After Marrakech was a long (loooong) bus ride to a small village called Boumalne-Dades. No, I can’t pronounce it, either. The bus inexplicably smelt of urine which only got worse as the day got hotter. Thankfully I was able to sleep through a lot of the trip, which took about 6 hours. I didn’t realize Morocco was so big…
We passed the town of Ouzazarte (also can’t reliably pronounce) which had two massive film studios outside of it. I guess they film lots of movies here?
Over the world’s scariest mountain pass- we’re talking no guardrails (there was one but it wouldn’t have stopped a toddler on a tricycle) and maybe a bus and a half wide at best- we made it to Boumalne, where I was meeting a guy from Couchsurfing. He lived in an even smaller town outside of the village called Tamlalt. I hopped off the bus and there he was, waiting with sandwiches. Good start!
We headed a few kilometers up the valley to his village, which was beautiful and surrounded by epic rocks. I met his family, who were all really nice, and settled in for the next four days.
That night we made tangine and tea, which both were delicious. My host was lovely and gave me my own room, which was awesome because I also had wifi. Score!
Lots of yummy coffee and tea proceeded the events of each day, which consisted of a lot of walking through some extraordinary places. We took a hike through a nearby gorge which involved a little rock climbing, which was great. We ate lunch by the river that runs through the valley and I was content.
The next day we adventured up the road to another gorge, via ‘taxi’. This taxi was a minivan, and because it was so full we stood in the boot. It was kind of hilarious.
We got out near another stream and kicked about for a bit before grabbing snacks and walking back down the valley. Saw the windiest road I’ve ever seen and lots of sheep and goats wandering about. On the way back we saw lots of kasbahs, which are the old mud buildings that predated the villages that exist around them today.
I learned a lot about Berber culture from my host, and it was really interesting to see this different side of Moroccan history. I think I was most impressed by the stars at night, though- you can even see the Milky Way out here! I’ve decided I need to spend a lot more time staring into space.
My final day in Tamlalt was spent getting to Tingir, another town near a spot called the Todra Gorge. Todra has a bunch of sweet rock climbing in it, and I really want to plan a trip back here to climb all the things! We squished in a taxi and made our way across the moonscape of the desert until we reached the city, which was busy but not overwhelming like Marrakech.
Todra was gorgeous, and as I poked around I saw lots of things I want to climb! We arrived back pretty late to Boumalne and managed to catch the last taxi going to Tamlalt, with a bunch of other locals that my host knew (or was related to). It was like being in a taxi with a bunch of people from my home town you just happened to pick up by the side of the road, haha.