Yesterday we arrived at last in Tafraoute, a desert oasis village in the southern Anti Atlas Mountains. Reading the guidebooks and hearing about other peoples’ opinion of this area made me really want to come here to experience it for ourselves.
Scenery en route from Tiznit to Tafraoute
We Left Plage Blanche on Sunday and drove through Guelmim and up the N1 to Tiznit, a different route to the one we took from Tiznit last week. It was a much better road and a very pleasant drive over a mountain pass or two and through interesting scenery.
We thought that Guelmim was a much nicer and livelier town than we were imagining from the description of it in the rough guide. It looks to have benefitted from some money recently, it was teeming with life and the roads had been or were being upgraded. Next time we plan to spend more time here but as the rough guide and the lonely planet guide suggest driving straight through and we had a long journey ahead to reach Tiznit, that is what we did.
It was slightly sobering thought to realise that we are now technically on our way home! At the campsite we met the couple who got stuck in the sand again!
In the jewellery shop in Tiznit
At Tiznit we stopped near the town walls and did a bit of shopping in the little supermarket, we had hoped to camp overnight in the campsite right in the town but it was full so we went to the one a bit further away intending to register to make sure we got in and then come back to look around the medina but by the time we got there we decided to stay put and go back in the morning.
Huge litter problem, such a pity but slightly less than in the north
Pathetic creature, felt so sorry for him!
Meanwhile, it was time to recharge the dongle. We had bought a recharging card with the dongle last month in Marrakech in case we were in the middle of nowhere when it was time to do so, only it wouldn’t work! So we used the campsite wifi to see if there was a Maroc telecom shop in town where we could go for help. There was! So the next morning we drove back into Tiznit and found the shop. It was heaving! They had a numbered ticket serving system (like the deli counter in Asda!) we were number 225, currently serving number 201! We were in for a long wait. Anyway, eventually we were seen and to cut a very long story short, we were told that we should not have bought the card as they seldom work and are subject to fraud. Better to go to a teleboutique and ask them to upload more credit directly for us. So that’s what we had to do and hey presto, internet till the end of February. We then had our lunch and a look around the medina, Tiznit is a centre for silversmithing and Nigel bought me a matching bracelet and necklace as a memento of our trip and also to celebrate the 41st anniversary of our meeting in 1972, which just happens to be today! We met at The Crown Pub in Horwich at the Monday night folk club (7.30p.m.) while I was on my final teaching practice.
Necklace and bracelet
The drive to Tafraoute was another very scenic one over mountain passes and reasonable roads. The guidebook said we may encounter children with ground squirrels on a piece of string trying to sell them for the pot! We didn’t. But we did see one of the little critters scurrying across the road.
We arrived on Tuesday and are in a little campsite called Granite Rose. When the evening light gets low it is easy to see why it was named, the town is in a bowl surrounded by high granite cliffs which change from ochre to pink to deep red during the evening….stunning. We looked around the town yesterday and established that there are a number of 4 x 4 trip opportunities which we intend to take advantage of. Also Nigel is keen to ride his bike and do some walking here but as we are here for a week or so we are not rushing about trying to fit everything in….it’s too hot for that!