Marrakech: An overview - Part 33

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Marrakech: An overview - Part 33

Road trips out of Marrakech – continued,

If you want to travel about 12 miles out of Ouarzazate on the Rte de Skoura you will come across a company called North Africa Horse. They are well known for their choreography of horse and camel charges. They also arrange most of the equestrian stunts for many of the “sword and-sandal” adventure films. As a by-product, they also put on horse and camel shows for tourists. You can watch recreations of famous scenes from movies such as Kingdom of Heaven and Alexander over a dinner.

If you have plenty of time and a sense of adventure then there are two trips you can take from this point. One goes south to the desert and the other goes east to the valley of the Kasbahs. Both are interesting in different ways and below I have given you a quick idea of what you will see along each route.

If you go south to the Desert then it is most likely a two day trip. Starting from Ouarzazate, the road continues south through the Drâa Valley down to the administrative town of Zagora. After a further drive of about four hours you can stop over at Tamnougalt. This is known locally as a ksar, which means fortified village. It is about 10 minutes off the main road, and 3 miles after the small market town of Agdz. Further south is the Glaoui era Kasbah Timiderte. Zagora itself is dominated by Jbel Zagora, a rocky outcrop at the town’s end. The energetic market held on Wednesday and Sunday abounds with dates which are grown in abundance here. Just south of the centre is the attractive hamlet of Amezrou. Nearby, the Kasbah des Juifs is inhabited by Berber silversmiths. It used to be occupied by Jews who lived here but they are now long gone. Zagora’s most famous attraction is the town’s exit sign. It depicts a camel caravan and simply reads, “Timbuktu, 52 Days”.

On the second day of the trip you should reach the village of M’Hamid which is 60 miles further south of Zagora. While taking this route you pass Tamegroute’s mosque and shrine complex. It is off limits to non-Muslims except for the library with its collection of ancient manuscripts. Travel on a further 3 miles and you will see the first of the sand dunes at Tinfou. The best dunes, however, can be accessed from M’Hamid, a quiet outpost at the road’s end. It is just a one street settlement and feels like it’s at the end of the world. It is from here that you can arrange desert trips. Depending on how you feel they can be excursions of a few hours to full expeditions lasting a number of days.

Continued in part 34

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Page added on: 27 May 2018
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