I chose this tour because I had never travelled outside Europe or
The tour began in Marrakech and the riad there was definitely far from basic. It had a lovely roof garden where “continental” breakfast was taken and drinks could be ordered throughout the day whilst making use of the sun loungers. The rooftop views were fascinating in themselves as we were able to view neighbouring courtyards, streets and souqs. In our actual exploration of the souqs it was sometimes frustrating as locals insisted on helping you find your way even when you weren’t lost! However everyone was good natured and they were not after money – just being helpful and friendly to a visitor.
Outside Marrakech, on the trek itself, life in the remote villages for the Berber people is a sharp contrast to the city. Barren rolling desert on the first day gave way to valleys of olive trees and the houses appeared camouflaged as they are constructed from the same surrounding red soil. The trek traversed many fertile areas where orchards and vegetable plots abound. Goats graze the hillside and the main form of transport is the mule or donkey. Children call out along the way hoping for sweets or pens but provided you’ve perfected the phrase “Je n’ai pas des bonbons (ou des stylos), said with a smile they usually gave up at the village boundary. We walked from approximately 8.30 am until around 3pm although the lunch stop could be anything up to 2 hours (This was during Ramadan so our Berbers needed to sleep – they’d been up since 4 am to break fast before going to the mosque at sunrise).
The village houses we stayed in were exactly that – the family vacate two or three rooms for the benefit of the visitors. Our muleteers and cook who trek with us, prepare our meals and clear up as well as look after the pack animals who carry our heavy bags, mattresses and all the other paraphernalia associated with the trip.
The meals of cous cous, salad, soups and tasty tagines were wholesome and suitably fitting after a full day’s walking.
Entertainment was provided by the muleteers during the evening – they were fantastic. Anything that could be used as a drum was – washing up bowls, cola bottles, jerry cans. We enjoyed two evenings of musical entertainment. Their folk songs are definitely original – all the Berbers joined in but seemingly to their own rhythm which was not necessarily the same as anyone else’s at the same time. But it didn’t matter – this was
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