This two week holiday was one big adventure, the highlight for me being that we travelled in 4 x 4s throughout. This meant, of course, that apart from our drives out to two different parts of the Sahara Desert, we were able to drive along “pistes” (unmade roads) in the High Atlas Mountains, which allowed us to see some truly magnificent scenery.
Our first piste adventure came on Day 5 when we were staying in Tinghir. It was an overcast day and a little cold – ideal for going on a driving adventure. We left the hotel at about 8 in the morning and drove through the Todra Gorge to Toumliline where we stopped for a mint tea at a delightful auberge hung with rugs and decorated with all sorts of Moroccan craft ware. Once back on the road, it wasn’t long before we turned onto quite a rough, rocky piste, which was the start of a 40 km drive to Agoudal. Shortly after this it began to rain and hail, and the vehicles started to have difficulty negotiating the fairly steep, muddy hills. Off came our sandals and on went the boots so that we could get out and not push, but walk to help the drivers – out also came fleeces, waterproofs etc to protect us from the wind and rain.
All this was very worthwhile because ahead of us lay 40 km of stunning scenery, complete with snow on the high peaks, all the way to the small town of Agoudal. Every corner we turned it seemed that new, amazing scenery lay before us.
Eventually, after a long, rough, exciting drive, we dropped down to Agoudal on the outskirts of which was a gite with a Berber tent out at the front. Our local guide went to negotiate lunch, which he did successfully, and some time later we were sitting snugly inside the auberge sharing a delicious Berber omelette, Moroccan salad and the ubiquitous moist, chewy flat bread.After lunch we drove south to Tilmi, and then down into the Dades Gorge stopping in various places to take photos and sip mint tea. One of these stops was at a welcoming auberge at Ait Touksine where there was a huge fire in the corner of the dining room – a great opportunity to warm ourselves up! It was many hours, several mint teas and much fabulous scenery later that we returned, exhilarated and tired, to our hotel.