14-Sep-2012 -- Last year we visited 31N 6W but we already thought about 32N 6W, which looked more exciting to do. This year we decided to visit 32N 6W.
On 11 September three of my colleagues and I came to work with backpacks. My other colleagues wished us well and success with our third expedition to Morocco. On this day we went by plane at 3:30 PM from Amsterdam to Marrakech with Transavia.
Our confluence hunting team changed members. This time my Dutch-Iranian colleague, Farhad, and my colleague with mountain experience, Ton, joined me and Moustafa in our quest to find 32N 6W - the confluence point we dreamt about for more than a year. It’s the third highest confluence point of Africa.
During the year we tried to find out which was the best way to reach it, from the West or the East. The east side seemed more difficult but closer to a village. The west side looked easier but it was about 10-12 km from a paved road.
On the internet I found a small organization “Cyber-Berbère” which owns a gite in Anergui, a small village on the east side of the mountain. It was located 7-9 km from the point. “Cyber-Berbère” arranged a 4X4 car, a driver, a guide, a muleteer, a cook, a night at the gite, and a night in a nomad house, which was great. We did not tell “Cyber-Berbère” about our plan to visit 32N 6W because most of the time people do not understand this confluence hunting.
Around 6:00 PM we arrived in Marrakech and took a Grand Taxi to Hotel Almas. The swimming pool on the roof was closed. We stayed for one night. In the evening we ate some Moroccan snacks (cactus fruits) and visited the famous “Place Jemaa el-Fna” and the “souks”. We saw an interesting game. People had to put a ring around a bottle with soft drink. The ring was attached to a string which was connected with a fishing rod. The price was the bottle.
On “Place Jemaa el-Fna” we ate BBQ meat and some fresh orange juice. There were around 10 orange juice “bars” next to each other. Each of them claiming to be the best. Farhad and Ton tried camel meat, which was tough meat, according to them. It turned out not to be the only thing Ton and Farhad wanted to experience in Morocco, like holding a goat, try a hammam, or see some belly dancing.
Next morning Farhad lost faith in his iphone. The alarm went off one hour to late. The breakfast was very good. At 10:00 AM the driver and the guide, Omar, got us from Marrakech to Anergui in 6-7 hours. We stopped in Azilal and at a reservoir lake called “Bin el-Ouidane” for lunch, tea, and bought food for our expedition. Strange, at the dam it was not allowed to take photos. Afraid of terrorist attacks?
The 4X4 car was really needed because there was no paved road between the village of Anergui and the gite. Our old driver was very skillful. He managed to get us to the gite alive and Farhad did not have to throw up. Omar did ask him several times: “You need plastic bag?” During the trip to Anergui we also enjoyed Berber music, saw spectacular views of the valley of Anergui, and Omar was singing Berber songs, clapping in his hands.
In the gite, we unveiled to Omar our master plan to visit 32N 6W. He showed us his route to the nomad house and back to the gite. His intended route was quite close to the point. So we were very optimistic about this. Omar also did not see any problem. We had a delicious dinner and made some photos of the very starry sky, which we do not have in Delft.
Next morning at 8:00 AM we headed for the mountains. A mule carried our sleeping bags, water, and food. The cook and the muleteer with his mule went ahead of us to the nomad house. They did not wear sturdy mountain shoes. Moustafa did not wear them either and did not seem to need them. Although sometimes his ankle was hurt by a rock. In the beginning we were walking along a stream in a gorge. Unfortunately Ton fell and a twig or branch punctured his lower left arm. Bleeding. He took care of it with a bandage.
After a walk of 2.5 km, we started climbing the east side of the mountain.
During our way up we saw a lot of juniper bushes ("jeneverbes" in Dutch) and Moroccan oak. I also saw the path I thought about when I was at home in the Netherlands. Goats and sheep were climbing the mountains too on the other side of the gorge. Amazing, these goats and sheep do not seem to fall from the steep mountains.
In the sky a royal eagle was looking for prey. Omar told us he did not see a royal eagle for a long time. Sometimes we had a rest and sat in the shadow of a Moroccan oak, eating all kinds of nuts that Omar had brought with him.
We met a woman with two kids. Omar gave some medicine and the bag with nuts. I gave some Dutch "drop" to them. The next day Omar also gave medicine to another family.
After 5-6 km we arrived at the nomad house. It was around 3:00 PM. Inside the nomad house we ate lunch, which was already prepared for us. Still time to go to 32N 6W? No, we decided to do this the next day. What should we do the rest of the day?
Farhad asked the nomad family if we could help them. After a few minutes he was cutting wood, which was not as easy as it seemed. Later we filled up almost twenty jerry cans with water and gave water to plants. The nomad family was trying to grow apple trees. The well, we got water from, became empty after a while. A mule brought the jerry cans back to the nomad house.
Our cook showed us a trick to scare unwanted visitors away by throwing rocks with a long rope. At dusk goats and sheep came back to the nomad house. The dinner was fine and we made some photos of the very very starry night again. Stars were falling!
We decided to wake up at six because of the predicted heat during the day. It was a walk of about 3 km to the confluence point, crossing the highland of Irhzissane. At 7:00 AM we started. The morning sun was great. We saw very nice views from the mountains and ate some bread with tuna.
At around 10:00 AM we arrived at 32N 6W. All in all it took more time than we expected. Our guide Omar was speaking of a shitty point and called me crazy in a funny way. We took photos and before we knew it Omar was already descending.
Omar was going quite fast and we sometimes lost him. He wanted to get back to the village as soon as possible because he seemed to have an appointment in Marrakech in the afternoon. He planned to have lunch with us between 12:00 AM and 1:00 PM in the village. This did not happen. We needed two more hours.
The weather became very hot. We were descending fast and did not rest as much as yesterday. Unfortunately we had no food with us and we were running out of water. Farhad felt extremely miserable because of the lack of food.
After the descent, Ton and I jumped in the cold stream to cool off. From there we had to walk 2.5 km to the village. Our gite was on top of a hill so we had to do a final breathtaking climbing. The friendly people of the gite welcomed us at 3:00 PM and gave us water, soft drinks, and tea. After one hour we were able to speak again and had some food.
Although we were pretty tired, we decided to pack our bags and went to the waterfall of Ouzoud. We arrived in Ouzoud in the evening. Next morning we enjoyed the magnificent waterfall and swam there too. Later in the day our driver took us to a riad called “MonRiad” in the medina of Marrakech. That evening we had the honour to meet the Shakira of Morocco.
On the 16th, not before we had enjoyed a hammam, museum, and the souks, we went back to Amsterdam.