Up and Over the Atlas Mountains of Morocco

Driving Through the Atlas Mountains of MoroccoDay 2 we were up early for our 7:30 breakfast.  I am not sure exactly what that French speaking lady made us, but they were spongey pancakes, with marmalade that was quite yummy.  Simple and good, couldn’t ask for more.  I had booked prior with a tour company for a day tour over the Atlas Mountains to see the old city of Aït Benhaddou in Ouarzazate, Morocco.  I liked the idea of this tour, it would just be us three and our tour guide in an SUV for the day, for 60 Euros each.  Here’s the link for the tour, if you’re interested in checking it out.

Driving Through the Atlas Mountains of MoroccoHe picked us up at our riad at 8:00 as agreed upon and led us through the maze of streets to where he had parked his car.  He had me sign some paperwork for the tour that he needed (and he would indeed need this later when we were stopped at an inspection point), and then we were off.  The countryside outside of Marrakesh is nothing spectacular, some trees (a fair deal more than one would expect from Morocco), and lots of green grass in places.

Near the summit of the Tizi n Tichka passEventually we started to climb up into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and everything got green with red soil and rocks scattered around.  It was beautiful.  We kept climbing and climbing up until we eventually reached the Tizi n Tichka pass over the top of the mountains, at 2260 meters.  Our guide told us this was one of the most dangerous roads in the world, during the winter with the snow on it for trucks.  I can see why!  We stopped here for pictures of the incredible view and then continued on our way.

Driving Through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco Not long after the pass we turned off the main road onto a smaller, bumpy, twisty road that led off through the mountains.  This is where having a tour in our own SUV paid off.  All of the other tour vehicles we had seen coming up the mountains had been mini and full size buses; vehicles that couldn’t take this little road.  Win!

Driving Through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco This guy on his horse gestured at us as we drove by.  I assumed he didn’t care for my snapping a picture of him.  Our guide quickly denied that, saying rather, that this guy was gesturing for a cigarette.  Apparently, he knows if he stays there long enough, eventually somebody will pass by and give him one…    I wonder how long he has to wait?

Driving Through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco The scenery along this road was incredible, I would have hated to have missed that!  Plus, this was the only road to reach the Kasbah Telouet, an old seat of power for Southern Morocco.  The individuals on the tour buses never got a chance to see that, a pity for them, because it was quite interesting and the interior was gorgeous…  Next post for that one!

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