Todra Gorge, Zagora, Foum Zguid
central Atlas mountains. At this time of the year we could still drive through the narrows and admire the great cliffs bordering either side. At it's narrowest it is only a few metres wide and it is a truly powerful experience to pass through.
We peaked in mid-morning at 4,000 ft and drove through a barren, lifeless terrain which developed slowly into productive land. There
was some agricultural terracing to be seen and eventually our route accompanied a small stream. This developed during our journey. As we
descended the faster flowing water supported a string of oases and palmeries.
We reached a small gorge where the water sparkled on the morning sun. Up the cliff we heard bells announcing a nearby flock. Over the crest
appeared a hundred sheep and goats. They proceeded to descend the near vertical cliff with a sure-footedness that was amazing to watch.
They all descended safely and we continued our journey south through this spectacular valley and welcomed the increasing verdance as we
We reached the one-horse town of Zagora, gateway to the desert. Only 42 days by camel to Timbuktu, we were told…
After a rest stop in a good campsite, to repack and re-plan, we ventured off down a desert piste to Foum Zguid. This rough track started well
but petered out after 30 rattling miles at the edge of a deep wadi. I prospected on foot and chose a route across the great rock-strewn
divide, and having no low gear had to advance at the wrong speed for the terrain.
The first part went quite well, the wadi was about 75 yards wide at this point, but then I hit a patch of sand which gave way under the
left rear wheel as I drove over it. In front was a rock the size of an armchair. Next to it was an un-climbable sand bank and upstream was
our only exit. I applied more power, the mobile suspension gripped the uneven the contours and we shot out of the wadi to a hoot of joy from
Raymond, a gasp of relief from me… and a cheer from a shepherd who quickly told us we had come the wrong way!
The Discovery excelled itself.
I knew I was uncomfortably close to tipping the vehicle that time and was much relieved to regain level ground afterwards. The shepherd
received a stylo biro and some melted sweets for his helpful comments.
We hit the Foum Zguid junction, turned north and proceeded to Tazenakht, the carpet-weaving centre of the Atlas. Raymond bought two
excellent Berber carpets while I ordered a splendid chicken tazine lunch for us both.
We camped at Tafaroute which supported a splendid swimming pool. We were the only guests there. Dinner was brought out to us at our tent,
and we dined by candle light under the full moon.
The next phase of the journey was a long and exciting drive northwards through the Anti Atlas, our road clinging to the side of
precipitous falls and spectacular scenery. We saw many striped squirrels. Here and there we would see big blue lizards running across
the hot tarmac with their tails held high. Also many small birds, finches, skylarks and a few soaring eagles.
We crossed the mountain range, reached Agadir and stared on the long journey home.
We stayed at Marrakech for a night and then camped near the important Roman town of Volubilis next day.
We have had a full, colourful and very enjoyable voyage and are now heading home through Spain.
This will be the last blog post in this series. In a short time I shall have photographs and text on the website at http://www.kitmax.com/
Keep tuned in …