Morocco revisited

  • A typical view on the way from Ouarzazate to Merzouga - rocks, scarce vegetation and mountains on the horizon.
  • Palm leaves are harvested to make biodegradable goods, such as woven baskets, hand brooms, etc.
  • This was the only littered place (to my surprise) on the way from Marrakech to Merzouga. I expected something similar to what I saw in Jordan but I was pleasantly surprised.
  • A view on Erg Chebbi near Merzouga. Ergs are large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand and there are several of them in Morocco.
  • Climbing dunes takes some effort - it's like walking uphill in deep snow!
  • One of the camel highways, as I called them, at sunset.
  • Erg Chebbi at sunset.
  • Where there is will...
  • Camel enjoying a break.
  • Random items in the Nomad Camp near Erg Chebbi.
  • A pile of ash, cans and plastics - not as common sight here as on Wadi Rum in Jordan.
  • Vegetation is gathered for sheep.
  • Remainder of a shepherd's campfire.
  • Nomad cemetery.
  • A woman in the Nomad camp. The clay oven is used to bake delicious Moroccan bread called khobz.
  • In the desert it is easy to see where the rainwater from the hills flows.
  • M'ifis - or Ghost Town - is a former French mining town where kohl an quartz were mined. It was abandoned when France relinquished its protectorate in Morocco in 1956.
  • View from the hilltop in M'ifis towards Algeria some 30km further to the East.
  • A view on hamada (rocky desert) from the plateau near M'ifis.
  • This facility was supposedly used to wash minerals and fossils.
  • Another view towards Algeria.
  • Even in M'ifis, a totally desolate place, there are a few locals selling souvenirs - fossils, minerals and handmade jewellery.
  • A view towards Erg Chebbi.
  • Scarce vegetation draws attention from far away.
  • Amazigh seem to love music - contrary to common opinion, we heard them play and sing for their own entertainment, not for tourists.
  • An entry to a typical tourist camp in Erg Chebbi - fear not, westerner, you'll find here electricity, toilet and shower - cables run from solar panels installed around the camps, and the water is pumped from a nearby well.
  • Despite some light pollution from Merzouga, the night sky looks marvellous. If only human eye could see all the stars a camera captures in a picture...
  • On the way back to Ouarzazate.
  • Ornamental door in Aït Benhaddou.
  • Morocco's landscapes were surprisingly colourful.
  • Magnificent Atlas Mountains.
  • The most photographed window in Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.

This was my second visit to Morocco. It started in Marrakech, from where we drove to Merzouga to spend a couple of days on Erg Chebbi dunes and visit the M’ifis Ghost Town where the French used to mine minerals. In the desert we learned a little about the Berbers – or Amazigh (free people) as they call themselves – very warm and friendly, but also proud and independent people.
Lucky to be there outside of the tourist season, we could experience the tranquillity of the desert, and only sometimes pretend not to hear the revving engines of quads at sunset, or not to see the light pollution from Merzouga gluttonously devouring Milky Way from the night sky.


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