Todra Gorge and beyond
This morning I woke early, packed up my gear then spent some time waiting at the locked gate to escape the campsite. In the end I went looking for the owner and he finally let me out.
i rode to the nearest town and picked up some fuel and local money the backtracked to find the entrance to Todra Gorge, this place is amazing but it was full of tourists, busses, stalls selling the usual tat and people paddling in the river, I rode through the first bit, the bit that is arguably the most impressive, and parked up at the other, less busy end. Check out the photo!
anyway, my plan was to continue on through the Gorge and to my surprise the first bit was the only busy part. Almost as soon as I exited the tourist bit there was no one around, I rode on through almost as impressive surroundings in solitude. Funny thing is that coaches would have struggled to get much further.
As the Gorge continued the road surface got worse and often became a gravel road as the surface had deteriorated and the tarmac was gone.
My plan was to ride up the Todra and down the Dades Gorge which would put me back on the main road in several hours time. Anyway as I ventured further and further into the High Atlas I loved it more and more. I stopped to while away a little time watching farm workers tend the small fields adjacent to the river, their crops appear to do well on this fertile soil and apart from the very occasional tractor, most of the work is done by hand, the products of their labour ferried home on the backs of their donkeys. I could see that some were carrying a heavy load and wondered what was going through their minds?
Back on the bike and venturing deeper into the mountains I frequently pulled out the paper map to get an idea of perspective, this is a vast expanse of land with few people living here, most of the land of course is of little use but to live within this beautiful landscape must have its charm. I expect that in winter I might see it in a different light?
i passed many settlement both large and small the only thing distinguishing them from the earth around being the straight lines of their construction and the black rectangular windows. I imagined that given a hundred years with no reparations they would become earth once again. Many buildings were in disrepair and large old holdings were crumbling back to nature.
many school children want to ‘high five’ I resisted temptation for some time as I rode through isolated villages then suddenly I decided to give it a go. I put up my hand as I rode past and they go for it, a full on slap at 20mph is something I won’t forget, they put everything into each and every interaction, it didn’t take me long to revert back to refusal…
I reached the northern end of the road and broke out the map. Pondering the return, or onward route. There were several options and I chose one local road to head basically South West in the direction of Marrakesh, I wouldn’t make it there tonight but it is on route. As I entered the local road it was gravel and dust, the first section was around 25 miles winding through the mountains.
This road did not disappoint, I was having an absolute ball and rode along with very little other traffic.
It always amazes me that as I travel around in various places around the world that other cultures seem to make a better job of maintaining their road systems than we do in the UK, they almost never even close the road whilst performing repairs!
I chose a destination and arrived then changed my mind, three times to be honest!
In the end I chose a place about 170kms west of Marrakesh near some waterfalls, probably going to have people there so I may or may not go and have a look?
Im staying in an Auberge Zebra Campsite which is a lovely place with excellent food too. I was going to camp but they had a room and I liked the look of it, it’s made of earth with a rammed earth floor too, much the same as the ones I have been seeing all day so I dug a little deeper and treated myself.