Morocco 03 – The African way of life

Monday, December 4th. Our three friends, who we’re following day by day during their trip across Morocco, have now reached the height of 7546 feet. Along the way they have passed villages, they gave hats to children and they also managed to save the evening by dining at home

Monday, December 4. Yesterday our Pape, Fabio and Nunzio had to leave early. Their destination was Tizi n’Tazazert Pass, at an altitude of 7546 feet. But first, there were around 60 miles to stack up, in the Dades Valley, to reach Baumalne de Dades, from where they had planned to deviate to a mountain track of about 50 miles.

“Le Tenerelle might fall apart any second now – Pape writes in his diary – If you try to speed up a bit, suspensions runs out of ideas. We proceed calmly, and the bikes climb up the mountain without any problem of sorts. We’re crossing landscapes that remind us of the American Monument Valley”.

They finally cross at 7546 feet, but the descent is even bumpier than the climb. The three friends are worried, and with good reason, about the endurance of their bikes; at least until their eyes meet a pair of local scooters climbing up, one of them even carrying a passenger!

Their arrival in Nekob marks the end of the (literal and emotional) rollercoaster they just left behind. From here on, in fact, they travel along 22 miles of a mostly straight road up to Tansiknt, from where they can take the road ending in Zagora, our friends’ final stop for the day.

One of the nicest aspects of this last part of their journey is that it runs in the Dràa Valley, along an endless palm grove. And after that, there’s a myriad of villages, with greeting children who get, in exchange for their friendliness, some hats our friends happened to have with themselves.

When the sun is setting Zagora is now on the horizon. A young boy invites the trio to his workshop, for some needed maintenance: the motorcycles are not in their best shape. Pape gets replaced a stripped screw which holds the clutch lever; the other two have their chains cleaned and oiled. They also have tea with the workshop owners. All of this at the cost of… just a tip!
They’re now at the hotel, where it turns out that dinner is not included. The evening could turn to the worst, but fortunately, the kitchen is available to customers. Could some spaghetti and tomato sauce be missing from an Italian’s backpack? Of course not! Dinner’s ready.

Tomorrow it will finally be the time of the legendary Zagora-Merzuga leg, which owes its fame to the glorious editions of the “Paris-Dakar”, many years ago. Now it’s for real.

 

Previous chapters here
Morocco 01 – Alberto’s Mal d’Afrique, when saudade crosses the ocean
Morocco 02 – Pape, Fabio and Nunzio in Morocco!

Next chapter here
Morocco 04 – Following the footsteps of the real “Paris-Dakar”

 

Dades Gorges (Photo by Gul Ah)

 

Tizi n’Tazazert Pass, 7546 feet (Photo by Bernhard Holub)

 

 

 

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