Morocco: The Southern Circuit

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | Skoura, Morocco (map)

Rooftop terrace at sundown at the Hotel Jardins de Skoura, in the heart of the oasis
Much more to come on Algeria, but for now a change of pace.

Back in May, after two months on the clock in Algeria, I was eager for a break. The lady friend and I rendez-vous'ed in Marrakech and quickly set out on a drive across the Atlas Mountains' highest pass (the deservedly infamous Tizi'n'Tichka) to the Skoura oasis.

From there we wound our way up and down the Dad├Ęs Gorge, past the rose fields of Kalaa M'gouna to the Todra Gorge—Morocco's answer to the Grand Canyon.

A day of sucking dust on the patchy road south past stray camels, roadside wells, the oasis of Zagora, and miles of treeless sand brought us to the desert outpost of Mhamid. We spent the next day trekking by camel—well past the point when the knobby beasts' swaying shifted from "not so comfortable" to "this-feels-like-a-baseball-bat-to-the-groin-oh-my-god-why-did-I-sign-up-for-this".

Another long day on the road, with a stop along the way at the wattle-and-daub ksar of Ait Ben Haddou (of Hollywood fame), and we were back to Marrakech. I spent the next three days there playing tour guide and shopper's assistant to the lady friend, while also visiting a few spots I'd missed in previous visits, like the Menara Gardens and Maimounia Hotel.

Copious photos below:

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