Just Like Lawrence of Arabia, Well Almost
Trip Start Aug 05, 2006
55Trip End Aug 19, 2007
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The first stop was at Aït Benhaddou. Never heard of it? Well it is known to be one of the best preserved kasbahs in Atlas region and has been used film scenes from movies such Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia. There has been a lot of rain especially in the mountains lately and I had to pay about $1 to ride a donkey across the river to get to the kasbah itself. After re boarding the minibus we headed for the Dades gorge where we spent the night
The following day we visited the Todra gorge which had some impressive rock walls that provide for excellent climbing if you enjoy that sort of thing. About an hour outside of Merzouga the road completely disappears and what is left is a flat gravel expanse that extentends in all directions for miles. This area used to be the sea floor and there are shops every few miles selling fossils. After finally arriving at our destination we were greeted by a huge expanse of towering sand dunes that extended into the horizon. This is the kind of exotic place you see in movies and on travel brochures. Some of these dunes can reach heights of 100 meters tall and their color as well as the color of the surrounding sky is simple too surreal to describe.
Soon after arriving we mounted camels and headed into the desert. After about a two hours ride my group arrived a camp. When you look at the camp it seems so exotic but one surprise I got is the western style toilet cleverly concealed next to a palm tree behind the tents. Oh well, at least it looked authentic. I decided to climb one of the dunes before dinner which proved to be more strenuous than I thought and I was breathing hard after finally reaching the top. The view from there was so amazing though that I decided to go back up again in the morning to watch the sunrise. The next day we road our camels back to Merzouga and I took the minibus to the town of Erfoud where two Korean girls and I had to bargain hard for a taxi to take us to Fez.