Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Morocco: The Atlas Mountains

Morocco might make my top five list of favorite countries to visit for the simple fact that it is absolutely beautiful in it's biodiversity and character. The food is pretty good too. It is certainly a top five now, but there is still a lot left of the world to travel!

The first two days of our visit were only marred by the loss of our baggage and the thought of having to wear the same outfit for another two days. Once we were headed out to the mountains however, that seemed to fade away.

I signed The American and I up for two day trips from Marrakesh with Atlas and Sahara Tours to travel into the mountains.  We toyed with the idea of renting a car, but were advised against it by a few others who had traveled there, citing poor roads and dangerous drivers. We absolutely made the right choice in choosing a tour company - they were not kidding about the roads - scary. The tour company was great! They did a fantastic job ensuring that we were enjoying our time.

The SUV purred through the flat lands towards the mountains in the distance with Arabic music playing lightly in the background. Sooner than I could have imagined we arrived at the Atlas Mountain Range, and started our drive to the other side.

 I have never heard the American and I so silent. The sound of it was astounding. 

Our guide asked us many times if we were alright - all we could say was yes. Words were too much to express what I was feeling driving through the mountains. 
I know what mountains look like, I grew up near the Rocky Mountains, but for what ever reason this particular range took my breath away. We were simply awestruck.



Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting the zebra like stripes of snow and dirt, or the crystal clear sky line. 

As we drove to the highest pass, we passed many cactuses (or so I thought they were, apparently they are fig plants) popping out of the snow. I was astounded at the juxtaposition. I just could not wrap my head around it. It was beautiful.

We slowly made out descent to the ancient village of Ait Ben Haddou - a casbah of old where many popular tv shows and movies featuring desert landscape are filmed. It is absolutely pristine in its architectural design, and it very cool to see. It was also the first town to use irrigation in North Africa.

It is a MUST DO trip! In only a few short hours you drive through three different geographical landscapes, and ezperience countless beautiful moments.