Tuesday, 11 March 2014

11th March

Our bed was somewhat hard so none of us slept particularly well.  We also decided against the shower option as there was no hot water due to it the hot tap being stuck on in Hanna’s tent which was the only way to get our loo flushing – a reasonable trade off we all felt.

Sunrise over the Sahara
We were up by 6am and climbed the dune behind the camp.  This was hard work and I now understand the phrase “one step forward and two steps backwards”.  Our shoes soon filled up with sand, which was a horrible sensation.  Anyway, we duly watched an “okay” sunrise, but 2 of the American ladies missed it and abandoned their efforts to join us half way up the dune.

Quite a strong wind had got up in the night and continued as we remounted our unhobbled droms after brekkies and rode for an hour back to the cars.  I don’t think any of us were sorry to leave our trusted steeds behind as we felt quite sand blasted and it seemed that those pesky grains had got in everywhere.
We declined the offer of a shower stop at the Auberge du Sud and decided instead to press on with our journey as were keen to see the famous Todra Gorge – we were all filthy and grimy so all in the same boat. 

The start of the Todra Gorge
We drove along vast plateaus with the distant peaks being somewhat obscured by the sand storm which seemed to be following us.  Eventually, we reached the turnoff to the gorge and followed a very poor road for about 10km – it seemed as if they were attempting to widen the road for tourist reasons, but it sure was a mess.  Eventually though we got to the gorge where sheer cliffs 300m high rise dramatically each side of the corridor that forms the gorge.  We parked up and went for a wander and I admired the varied birdlife including lots of swifts feeding on insects just above the small amount of water in part of the gorge.  Chris and Hanna went in the other direction and got accosted by a carpet salesman!

Most tourists seemed to visit just the lower part of the gorge, but we decided to drive on up to the village of Tamtattouchte, which is at the other end of the gorge.  I’m so glad we did as we lost the crowds and could linger and enjoy the equally dramatic scenery as the gorge widened eventually opening out into a wide valley at the village where a multitude of tiny fields were being cultivated.

Higher up into the Todra Gorge

Here, we turned around and retraced out steps and drove the remaining 50km to our hotel at Boulmalne strategically located just outside of the Dadnès gorge, which is where our sightseeing starts tomorrow.

We’re disappointed in this hotel which is not up to the same standard as the other places we’ve stayed in.  It’s okay but below par.  The curtains don’t hang very well, it’s poorly decorated, the windows don’t shut properly although Chris has stuffed paper into some of the cracks to stop them rattling,  Chris had to ask for the heater control from reception..........you get the picture?  Still, we have a comfortable bed, lots of hot water and it’s clean.

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