Epic Road Trip To Morocco Desert


Two days in Marrakech town had some great experiences and fun with other travellers. My second wish was to hit the desert.

Before getting to Morocco I knew that if I was visiting it I would be visiting the Sahara Desert as well. I mean I normally do not schedule a definite travel route while backpacking just in case I like a place so much and would like to stay longer and explore a bit more. But really who could visit Morocco and not visit the desert? It’s funny though I didn’t prepare or do any research about it. I simply joined the 3 Days 2 Nights Atlas to Sahara road trip to the desert.

The following day I went on to the minivan, I was kind of sad to leave the hostel and other lovely travellers who I just met.

Three Dutch, a Melburnian couple, our Moroccan tour guide and navigator, they were my new friends we all met in the bus. It was odd at first as I was the only one travel alone. By the end of the trip, I would have to say it was painful to say goodbye to them!! I cannot describe the awesomeness experience it was with strangers!

Let The Roadtrip Begin!

 

 

Day 1

Part 1: Atlas to Desert

Leaving from Marrakesh at 7am we travel towards Ouarzazate, driving across the Atlas Mountains. The Atlas Mountains provide a route between the coast and the Sahara Desert.

 


cobalt blue a very signature color all over Morocco

 

 

 


across the magnificence of the Atlas Mountains

 

 

 


driving through some 200km mountains

 

 

The sun was hot in early morning, and I shifted uncomfortably through driving and turnings. After 2 hours drive and turn, I had motion sickness. Yeah! I was only at the start of the 3 days trip.

A short stop for breakfast didn’t help get rid of my dizziness and nausea. I changed to the front seat sitting next to Mr Guide. To counter the rays of sun that pour in through the windows, I opened the side window. Breath of fresh air helps all.

 

 

 

Part 2: Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah

After 4 hours drive, our first big stop was in Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah. In my older post, it is a 16th century fortified village and a UNESCO world heritage site. You can really feel like you have travelled to the past, no wonder this place is the top film shooting location.

 


a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture

 

 

 


beautiful character

 

 

 


the pattern

 

 

 


earthy yellow colour

 

 

To reach the fortified village, it is necessary to cross the river using the stepping stones.

 


the river is dry in dry season

 

 

 


stepping stone

 

 

 


earth and clay brick buildings climbing up the hill

 

 

 


climbing up and getting down hill

 

 

It kind of reminded me of that series on Grand Design that one of the owner applied Moroccan earth and clay brick technique designed for his new home. The new house was gorgeously built and very eco-environmental.

 


now and then

 

 

 

Part 3: On the road – Through the window

On the road to Dades Gorges, I saw beautiful landscapes and many authentic and modern Berber villages. Though the dry climate making people difficult to live, the high and middle atlas slopes have dense forests containing pine and oak trees. There are many fertile valleys where livestock can feed. 

 


Hollywood in Arabic writing? Could someone tell me what does it mean ? 😉

 

 

 


busy on something dudes?

 

 

 


Mr Navigator

 

 

 


endless

 

 
I couldn’t stop taking pictures through the window.

 


the desert is so huge

 

 

 


water streams from underground

 

 

Driving through mountains where I saw beautiful landscapes and many authentic Berber villages. I have the best visual view in the front seat. By this point I’ve forgotten the unpleasant beats on my head.

 


rocky landscapes : 1

 

 

 


passing by a small town through Merzouga

 

 

 


walking to work ladies ?

 

 

 


just walking the camels

 

 

 


where are you going fellows ?

 

 

 


bye now

 

 

 

Part 4: Still on the road – Dades Gorges

 


the human creation

 

 

 


beautiful oasis surrounding the town

 

 

 


glistening green fields

 

 

 


dense forests in the atlas slopes

 

 

 


rich vegetation 

 

 

 


rocky landscapes : 2

 

 

 


little Mohammad with grandma

 

 

 


spending the night in a delightful hotel near the gorges

 

 

 


lovely lighting

 

 

 

Day 2

Part 5: Todgha valley and gores

Second day after breakfast, we visited Todgha valleys.

 


driving through the valley

 

 

 


stunning rocky landscape : 3

 

 

 


don’t be shy Mr Guide, we know you want a swim

 

 

 


cosy hotel in the valley

 

 

 


hello babe you are such a cutie

 

 

 


what a beautiful day crossing the valley

 

 

 


yellow earth the protection colour

 

 

 

Part 6: Towards Merzouga, the gate to the dunes

 


aromatic moroccan food: Tagine for lunch

 

 

 


a road in the desert

 

 

 


waiting…camel crossing……

 

 

 


no fun without few drinks for sure – the liquor shop in the last post World Map

 

 

 


which hotel ? well none of the above..

 

 
The multi day road trip into the Sahara from Marrakech was authentic. After one and a half day drive, we finally arrived the gate to the dunes Merzouga in Day 2 afternoon. The epic journey ends in the Merzouga desert but it didn’t mean the entire sahara journey ended here.

 
~~~
 

As I have mentioned at the beginning of the post, I got pretty bad motion sickness on the bus. It’s not nice to get sick while travelling. How to get rid of motion sickness and without any medicine with you? One of the best things, which you can do to get rid of motion sickness, is to look far and horizon level outside the car, plane, train, bus, boat, or get fresh air until you feel better and comfortable. If you feel like you’re going to throw up, do so, rather than keep into it.

 

I’ll see you on my second half of the epic journey Desert sunset in the next post. 😉

 

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Posted on 10/08/2012, in 'Travel, Moroccan, Photograpy, Travel Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Noé WETTERWALD

    Hello,
    I am a student in a French engineering school, ECAM Rennes. Seven friends (ou colleagues) and me are planning to organize a road trip in four wheel drive in association with our school in the desert of Sahara, with a humanitarian goal. We do not have this kind of experience, so we need solid arguments to submit a file to the school. So we are looking for people who could help us, giving advice about which car to choose and how to prepare it to a road trip in the desert. Could you give us some indication about the way to follow ? For the moment, we choose a defender 110. But we don’t know which cars parts we need to add.
    Indeed, we are looking for people who could help us, give us some advice about which car to choose and how to best prepare it to a road trip in the desert.

    thank you beforehand,
    bests regards,

    the road trip ECAM team.

  2. Great photos the colours are amazing

  3. kieranmaynard

    Love the photos! I can’t read the Arabic, but I was taught many of the writings on the mountains say Allah, Al Malik, Al Watan or “God, King, and Country.” I remember half of Ait Ben Haddou was actually built for a movie set, but looks like you photographed the old half! 🙂

    • Sweet!!! Thanks Kieran for answering my query.

      After some google search, yes the Hill of Three words is a Motto: الله، الوطن، الملك in Arabic, Transliteration: Allah, Al-Watan, Al-Malek and Translation: “God, Country, The King.

  4. beautiful photos…

    i came to read somewhere that our eyes/perception will find a natural contrast if the frame contains blue and yellow/brown/earthy color together – a seemingly trivial observation in desert photos …but it explains the appeal 🙂

    • True Abu! Our eyes are drawn to colours, particularly natural contrast are more attractive. With many landscapes, having good natural lighting can even be more important than the choice of subject itself.

      See you on my second half of the desert sunset post. 🙂

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