Our 11 hour drive south consisted of lots of swearing and stress, but also the highest mountain roads with views for miles over incredible gorges and rock formations. We took a three hour detour by accident and ended up with a flat tyre down a rocky single lane road in the middle of nowhere, trying not to panic. Especially when we realised we had a spare tyre, but no tools.
But help will always come when you need it, and thanks to some women and their donkeys, and some village men and their car (equipped with tyre-changing equipment) we were back on route after an hour.
As we were now 5 hours behind schedule (we should probably find a map) we hadn’t reached Merzouga before dark, and our headlights lit up a few feet ahead of us, but not enough. We peered into the darkness on the lookout for cyclists, who don’t have lights or reflective gear, and camels, which walk the roads after dark.
After lots of near misses with pedestrians and some moments of sheer panic, fuelled by coca-cola, cigarettes, and our loudest music we rolled up to our hotel in the moonlight, and collapsed into bed.
In the morning we woke to desert dunes and a lot of camels outside our window, and a cool breeze by the pool, where we recuperated all day and went for refreshing swims, watching the birds drink from the pool and the wind blow the sand over the dunes.
After two nights in our amazing hotel we headed out on camels with some Berber nomads into a camp in the Sahara. We ate tagine and soup then played drums and listened to traditional Berber music, and watched the sun set behind the desert. That night we stargazed, huddled against a camel (Jimi Hendrix) for warmth.
We woke to watch the sunrise then clambered back onto our steeds, said goodbye to the desert, and headed back North to Marrakech. Our back windows hadn’t worked the entire journey, and suddenly fixed in time for the hot drive… Then froze again, completely open, for the next two days. Somehow nothing was stolen, but driving behind lorries on dusty roads was not fun.
We picnicked next to a river in the gorges and saw a beautiful sunset from the mountains, and arrived in Marrakech at night, with no hotel booked. The window finally closed – just in time to spend the night in the car – which would have been interesting with it open.
So tonight we’re roughing it in the back of the car in a supermarket car park, then we’re dropping off the hire car (after trying to fix everything in it to not lose our deposit). Then we’re on the train to Fes, and the final part of our journey. We’ve made it this far, so fingers crossed you’ll hear from us again.