03-Jun-2011 -- This is the beginning of our second tour in Morocco. We visited two Confluences during five days.
After our first Morocco tour we immediately decided to go another time. This time we planned to visit some touristic highlights like Taroudant, the desert, Aït Ben Haddou and Marrakech, and visit two confluence points in between. Like “normal” confluence hunters do. A trip of almost 1500 km in five days. We took along some Croatian spirit. Neda and her husband Tomislav joined our confluence hunting group. It turned out they could sing a nice Croatian song in the desert and play games like “I go on holiday and I bring with me a swimmingsuit, socks, trousers, camera, airbed, underwear, paracetamol, sleeping pills, glasses, a camel, etc”. Tomislav's knowledge of repairing cars and his superb driving skills were extremely needed at some points during our trip.
On Wednesday we left by car from the “Torenhove” in Delft. It’s the building where we would normally go to work. This time we were headed for Brussels Charleroi and took a plane to Agadir. Neda and Tomislav flew for the first time and they were quite excited. We rented a car (Hyundai H1) and drove to Taroudant to get lost in the medina as expected. An old man brought us to the parking place we wanted to go to and at last we put our bags in the hotel Riad Dar Dzahra.
Yves, the owner, left France to start this hotel in Taroudant. He knows a lot about Morocco and Taroudant. Next day he showed us the medina, gave Neda a skin remover of clay and told us not to eat watermelons, which was a downer because Neda and Tomislav were longing for watermelons. A Croatian habit? Yves explained: "Eating those watermelons would create serious stomach pains. For lunch it’s better to buy bread and some canned tuna". This we could not ignore and we bought it in a nearby shop. After the tour in the medina of Taroudant, we went to a shop where we could buy some argan oil and soap. Argan oil
is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic, and numerous medicinal properties.
On our way to our first destination Nkob, we had lunch in an old kasba in Taliouine. This city is known for the production of Saffron, a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). We stopped in front of the Saffron Museum. Unfortunately it was closed. In Nkob we stayed at Kasba Imdoukal, which was a very nice kasba with a swimming pool.
After a swim we talked to the staff of the kasba and explained why we stayed in Nkob. Moustafa could not make them understand it. Fortunately there was a map of the area on the wall and also an internet connection. They arranged a small Mercedes bus, a driver and a guide. This was more we could have wished for. We decided to go to the point the next day at 7:30 a.m. During the night we noticed the guide was sleeping in front of our Hyundai H1 to protect it. We were amazed.
On Friday morning we left the kasba and went on our way. After almost one and a half hour we realized the driver and guide wanted to bring us to a place we did not want to go. They thought we wanted to go to a certain mountain. Unfortunately the road was too small to turn. After fifteen minutes we could turn but we decided to have a little rest and have a small piece of a green water melon first. Would our stomachs react? The car did. The driver could not start it and realized the battery was down. We had to push the car uphill first and then turn it. The driver could make the car “alive” again. We stopped the car along a stream at about 3.6 km from the confluence point.
In the Netherlands the point seemed easy on Google Earth but in reality it was quite a challenge. Our guide of 53 years old lived all his life in this area and he seemed to know every stone. He was a great motivator and made funny jokes. We enjoyed our walk to the point. Great landscapes and some nice climbing. This was certainly not a girly point. It took us about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the point. Neda, red headed, got there too and we all celebrated. Then our friendly guide told us: "If I knew you wanted to go to this point, I would have showed you an easier and shorter way and I would have prepared some food for you." That’s the fun of CP hunting!
The area around the point is frequently visited by goats. Our guide took us another way back which we liked very much. We reached the car and drove back to the kasba.
Exhausted we enjoyed a good meal and had to say goodbye to our Moroccan friends quickly because we had to go to Merzouga to start a camel tour in the desert "Erg Chebbi" and find our next Confluence Point, which was near the desert. We knew we had to arrive at 04:00 p.m. but we could not make it on time.
At 06:30 p.m. we arrived in Merzouga. We parked our car, went to hotel Dar al Janoub and met Omar, who had arranged a camel tour for us. He told us we were too late and looking at the weather it was probably not wise to go. Edwin was feeling sick. Moustafa felt very tired because he did not sleep last night. It seemed our group was not too enthusiastic to sit on a camel in the dark and sleep in the desert. Some of us did not mind to sleep in a normal bed. Neda really wanted to go and started a voting process. Edwin wanted to stay in the hotel, some of us did not care where to sleep and some of us really wanted to sleep in the desert.
We decided to go. Edwin went with us, too. Fortunately, without him holiday games might be boring. Omar phoned the guides and we were taken to the desert on camels. At around 10:30 p.m. we arrived in the middle of the sand dunes. We could not see a lot. The night was dark because of the clouds. In the tent our guides prepared a delicious tajine for us after they lighted some candles. A tajine, or tagine (Berber: ttajin), is a dish from North Africa, principally Morocco, that is named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Around 11:30 p.m. they started to make music and we were asked to sing a song or two ourselves. I managed to sing a children song “Altijd is kortjakje ziek” and Neda sang a bit of a Croatian song. Finally we went to sleep in the desert.
Next point is 31N 4W.