Day 2 - Marrakesh to Zagora through the Atlas Mountains

We left Marrakesh early, and set out for the drive south-east over the High Atlas (see map. The countryside started off with quite a lot of green patches and trees lining the road, but quickly got more rugged, with gaunt hillsides and deep ravines. We climbed up to the Tizi'n'tichka pass, the highest road in Morocco. We had a number of small stops for pictures, mint tea and so on. The first major stop was the Kasbah (castle) of Telouet, which was the main power centre of the Glaoui family, who were the main Lords of the Atlas. Their history is described vividly in the book of that name by Gavin Maxwell, who grew up in Morocco - it is well worth reading before you go to get you into the atmosphere of pre-independence Morocco.


Tiles on the main staircase of the Hotel Ali

View of the Demma El Fna Square in the early morning - this is where it all happens!

The terrace at the Hotel Ali - a grey day but good for travelling.

View from our bedroom at dawn

Street scene - donkey, motorbike and palms

Loading up the 4 x 4s (Land Rover Defenders). They were excellent at coping with a wide variety of conditions from soft sand in the desert to very steep dirt roads in the mountains. All the luggage goes on the roof of one vehicle, which accounts for the 12 kg. per person limit on luggage weight

Near Marrakesh there are trees by the road

- and quite a lot of green areas either side





Photostop an hour and a bit out



Tour leader providing some orientation - none of us have much idea of the geography of Morocco



Terracing on a hillside

Street scene in Taddert where we stopped for coffee or mint tea







A heavily laden lorry starting off from Taddert



A fence made from local materials


Watertank on the hillside

feeding the village through overhead water pipes











First view of Telouet from dirt road

The Kasbah at Telouet

the origins of the Glaoua ascendancy

the main door

The Salle des Tribunales

One part of the kasbah. dating from the 1940s, is still in a reasonable state of preservation

View from the main rooms, with ironwork

Carving

Fine plasterwork

One panel for each of the ladies of the harem

in the ladies' quarters


More inronwork


Elegant marble flooring, leading to the window in the thrid row above


Most of the rest of the kasbah is closed off

and gently decaying

and some is actually falling in

View from the roof



Display of ammonites by the roadside

and local pottery

Back to the main road again

Lunch stop at Hotel Piscine la Vallee

in Ouarzazate



The pool - but no time for a swim

Off again to the next kasbah











a rare patch of green

first view of the kasbah atTamnougalt

built out of huge mud blocks







Abdul kindly invited us into his house for mint tea

which has to be poured from a great height

followed by a walk round the village



note the size of the mud blocks. They are made in situe with removable shuttering

held together by stakes through the holes you can see

and you can build huge structures with them

which last for centuries if well maintained

Doorways in the village





Sunset as we leave to drive down the Draa valley

for a late swim

and supper in the hotel at Zagora


Our bedroom




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