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Friday, 11 March 2011

Winter walk in the Jebel Sahro mountain range in Morocco

I just got back to Marrakech after a short walk in the Jebel Sahro mountain range in Morocco. Jebel Sahro is south of the High Atlas and is ideal for winter trekking during months from November to March. I must admit it is rather nice escaping from London at this time of year for some winter sun with most days temperatures around 25C. As these mountains are quite low in altitude this area gets far too hot over the summer months so not possible to trek at that time of year.

The Jebel Sahro is a stunning mountain range with strange sandstone and conglomerate formations containing isolated Berber villages, please take a look at the photos below to get an idea of the scenery. It is worth pointing out that I have no photos of the first two days of this trek as my new camera decide to reformat the memory card on afternoon of second and deleting all of my photos!

After flying to Marrakech with Easyjet (£90 return, bargain!) I spent a few days exploring the city before travelling over Tizi n Tichka pass to Ouarzazate. This town is the gateway to the south and located near to the Draa, Dades and Ouarzazate valleys. Due to its strategic importance during French colonial times was a garrison town for the French Foreign Legion. However these days Ouarzazate is better known for the legendary marathon des sables race that is organised from here every year.

Photo: Ali, Berber muleteer from Ihrazzoun village

After one night in Ouarzazate I travelled to the small town of Nkob where I met my muleteer, Ali, a Berber from the nearby village of Ihrazzoun. We went to the Alimentation General to buy the food for the trek then set off early next morning. The first section of the trek crosses a flat plain following a “piste” (jeep track) and passes a few villages before a short climb then descent to a Hanedour village overlooked by a derelict kasbah.

Photo: Tassigdelt

The first night on the trek we stayed at Ali’s house in his village called Ihrazzoun. It was interesting seeing a Berber house and their way of life of course shortly after arriving we were offered a cup of mint tea with dates and almonds. I was a little surprised when Ali’s father ask me to make the next round of tea, so with some help I learnt how to do this following the various rituals and it is certainly more complicated than make a cup of tea back home!

Photo: Camel's Head from Igli village

On second day of the trek we walked past two superb conglomerate towers of Bab n Ali, sorry I have no photos however please take a look at this link for a photo of Bab n Ali

On third day we walked past two more striking rock formations known as Camel’s Head and Tassigdelt. We started to gain altitude and later on we scrambled up to the highest point called Kouaouch at 2,592m. From the summit there are superb views back to Nkob and also northwards to the snowy peaks of Mgoun in the High Atlas. That evening we camped at Tizi N’Ouarg at 2,200m in a high meadow with several goat herders living nearby.

Photo: conglomerate rocks

Photo: Ali riding on his mule

Photo: view towards Nkob

Photo: view from summit of Kouaouch to High Atlas mountains

Photo: isolated tree

Photo: Draa valley and High Atlas in distance

Photo: looking back to Jebel Sahro from Tagdilt village

1 comment:

Trish said...

Your trip looks fab and I have loads of questions. How did you arrange your muleteer? How were you travelling around? Is it easy to be an independent traveller cos most of the info on the web is about organised trips. Can I be realsonably relaxed and show up and things will work out .. or is it advisabel to sort everything out in advance? Thanks for any pointers you can give me, Trish

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