"Terracotta mud and pink sand"

Mountain scapes
Tisdrin path - winding roads of Morocco
Sahara desert - Merzouga
St Andrew's Cathedral
Ait Benhaddou
View of Ait Benhaddou from the street market
Street Market
Tea stop at the ksar
Streets of Ait Benhaddou
Monkey Temple - Hanuman Ji
Baradara Restaurant
View of the ksar from below
Sahara desert Camp
Dades Gorge surroundings
Sahara desert camp
Moroccan architecture
Sunrise at the desert
Camel ride to sunrise
Ait Benhaddou from a mount nearby
Views from the road
Ait Benhaddou atelier

We rented a car at the airport in Marrakech and hit the road. With no itinerary, or scheduled places to stay - we took one day at a time. When we liked a place we stayed longer, if we felt like driving more.. we would! 

It was an amazing way to explore Morocco, as we knew only a few places we would like to see but as we met people on the way, other amazing places were suggested to us. These surprises so many times turn out to be our favorite experience, exploring the unknown, something we haven't already seen in pictures ahead of time.  Not every place is suitable to travel this way, but we felt safe driving during the day and the roads were in great conditions for the most part. 

Our main destination was Merzouga in the Sahara desert, which is about nine hours from Marrakech. I don't think we realized at the time how far it was - we saw ads for overnight trips to the desert. How far could it be? Apparently, people drive for the night and back after a sunrise ride on a camel. Not exactly our cup of tea. It took us six days to do the trip, with several kasbah stops, hikes, and lounge moments by a gorge or pool - and of course, countless stops on the side of the road to take in the view. 

The scenery was constantly changing, from mountains to lush valleys and vast desert lands. Even the desert landscape transformed itself between undulating  rocky fields, scorching hot flats, while the ground gradually became thinner until we arrived at the fine sand Sahara desert. 

We were welcomed by a sandstorm and I can't even begin to describe how much sand there was, we couldn't walk outside because sand would get into our eyes, mouth and ears. It was hard to drive as the roads were blending in with the desert sand. Big hiccup! Our plan was to splurge one night and get a "luxury" camp and indulge in the beautiful desert. It was definitely extra sandy, but we took the chances and went off into the Sahara, and I'm so glad we did. We shared the camp with one other couple, the berbers serenaded us in the evening, and at sunrise the storm settled for several hours while we went on a solo camel ride onto the Sahara dunes.   




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