Published: February 19th 2011February 16th 2011
Famous kasbah near Ouarzazatte
Merzouga to Goulmima
Leaving the camels and dunes at Merzouga we stopped first to see a factory and showrooms where the local fossil filled marble is worked. It is beautiful and especially striking when used for washstands and larger items.
Between Erfoud and Goulmima we passed through many palmeries with their ingenious irrigation systems from the wadis and a few ksours or fortified villages. Goulmima was a typical small village and enjoyable as a stop over as it was well off the tourist trail. We looked around the old ksour without any hassle. Amazing that they are still inhabited. Just beaten earth floors and a warren of tunnel like alleys connecting cave like living spaces. All water has to be collected outside the walls, animals are kept in compounds just outside the wall and washing is done in the stream running alongside.
It is all incredibly clean though as is the rest of the country which has been a real surprise. It seems there has been a real change since the new king came to power.
Goulmima to Tineghir
A good tip-off from a French couple we met on the 4x4 desert detour took us
Lesley being shown the children's pictures of themselves
on a minor road through the most fascinating area we had yet encountered. This is gorge and mountain country and very remote. The scenery is awesome. Many hued mountains as a backdrop with the occasional oasis, the road follows the water course towards the Todra Gorge. However villagers here have a tough life. Although there are schools there is little in the way of health system and only taxis for transport. Everywhere children wave and can be very persistent beggars if you stop nearby. Even the adults will sign for money or food.
The gorge itself is a popular local and tourist attraction so there are the several hotels and campsites with the usual cluster of souvenir stalls. It is the quiet season at present. There is always the danger of flash flooding in the gorge after rain.
A highlight of our time here was the day spent with a Servas host AbdelAziz. A young man the same age as our eldest he is a junior school teacher in the village. He prepared lunch for us then we walked through the palmery next to the river and up through the Gorge itself. It was fascinating to hear about life from the 'inside'. The next day we went to the school to meet his class which was also a wonderful priviledge. Incredible that he copes without so much that we take for granted. Forget the fact of no computer he has no means of duplication at all! and when he talks of 'extra responsibilies' he means cleaning and basic maintenance. There is no heating whatsoever and it gets really cold in the winter in these parts.