Wednesday, 22 November 2017

WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well.

I've just realised the possibility that my holiday's narrative will take me well over Christmas which means that while you are all be busy shopping for gifts, new outfits and food for the festive season, I will be busy finishing my story before I can resume writing about fashion.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
One might ask why did I start something that feels like a burden to finish?  The reason I embarked on this task is that I sincerely believe that my readers first, are enjoying reading about the places that they might never have been or if they have, like to know what other people think about them; second, I hope that my stories may inspire people to travel to the destinations they have not considered to see before but will change their mind afterwards.
In other words, the show must go on and without any further ado, I continue.  If you missed my post "DAY ONE IN MARRAKESH", you can read it here.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
We decided to dedicate our second day in Marrakesh to a field trip and booked a private car with a guide to take us to one of the highly recommended places to see while in Morocco - The Atlas Mountains.
There are a lot of things you can do there, from hiring a private car with a driver/tour guide who will drive you through a part of the mountains and back in a day, to trekking and camel rides and sleeping in the tents under the star studded skies.  We settled for a day trip.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Although we booked a car with an English speaking driver (the official language of Morocco is French), our guide's command of the language was rather rudimentary.
At first, it upset us a little but we made an effort to simplify our questions to him as much as possible and got quite satisfactory answers in return.  Besides, as we ventured further and further into the mountainside, we began to appreciate his driving skills over his linguistic ones.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
The Atlas Mountains extend over 2, 500 km over North Africa and stretch over Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.  They are in fact three distinct ranges that divide the country into strips of lower land with the High Atlas being the most accessible and closest to Marrakesh, within about an hour drive.  It is also a place for many retreats, one of them, Kasbah Tamadot, is owned by none then Sir Richard Branson himself.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
As the car sped off into the mountains, we were absolutely stunned by passing scenery - miles and miles of red soil sparsely peppered by red houses surrounded by tall red walls, occasion palm trees and bushes, a lone donkey rider with the hot North African sun shining high above this infertile land.  It was quite dramatic and the further we went, and the higher our car climbed, the more dramatic it became.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS

WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
The Atlas Mountains are populated by Berbers, one of the oldest ethnic groups of North Africa, with their own rich history, culture and traditions.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Described as Nomads by the West, these days they are mainly farmers who live very simple but not very easy lives.   Not to me, anyway.  Here and there you can see their settlements comprised of the cluster of red brick and mud small housed clinging to the cliffs.

We made few stops along the way to buy fresh fruit and take some pictures of life around us that looked totally alien to ours.
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS

WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKESH - ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Our last stop was at Ourika Valley where we had lunch at one of the myriads of the restaurants situated along the river banks with the tables placed in the shallow water and the diners had to take the shoes off and let their feet be cooled off by the water.
We, however, opted to have our lunch on dry land.  It was simple but very tasty, meat cooked on charcoals with fresh vegetables salad and traditional Moroccan bread.
After a short stroll through the small local market, it was time to return to the car and head back to Marrakesh.



Before I say goodbye, I would like to share with you recipe of Spicy Carrot Salad  with Pistachio Nuts and dried Cranberries from My Cosmopolitan Kitchen.  It is very easy to make, it's healthy and delicious and is a great accompaniment to many dishes.
spicy carrot salad
Enjoy!!!