The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dades Gorge


As we leave our new found Venetian friends we are headed for Dades Gorge about 300 kms away. As we ride we continue to be amazed at the tough conditions that the Berbers of the south endure mostly by their own choice we believe.

First out in the near Sahara desert are some camel herders, 
Camels herded
and we continue to see them high up in the mountain range around there. It’s like we are riding through a movie set Sandra remarks. Tinedad, Tinghr come and go and we are arriving at Boulamane which is where we turn up into Dades gorge, pronounced dah… deh.. sh   

On our way we stop for an orange break, a wonderful way to get hydrated as the oranges here in Morocco are the best. We buy 2 oranges for 50 dirham ( 60 cents) and walk back to our bike to eat them. The shop keeper calls to us to come back to sit and offers his chair. We decline and he becomes more persistent, and then goes out of sight and brings back 2 chairs and a table for us to sit at, and finally when I look to discard the peels he takes them and brings back water for me to rinse my hands with.  When Mark Antoine said there were highs and lows to Morocco he was right and this was such a nice gesture.

We then head up Dades gorge and begin to shoot video, but unfortunately it begins to rain so we didn’t take pictures or great video until we are leaving.

Caves across the road from the hotel

Caves on other side of river
The place we stay at is Hotel Berber de la Montagne, a berber place in the High Altas mountains. The young fellow who helps us speaks some good English and is a 34 yr old berber. As we finish supper he comes back and we talk. We compliment him on his English and find out he speaks 5 languages a bit, all learned at the hotel from guests like us, and with absolutely no schooling. He can not read or write, we have to fill in the register ourselves. He is 1 of 9 in a family. His family still lives in the caves a 13 hr walk from where we are right now, high up in the mountains. His father is 80 years old and still works. He has 4 brothers and 4 sisters who all still live and garden off the land high up in the mountains. You can see he regrets that he has had no schooling and now it is available. Another incredible learning for us. Language skills are so important and learning can happen anywhere not just in formal environments.

Gorge with a berber setting up shop in the morning
In the morning we are just north of the actual narrowing of the gorge and it had rained after we had arrived.

As we leave it becomes evident that the road in had flooded overnight and was covered with a slick mud as were leaving.

The video footage I have shot of this area is gorgeous and here are some of the pics.
Just one of Many castles in the gorge

The switchbacks to get back into where we were
We finish the day by heading through the High Altas mountains to Marrakesh. More video shot. This is an unbelievable ride and I am so tired by the end, switchback after switchback.

You have to watch every corner as it has sand, or even oil in it, and there are overloaded trucks, trucks with cattle stacked in racks 2 high on them REALLY!

We are now in Marrakesh and taking a break for a day.

No comments: