Marrakech and the desert

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - Western Sahara - added by Roxy

From Essaouira we moved inland to Marrakech. What an incredible city! The main square is like something out of the middle ages, complete with snake charmers, fortune tellers and other assorted crazies attempting to catch your attention. The first night we spent in a parking lot right next to the main square, which allowed us to be right in amongst the action! We had a fantastic night, feeling really immersed in Moroccan culture, more so than ever before in the trip... although we refrained from taking up the offer of a new set of teeth... complete with the previous owners' cavities!

The following day was spent attempting to get final things done before crossing the Atlas Mountains and heading into the Sahara Desert proper. Steve's list of admin tasks contained finding a few jerrycans, as he's worried the longest stretch in Mauritania between petrol stations will be too much for Songololo's two tanks to handle, while Martin wanted to find a solar panel to keep his batteries topped up. As luck would have it, Mustafa came round trying to sell us stickers and t-shirts. We asked him if he knew where we could find such kit, and of course he did; he offered to take us right there. (You know what's coming next!) Mustafa and Steve crammed into the passenger seat and Martin drove them around on a 3 hour wild goose chase, zigzagging across Marrakech in seemingly random directions, getting more tired and more frustrated with Mustafa's blatant lies. Oh we are still so naive ... when will we wise up to the ways of Africa? Naturally we didn't find anything we were looking for!

Our second evening in Marrakech was spent in a fabulous campsite equipped with a bar, a pool and powerful hot showers. What more could we want? As the evening wore on, try as we might we couldn't help but notice the ominous clouds rolling in. The heavens soon opened and it poured solidly all night. I woke up in the early hours to find that the rain was coming through Songololo's roof, straight onto my side of the bed! As Steve slept like a baby, I got up to see if I could somehow stop the leak, but eventually gave up, put my raincoat on and went back to bed! When we woke in the morning we found our bed was soaking and outside we were surrounded by massive puddles. Everyone who had been sleeping in tents had disappeared - bar Nick who slept through everything! We quickly fled the campsite and headed south over the Atlas Mountains towards the Sahara Desert. The scenary was absolutely incredible!

Since our bed was soaking, we decided early in the day that we would spend that evening in a hotel. Once we had decided on which town to spend the evening in, I ploughed through the guidebook and quickly decided that a stay in "Hotel Royal" was the one, especially since I'd concluded that we needed a treat after the stress of the previous evening. I could barely contain my excitement!

Upon checking in my excitement was dampened slightly when I saw our baby blue room (actually, only really baby blue where the paint wasn't peeling off the walls), and had to accept that it wasn't that royal after all. My suspicions were confirmed when our dinner next door cost 4 times the price of the room. When we went back to our room after dinner we also found that we had no duvet, 1 pillow (which neither of us wanted to use), no towels and a broken bathroom door, which made the room smell awful! I was gutted!! So much for our treat.

We've since moved back into Songololo and have spent the last few evenings camping in the desert as we make our way through the Western Sahara and towards Mauritania. Without a doubt, I think we've been blessed by the camping gods and have been lucky enough to find the most exquisite places to stay.

Our plan now is to head into Mauritania. According to one of our guidebook, Mauritania's 3 key attractions are bird watching, sand storms and camel milk. Woo hoo!!!!


1 .
Apparently Camel milk is brilliant for stopping hangovers (ie drink before going to bed) or curing hangovers (drink the next morning). However it also tastes like feral off goats milk - so it might just be that it tastes so foul that you forget about the hangover altogether!! Let me know if you try it!
Trish - 28 Nov 2008, 18:37
2 .
Sounds like you need to wise up to the ways of Africa! But don't let it spoil things - after all it adds to the whole experience and will give you wonderful stories to dine out on! Great to catch up with you. Fossils
fossils - 29 Nov 2008, 7:35

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