In the summer of 2012, I planned on going on holiday with a group of friends to Malta which is a country that I will love to visit in this lifetime. However, those plans fell through. Still bent on going somewhere on vacation, I and the only other friend who shared my enthusiasm decided to brave travelling to Morocco together. It wasn’t a difficult decision because she had been to the country the previous year to work for a charity and had said so many wonderful things about her experience that I also wanted to see it for myself. See my first post about the start of my trip and my itinerary here.
The journey to the sahara desert started at the break of dawn. We had arranged for a personal tour guide to take us through Ouarzazate and Zagora before riding on a camel to the desert in time for sunset. We used Authentic Tours Marrakech and it was worth every penny. For a full description of where we visited for the 2 days and 1 night in the desert, see end of post. I hope the information helps anyone planning to make a similar trip come to a decision 🙂
The scenery to our destination was spectacular.
We also got the chance to visit the location and set where series like The Games of Thrones has been filmed.
We also had several stops to refresh and get lunch. Moroccan cuisine is just divine.
It was boiling hot and I must confess, I moaned about it a LOT! But can you blame me? An ice bucket challenge right then would have been great!
When we finally got to the point where we would get on the camels to take us to where we’ll be camped in the desert, we temporarily said goodbye to our wonderful tour guide and rode on along with the Berber men leading the camels. Yes, I had a Samantha(Sex & City) moment 🙂
That night in the desert, we had a lovely tagine meal made by our hosts. Then camped by a fire and watched the stars. It was truly a beautiful experience.
The next day, we got up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise over the hills and it was truly a sight to behold.
On our journey back we stopped at a little village community where the Gladiators movie was filmed. If you’re a Gladiators fan like I am, then you can imagine the delight I had at being able to see the actual set for myself. It felt surreal to be standing there and looking down at the pit where the infamous matches between the gladiators and the wild beasts were filmed.
As per before, I enjoyed the experience but the crazy hot temperature had me moaning :’) I even poured water down my head and top to keep me cool, but guess what? It dried off before I could even say Maximus!
We finally got back to Marrakech in the evening and bade a final farewell to our tour guide who has been on the set of various movies featuring the likes of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
Oh and did you know that in the Sex and the City movie where they travelled to Abu Dhabi was actually shot in Morocco? Yep, totally was.
The last post in this series will be my drive to the beachy town of Essaouira.
Photo Credit- Sewafolie
Day 1. Taking the road to cross the High Atlas mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka pass toward Ait Benhaddou, the fortified ksaw with its beautiful kasbahs. Ait Benhaddou has served as a natural decoration for many movies since the 1960s. Once you get to Ait Benhaddou, you take a walk to go on the top of the hill for a beautiful view. Afterwards, you will head to Ouarzazate for lunch next to the famous Kasbah of Taourirt. After lunch you will travel to the south and cross the second pass which is Tizi n’Tnifift at 1710m height and Ait Saoun village. You will reach the Draa Valley, with its 6 palm groves and kasbahs including the famous Tamnougalt Kasbah. You will continue to Zagora. You will take a camel trek, ride the camels by sunset and get to our camp located in an oasis called Nekhla and enjoy a dinner and overnight in the tents.
Day 2. Awake early to see the sunrise over the duner, followed by a typical breakfast in the bivouac of Zagora, then ride the camels back to meet your driver, then drive back to Marrakech. You will pass via Ouarzazate and have free time for lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will continue via the Atlas mountains to get to Marrakech.