Day 4 -Zagora to Tata across the edge of the Sahara desert

We set off early again today to drive across the wilderness to Tata. It was a very strange and interestings experience being such a small part of a very large landscape.

This day really showed off the enormous skill of our 3 drivers. There is no road as such - only a selection of wheel tracks where other vehicles have gone before. Knowing which one has the firmest surface, and knowing what to do if the vehicle hits a patch of very loose sand, is an area where it helps to have a lot of experience!

We were surprised by how many different kinds of desert there were, some with lots of losse stones and very little vegetation, other parts with fewer stones and some tussocks of vegetation, and sometimes full-blown sand dunes. It became easier to see how the edge of the desert is not a fixed line, but a gradual change, which can change according to the recent past climatic history. At the time we did our trip, many parts of Morocco had not had any significant rain for 3 years!

You can imagine what a relief it was to get back on to a tarmac road in the afternoon, and the enormous surprise to discover a waterfall soon afterwards. This was quite a long day, and we were very glad to find a comfortable hotel with a very substantial evening meal at the end of it .

Loading up at Zagora 7.30 am

We only went to buy postcards

. …and we ended up with Berber scarves

Starting off across the desert road

Distant Berbers

Thorn bush - life is tough in the desert

We had a 20- had minute walk

to get a better appreciation of the desert

The road is often ill-defined

though there are occasional buildings

2nd rest stop at 10.30 am

The road ahead

Ladies comfort station - desert style

Katie and the big map

Scheduled bus services even in the desert

A different kind of emptiness

with distant views of the Anti-Atlas

Pipes for a bridge across a flood-water river

2nd rest stop at 11.30

by these magnificaent dunes

Our distant vehicles

Demonstration of sand flow from the crest of the dune

A flower in the desert

Group photo

We are here (in the middle of nowhere!)

The grand arbre!" - the biggest tree for miles

and time for our lunch stop at 1.45

A market garden irrigated from ground water

Saharan ants make interesting patterns

Water tank in the desert

Palmery suffering from the 3-year drought

Cloudscape - we were glad it wasn't any hotter

Back on a tarmac road after 7 hours

and a stop for tea

Formal phtograph of cafe owner

On to the waterfalls (!) at Tissint - with plenty of goats

Two gourds clinging to life on the rocks

Panorama with 3 following pictures

with the old village

on the other side of the river

Gathering dush

Sunset - and still on the road

Briefing in the lobby at Tata 6 pm

Spacious corridor

leading to rather small (though quite adequate) rooms

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