The drive from the Anti Atlas to the Sahara plain was stunning. As the crow flies we only travelled 65 miles east but the distance we covered was more than double that. The spectacular mountain scenery gradually changed from high mountains with their granite peaks to softer hills but the palette of colours remained the same – red, terracotta and ochres – bright in the sunshine set against the blue sky, softened with the occasional wispy cloud.
We stopped often during the drive in order to enjoy the views and to take photographs. Sometimes we felt we had landed on some distant planet or it was as if we are standing in the middle of a film set – a weird science fiction film or, perhaps, a western where the galloping horsemen would appear in the distance raising a dust trail with their horses hooves.
Eventually we reached our destination, Tata, a traditional town on the Sahara plain where most of the men and women in the street were wearing robes. We walked along the main street to get something to eat. You will be surprised to hear that we had salad, chicken tagine and fresh fruit and it cost less than £10. On this occasion we were offered chips with our chicken tagine and we thought this would be a nice change; when they took the lids of the individual tagines, there were the chips laid over the top of the chicken! We watched an old man cooking nuts in a steel drum over a flame. We bought a cone of roasted, salted cashews for 70p. They were delicious.
On a domestic note – the campsite had a washing machine in one of their outhouses so I took the opportunity to do a load of laundry but didn’t get it pegged out until 3 pm. The sun set at 6 pm so I had hardly any daylight drying time – and there was no wind. I left the laundry on the line overnight and at 9 am the following morning everything was bone dry, even Tony’s thick polo shirts – that’s the desert for you. The maximum daytime temperature was 28° but dropped to 9° overnight.