From sea level we travelled east and up into the Anti Atlas Mountains. As we climbed, the roads became narrower with barely enough room for two vehicles to pass as the road twisted its way through the mountains. We were relieved that there was little traffic, especially on the many HNC Corners (Hope No-one’s Coming). We had to negotiate low concrete bridges where the road crossed dry river beds strewn with uprooted trees and boulders and where the bridge surfaces had been washed away by the torrent of water coming off the mountains. They were bumpy crossings even at slow speeds.
Three hours later we arrived in Tafraoute (pronounced Taf-rowt) a town surrounded by red granite mountains set on a plateau a thousand metres above sea level. The town was in the Berber heartlands and boasted some spectacular boulder formations. When we arrived at the camp site, Les Trois Palmiers, we were desperate for a cup of tea so I asked the manager where I could get some fresh milk. Without a word he shot off on his motor bike and returned with a carton of milk a few minutes later.
Later we cycled into town and had an early supper at a restaurant in a tent in the town centre called L’Etoile Sud. Wherever we travelled in Morocco (outside the main cities) the restaurant menus were always very similar, Moroccan salad, tagine (chicken or beef or kofta meat balls) plus bread and bottled water. At this restaurant the bread and bottled water were delivered in a carrier bag from the shop opposite! They didn’t have any alcohol but were happy for us to supply our own wine and when we asked for some ice to cool our drinks, the waiter disappeared on his bike for a few minutes before reappearing with a bag of ice.
We took a 4×4 tour which enabled us to appreciate the stunning scenery outside the town. We visited an art work by a Belgium artist which consisted an area of several acres where some of the boulders had been painted blue. The work was done 25 years ago and used 19 tons of blue paint. We wondered why.