27 December 2012

Grand taxi pick up Ain Leuh

We arranged for a taxi to come pick us up at the hotel at 10.00. Why drag our bags up hill to the taxi stand, if they are willing to come get you?
A coffee at the downstairs cafe and a quick homemade sandwich.

Our driver for the day id not speak much French. While we are still in town, with many translators around, we tried to communicate. As the drive was supposed to be beautiful, is it possible to stop along the way sometimes for a quick photo? According to the translator, this would cost an extra 50 Dirhams, (even though our driver seemed to be fine with it) we declined.
As it turned out, the driver was fine with it, and while he did not stop much, he did slow down anytime there was a nice view so we could take a not-so-blurry photo.

The sheep were camera shy.

The sheep were camera shy.

Starting in the hills above Ain Leuh we started seeing snow on the ground. Our driver demonstrated how cold it was overnight, by spinning the car on some very icy bits on the road. We are going to be dropped of in Khenifra, but the road we are taking is the back road. Not many cars along here.
We go up in the mountains through thick pine forest and hit a plateau. Not having been to Mongolia, I don’t know what the tundra looks like, but I imagine it looks like here. Plains with a little grass covering and quite a bit of mud. There are little temporary shelters set up by , we assume, the local nomads. Built out of wooden poles and plastic. They have got sheepies and goats here. Further along we hit small hills with a lot of agricultural activity.

Great landscapes once again.

Great landscapes once again.

The road is not good everywhere, but our driver is taking his time and the views are stunning. Every now and then we stop so our guy can ask for directions. It seems like he has not done this road before..

After about 40 kilometres we arrive at the Oum er Rbia cascades. We have an hour here to walk around, so don’t waste any time and get going. Even after more than two months in Morocco I am still surprised to see the tourism industry everywhere. This was not an easy or cheap place for us to come to, but apparently they do get a lot of self drive tourists through here in summer. Tourist stalls and cafe’s all over, but luckily most are closed and the place is peaceful.


Oum er Rbia is the source of Morocco’s largest river. It goes east from here to the Atlantic just above El Jadida.
Along the little gorge, up to the waterfall, the water comes out of the rock walls. Most of it we can’t see as there are so many little lunch shelters build. It reminds us a bit of Cambodia.
We go up and start seeing the falls from a far.

From here to the Atlantic.

From here to the Atlantic.

The colors of the rocks are stunning in red and orange. A bit of scrambling along the rocks, trying not to get our feet wet and over a rickety bridge we get to a good viewing point. The water is clear, the rocks warm and the sun bright. It is a gorgeous spot.
Over some more rocks and a wooden plank, brings us to the main falls. It looks like a great swimming pool for summer. We hang out for a bit, but quite a few local tourist have arrived and we move on to make space.

Inside the cave.

Inside the cave.

On the other side of the river is a little cave. Unfortunately we did not bring our torches, but Andrew gives it a go with the camera flash. Water levels are high and the cave is flooded inside. We have a bit of time left, so find a spot in the sun and enjoy the silence. The locals living here are about with their laundry and giving the carpets an airing.
Back to the taxi to get to Khenifra. About 10 kilometers further we stop at a crossroads. Right to Khenifra and left to Aguelmane Azigza. A deep and dark lake.
Off course to visit this was not part of the day, so our driver turns right. But after a minute or so he stops the car. We don’t realy understand his Arabic, but it sounds like he wants to take a detour and show us the lake. We happiply accept!

Lake side cafe.

Lake side cafe.

At arriving we are stunned. This place is magical! A big blue lake with cedar forest behind. The edges of the lake are frozen and a sheepherd is taking her flock around. There is one house here, overlooking the lake and we are almost tempted to go up and buy them out of their house. This is a place we could live!
On the side is a make shift cafe set up. Tables and chairs spread out over the grass and they even have a pool table. We thank our guy for taking the time to do this small detour. He looks very happy too, and we think this is also his first visit here.


Don't chop down all the trees!

Don’t chop down all the trees!

Now then, to Khenifra. The country side changes once again as we go down. More and more agriculture and the area is still green and wet.
Closer to Khenifra, a strange mix of poor farming communities with, what looks like, the richer city folk villas.
We get dropped at the bus station after passing a weird fountain decicated to horses..
A hotel is nearby and as it is only 100 a night we take it. Sophia and David will be taking the night bus to Ourzazate for their last days in Morocco, so they don’t need a room. We keep their bags in our room and set out for lunch.

Going home after a days hard work.

Going home after a days hard work.

Khenifra is a big city and many lunch options are easily found. We settle on veggies and chicken. As it is only 14.00 and our friends bus doesn’t leave till midnight, we have some time to kill. We decide to explore Khenifra downtown. The city is a bit like many here, concrete and painted a faded orange. Not very attractive, but it has a good feel about it.

Good luck and see you later!

Good luck and see you later!

We spend the evening hopping coffee shops and playing cards. (Sophia is lethal for once)
By 23.30 it is time for our goodbyes. Again it has been great to travel with these two, and we will be missing them. Sophia’s eternal optimism and David’s model poses 🙂
Hopefully we will catch up back in Australia.



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