Sara Thomas


Sara Thomas

We're inveterate travellers, living in London and making at least one long haul trip a year. Our current passion is India - we're gradually exploring more of it on each trip.

Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » Agadir May 30th 2023

We stay around the hotel for most of the time we are in Agadir. On the first morning we strike out and walk about 20 minutes to find some shops for some bits and pieces. Not the most scenic walk but it gives us some exercise. One day we are supposed to visit the Souss Massa nature reserve to see the birds in and around the wetlands, but we decide the sybaritic pleasures of doing nothing outweigh the attraction of trekking on foot in the heat. The idle option, but it is a holiday. One day we decide to make the effort to see Agadir so we summon the driver and guide. Agadir was levelled in an earthquake in 1960 and completely rebuilt. It is a dump, no other word for it. Large areas are now ... read more
View from our balcony, Agadir
Medina walls, Essaouira
Essaouira ramparts

Africa » Morocco » Guelmim » Tiznit May 24th 2023

The sun rose over the pink cliffs surrounding Tafraoute, though the beautiful view was somewhat marred by the roofs of the town below and the rubbish lying in the streets. We set off in the car once more, for our longest driving day. The first 2 ½ hours took us to Tiznit, with the first 90 minutes spent ascending and descending the mountains on a hair raising road that was essentially single track, but with wide enough unmade verges to allow another vehicle to squeeze past on the mercifully few occasions that we encountered one. The land to either side looked as if it had been terraced, but with nothing being grown on it we wondered if it was, in fact, natural. Houssain told us that it was man made, but that the land has fallen ... read more
Mirleft beach
Early morning Anti Atlas

Africa May 22nd 2023

We enjoyed an excellent breakfast in the garden of our hotel, the Palais Oumensour, then headed off into Taroudant to visit the huge city walls which are its main feature. They’re impressive, but we didn’t feel the need to walk the full 7km circuit, especially as Sara felt unexpectedly sick. So we retraced our steps back to the hotel, where Sara took to her bed for the rest of the day while David enjoyed the sun on a lounger by the pool. He made friends with a tortoise who came to visit him. Next morning we drove to Tafraoute, a small town in the Anti Atlas. The drive took about 3 ½ hours and was stunning. Once we left the plain and climbed into the mountains there was virtually no traffic and very few settlements. Sometimes ... read more
Fortified granary
Painted rocks, Tafraoute
Anti Atlas

Africa » Morocco » Anti-Atlas May 20th 2023

Today we drove from Ouarzazate to Taroudant, a 5 hour drive through the Anti Atlas. We thought this might become boring, but the scenery changed constantly. One minute we were driving through blackened outcrops of rock, eroded into layers and small boulders, next we were crossing semi arid plains with the occasional mesa rising above the level. It was dry, but there was scrubby vegetation in even the most desolate places. We passed ashepherd tending a small flock of sheep, and wondered where on earth he lived, given there was no sign of habitation for a good ten miles in either direction. We saw an old movie set of a gas station as seen in innumerable American films and TV series. On the other side of the road was a coal mine, who knew they mined ... read more
Gas Haven
Argan tree

Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » Ouarzazate May 19th 2023

We woke up to beautiful clear skies and a view of the snow covered mountains in the High Atlas. Our first stop was Ait Benhaddou, a picturesque village that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, best known for featuring in numerous films including Gladiator, though for that film was there significant enhancement of the site by the use of CGI. By arriving early we managed to avoid the crowds, as we walked through the outer wall and then up narrow passageways between ochre coloured buildings. We were taken round one Berber home, which had a small pen to keep the sheep in, as well as storage space for their hay. The unlit original kitchen with an open fire sat next to a more modern kitchen with at least some mod cons. The village nestles at ... read more
Egyptian set, Atlas Studios
Snow on the Anti Atlas mountains
Inside Taourirt kasbah Ouarzazate

Africa » Morocco » Anti-Atlas May 18th 2023

We breakfast on the roof terrace in Marrakesh, a typical Moroccan breakfast of coffee, yoghurt, orange juice, with Moroccan pancakes (disappointing as usual) and bread. As we are getting up to leave “You like omelette?” so we sat down again. We eventually set off with our driver and our guide Houssain, driving through the posh end of town and heading south east under a leaden sky across a fairly arid, flat landscape dotted with scrubby trees, the Atlas mountains rising up in the distance. There are numerous part-started developments for resorts and housing estates, all semi-abandoned. Everything is terracotta or ochre coloured, all building are square and angular. After an hour or so we start to climb and twist our way up the road. It starts to rain a little and the wind is really strong. ... read more
Telouet kasbah
Audience hall at Telouet kasbah
Entrance doors, Telouet kasbah

Cancer and Covid have conspired to keep us from foreign travel for four years, so it’s a joy to finally take a proper trip. We have a smooth flight from Gatwick to Marrakech, arriving an hour early. The plane crew mostly look like they’re on work experience – is this a sign of us getting old? The first officer in particular was struggling with his announcements, telling us first that Morocco was an hour behind the UK, then that it was an hour ahead and finally, with a degree of embarrassment, that it was the same time zone as the UK. Meanwhile the young stewardess was struggling to remember what destination we were travelling to! We were quickly at our hotel, a pleasant riad whose one downside was its extremely close proximity to one of the ... read more

Africa » Morocco February 15th 2019

We’re jolted from deep sleep by the 6.45 call to prayer from the muezzin who sounds as if he’s standing at the foot of our bed with a loudspeaker. But we manage - miraculously – to go back to sleep before enjoying the best breakfast of the holiday. Everything is homemade, even the jam, and there is enough food to feed a small army. Yogurt, apple compote, omelette, French crepes, Maroccan pancakes, bread and cake. We overeat! It’s time to walk off some of the breakfast. The Portuguese quarter is only five minutes away. It was once a small island, but the landward side silted up so it’s now a small promontory. It has thick ramparts which we walk along, enjoying bright sunshine and good views. Within five minutes we’ve taken off our sweaters, which is ... read more
Portuguese ramparts, El Jadida
Portuguese water cistern, El Jadida
Jewish cemetery, El Jadida

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat February 14th 2019

Sara's knee swelled up nicely yesterday due to the serious amount of walking we did. We were going to visit the Musee Archaeologique but some more research reveals it is underwhelming and not worth the effort of getting there. We decide to go out of the medina and venture south into the ville nouvelle, built by the French during their occupation from 1912 to 1956. We negotiate our way through the medina much better this morning. The streets are less crowded as most of the shops and stalls have yet to open. Only the little corner shops selling the ubiquitous small single portion loaves and the juice and sandwich shops are open, and a few stalls selling fruit and veg. Parents are hauling small children to school, and the beggars are already out. The ville nouvelle ... read more
A grey day in the French quarter in Rabat
Andalusian garden in the Kasbah
Kasbah in Rabat

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat February 12th 2019

We enjoy the best breakfast of the holiday in the riad. Freshly cooked, piping hot pancakes, a perfect omelette, bread, yogurt, fresh fruit and even a bowl of tiny strawberries, halved and macerated in a little sugar. Madame who is in charge is French, so that is probably why. Thus refreshed we set off to visit the Bou Inania Medersa (what they call a madrassa in Morocco). Despite being listed as opening at 9.00, it’s closed when we arrive. The cleaning lady tells us it opens at 10.00 so we decide to walk back to the main square, confident we now know the route. However, the souks are entirely different this early. None of the shops have opened, so instead of navigating our way down incredibly narrow passages between the shops selling young men’s fashion, and ... read more
Bou Inania medresa, Meknes
Heri es-Souani, Meknes
Chellah necropolis, Rabat

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