MULES IN MOROCCAN MOUNTAINS

Chalid leads the way...though I'm ahead of him on this occasion.

Khalid leads the way…though I’m ahead of him on this occasion.

“One of the world’s most famous places that nobody knows about,” says my Dutch hiking friend Bert.

We’re perched on a ridge above a wild canyon that drops several hundred metres to a dry river bed. My stomach is dropping with it; heights are not my strong suit. Away to our right is a patch of bright green, surrounded by clay houses camouflaging themselves by matching the ochre of the surrounding hills.

It is an amazing sight, and we have it all to ourselves. We don’t even know the name of the canyon or the village.

Is there anywhere else in the world to compare to this?

Is there anywhere else in the world anything like this?

That’s the appeal. Spectacular though it is, few people visit this part of Morocco, a six hour drive from Marrakesh. At the height of the trekking season we’ve met only one other group on our five-day adventure. For a combination of scenery, exotic culture and a sense of adventure, this trek in Morocco’s Ouarzazate region is as wild as anything I’ve ever done.

The full story on this blog will have to wait until I’ve made proper efforts to sell it. Meanwhile, here’s an assortment of pictures to whet your appetite. It was hard to choose!

We don't expect a short, low bridge like this to present any danger. But a moment after this shot was taken, three of our number were floundering in the fast-flowing water and it took desperate efforts to get them to safety.  It could have ended very badly indeed.

We don’t expect a short, low bridge like this to present any danger. It’s made for local people to skip lightly across the water, not for clumsy hikers. A moment after this shot was taken, three of our number were floundering in the fast-flowing river and it took desperate efforts to get them to safety. It could have ended very badly indeed.

I'm taking a mule train with me on all my adventures from now on.

I’m taking a mule train with me on all my adventures from now on. They carry the tents, food, cooking gear and our backpacks, leaving us with only water and cameras to lug along.

The local Berber people are shy and wary of us. Most  really dislike being photographed, so I tried to be discreet.

The local Berber people are shy and wary of us. Most really dislike being photographed, so I tried to be discreet.

There's no shyness about Youssef. He's our cook, musician and all-round entertainer.

There’s no such shyness about Youssef. He’s our cook, musician and all-round entertainer.

Lunch - just the sort of fresh food we need after hours in the sun. Thanks, Youssef!

Lunch – just the sort of fresh food we need after hours in the sun. Thanks, Youssef!

Walking days are long (6-8 hours), with some climbing over 2500metres. It's cooler and windier up there, which is a relief.

Walking days are long (6-8 hours), with some climbs over 2500metres. It’s cooler and windier up there, which is a relief.

I'd expected hot, dry, dusty terrain. What I hadn't expected were the bright greens wherever there ws enough ager to grow crops.

I’d expected hot, dry, dusty terrain. What I hadn’t expected were the bright greens wherever there’s enough water to grow crops.

Our mules passing the caves in which goat herders live. 'Mediaeval', says someone. 'Biblical' says someone else, and that seems more accurate.

Our mules passing the caves in which goat herders live. ‘Mediaeval’, says someone. ‘Biblical’ says someone else, and that seems more accurate.

A dry gorge is spectacular...

A dry gorge is spectacular…

...a gorge with water slosh through is even better.

…a gorge with cool water to slosh through is even better.

Coming down after a stiff, hot climb.

Coming down after a stiff, hot climb.

The team at the end of the trek - all happy.

The team at the end of the trek – all happy.

The trek was organised through Kasbah Itran. To visit their website for more information CLICK HERE.

10 Comments

Filed under Hiking

10 responses to “MULES IN MOROCCAN MOUNTAINS

  1. Spectacular scenery… thank you for a wonderful series of photos, Richard. I hope you’ll be able to post the full story after you’ve sold it and it has been published? 🙂 The bridge incident must have been scary! That plate of lunch – oooh, yummy, now that looks like a great blend of textures and flavours.

  2. Angela Highstead

    Wot an adventure Richard. Wonderful photos. Eight hours trekking in the sun-wonder-man. I’m patting reindeer North of the Arctic circle at the ‘mo’. Different sort of adventure!

  3. I remember a bridge similar to that one when I visited the Atlas Mountains. The European H&S executive certainly wouldn’t have approved.
    Great photos!

    • Indeed Andrew, we had a few of these bridges to cross. No warning signs, no handrails, no local authority to sue for negligence.

      It seems the Berbers have no problem with them, even little children and women carrying absurdly huge loads on their backs.

  4. It looks great, but hot. I’d like a mule train too!

  5. Pingback: KASBAHS – stay in one before it melts | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  6. Gre

    Mooi verslag Richard!
    Jammer dat ik uitgeschakeld was.
    Gre

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