge of the Sahara Desert. It was a long, long drive but we passed through some stunning scenery and we arrived in the evening to the most stunning house Riad Saf Saf, full of huge traditionally decorated rooms and amazing smells coming from the kitchen. After a decent night sleep we woke up and stepped outside into the gardens surrounding the house, beyond which you have a view of a huge expanse of desert, sand dune upon sand dune as far as you can see. It was absolutely stunning, especially viewing it from a garden full of lush shrubs and trees.
We went for an epic walk through the sand dunes, took in the sheer size of the desert stood on the top of a dune and took some obligatory ‘Wahey I’m in the desert’ photos and then went to use the swimming pool at another auberge in the village; it’s no doubt the most surreal experience jumping into an ice cold swimming pool from which you can see the desert.
The following day we drove around the area to get our bearings, visited some local musicians and some nomads living in the dessert, we spend the afternoon playing boules and tennis in the middle of the desert. On the Sunday we wandered around the market in Rissani the nearest village of any size, taking in the smell of spices and the stalls full of olives and fresh veg. Back at the Riad we ate ridiculous well everyday with huge tagines, plates of cous cous and salads for every meal. Everything was organised for us and nothing was too much trouble. We arranged a Quad Biking tour, and after a wobbly start everyone got the hang of it and started to get the speed up. The naturally formed jumps and slopes which sand dunes create were perfect for quad biking, we had a bumpy but amazing time. The following day we went on a camel trek into the desert and camped for the night, read my post on it here.
We spent our last night once again drinking copious amounts of green tea and eating a huge meal. We set of to Fez the next moring and after driving through ‘the switerzland of morocco’ (its sounds impossible but it really does look swiss) and some other amazing scenery we got the airport said our goodbyes and headed home.The overwhelming size and beauty of the desert made it feel as if you were constantly dreaming, every activity seemed surreal and you never quite believe your actually on holiday in the sahara, I only wish we’d had more time, the 8 days flew by!