Road Trip through Morocco

Into the Gorge in Morocco

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I don’t remember a whole lot about my first trip to Morocco. It was in 2005, I was living in Holland, and my friend Megan and I decided to go adventuring. In fact, I recall so little that I had to Google image where we’d been just to find out the names of places. So much for my elephant memory.

Here’s what I do remember: We were a group of six tourists—us two American girls, a young lovey-dovey couple from England and two mobsters from Sardinia (no, really). En route to Dades Gorges, we stopped at a village of adobe-style houses.

Our guide, who we had found amid the throngs of tour companies in Marrakech, led us like sheep along the dirt paths, as the villagers stopped to stare at us as if the circus had come to town.

The sky was a hazy color, and the landscape was rather dismal, with the village blending seamlessly into the earth.

To cross the muddy river, we had to take donkeys. It really doesn’t get much more authentic than that, if you ask me.

On the other side, I learned to wrap a turban. (I simultaneously learned there’s a reason I have had long hair my whole life.)

We also saw a weaving demonstration by a local artisan. And then were hounded to buy carpets. Let’s just say I’m weak-willed, and saying “no” to anything is not my strong suit. Even if it later meant hours lost looking for a post office to pay way too much money to ship our rugs (yes, plural) back to the United States. One day, I’ll learn.

From there, we continued on into the Gorges, which might have been one of the more frightening roads I’ve ever been on.

The terrain was much like the American Southwest. We felt so very small, particularly surrounding by canyon and the vastness of Morocco’s rural regions.

And then we were approached by children panhandlers—one of the saddest parts of Morocco, I think—even miles from any city, and it was time to move on.

COMMENTS
  • March 16, 2012

    I think these photos look pretty great nonetheless. I like how they all are very similar in tone — definitely makes me think of the desert! I reallyyyyy want to visit Morocco.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      I enjoyed the rural regions of Morocco and the Sahara much better than the cities. I hope you get to make it there someday!

  • March 16, 2012

    These pictures are gorgeous even with a point and shoot! The wonders you can do with this scenery with today’s camera . What a great experience to cross a Moroccan river in a donkey and learn to do turban wrapping all in the same day. That road is making me queasy just looking at it.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      I don’t quite remember how I felt, but given my propensity for motion sickness–and the fact that we were all crammed in a van–I’m pretty sure I was pretty queasy myself =)

  • March 16, 2012

    I like the way the village blends in with the earth. And I Love roads like that!

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      Even with your fifth wheel? =)

  • March 16, 2012

    Memories! I was in Morocco in 1989 – and didn’t even bring a camera… just an impetuous kid. Of course, it means I have to go back πŸ™‚

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      Of course! So many of the places I went while backpacking Europe in 2003, I did have a camera but a film one, and I couldn’t tell you where my pictures are now. So obviously, I need to go back, too!

  • March 16, 2012

    That road looks terrifying. It reminds me of one we found in Canyonlands National Park in Utah – only that one wasn’t paved and didn’t have guardrails! These are beautiful photos, and they do look a lot like the Southwest.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      The whole place reminded me of being in Utah! A lot like the road in Canyonlands, a lot like the roads up from Monument Valley.

  • March 16, 2012

    That is awesome.

  • March 16, 2012

    What a shot of that road!

  • March 16, 2012
    Brandy

    I think the pictures look pretty good regardless! It’s crazy how everything blends in together, though – even the sky looks muted, despite it being blue.

    And oh, I need to learn how to tell people no, too. I’m terrible at it. As long as I can ignore someone and keep walking, I’m okay, but if I actually do end up stopped somehow, chances are I’ll end up buying something.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      While we were on Semester at Sea, I was actually really good at ignoring everybody (maybe living in cities has hardened me, ha), but it was Scott they would always approach and follow, and shockingly he had the hardest time not talking to them so inevitably we would get stopped everywhere we went!

  • March 16, 2012

    I’m very impressed with your little point and shoot. The pictures look very intriguing and professional. Nice work!

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      Only in brilliant sunlight. All my sunrise camel-riding photos were dreadfully blurry!

  • March 16, 2012

    I don’t think these pics are crappy at all, love the vintage feel of them!

  • March 16, 2012

    What an adventure! And forget “excuse the quality” – these pictures are awesome. Clearly you’ve always had a great eye.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      Thanks, Em!

  • March 17, 2012

    This is a timely post, we’re thinking about a little jaunt over to Morocco while we’re in Spain this year. I love seeing the landscape, I’ve never even been to the Southwest in the U.S. so to me this all looks so pretty and exotic. But I can’t handle little kid beggers, they make me cry πŸ™

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      If you go, you should definitely do the trip from Marrakesh to the Sahara, stopping in many of the towns. I’ve now been to Morocco twice, and that was my favorite part by far!

  • March 17, 2012

    Beautiful sights! Can’t agree more with the others on the solid quality of the old pictures… really nice shots.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      Post-processing helps a bit πŸ˜‰

  • March 18, 2012

    Nice photos. It mus have been great fun mate. Thanks for sharing.

  • March 18, 2012

    So much like the southwest! I’ve never been to Morocco but you are so right about the similar terrain. I think the pics look cool, no need to apologize.

    • March 19, 2012
      Kristin

      You wouldn’t know it was Morocco had I not told you, right? It’s so drastically different from Marrakesh, Fes and the coastal areas like Chefchaouen.

  • March 19, 2012

    I LOVE the ‘crappy’ photos! πŸ™‚ But seriously, they look antiqued or something, so it works. Definitely looks like somewhere I’d love to go one day!

    • March 22, 2012
      Kristin

      Ha, an effect of the sepia setting in the point and shoot (and then a little post-processing in Lightroom). You can fix anything these days =)

  • March 27, 2012

    I’m Morrocco-bound summer 2013 … and have no real idea what to expect! So I appreciate these photos, and imagine I will see similar landscapes … though of course I am going to lobby for many trips to the coast as well!

  • January 7, 2014

    Some great photos even if they were a while ago. That gorge was a cool spot. I randomly met a local at the taxi rank, ended up catching a lift with him to the gorge on a goat van and he gave me a guided tour. My payment was having dinner with him and paying for the beers!

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