We left Chefchaouen the following morning, the valley below was hidden in mist as if we were driving above the clouds. We travelled south through the Rif Mountains, the road snaked its way up and down with the scenery changing as we turned each bend. It was not a particularly long drive (200K) but it took us eight hours. Most of the lower land and valleys was agricultural, we saw wheat and corn, fruit trees and neat plots of vegetables. On the higher slopes, sheep and cows were grazing, always with an attendant watching over them. The scenery was spectacular as we travelled south.
Our one disappointment was the amount of rubbish we saw, especially in and around the towns we drove through. The smaller towns were often dirty and chaotic with people and traffic going in all directions vying for space on the single carriageway with wide, dusty margins on either side, flanked by small booths serving as shops. Often the narrow road was blocked by parked vehicles – horns blew, folk shouted. There was rubbish and filth everywhere in the streets and further out by the river banks and in the grass under shady trees. Outside the towns we would often come across a tip covering a huge area of beautiful countryside, rubbish often spilling out over the road and down the mountainside.
We reached the lake at Ourtzarh in the late afternoon – it was 36 degrees. We parked up on the edge of the lake bed, the lake shimmering in the distance. We had the company of a tethered donkey, a flock of sheep with shepherd, three dogs and, later, some young boys came over, sat under an olive tree and watched Hamid cook the supper.