Over the Atlas Mountains into the heart of the country – Morocco the 2nd!


After the first turbulent experiences and adventures in Morocco (link to article), we realise that we also have to follow the busy route south to find the beautiful sides of the country. We always drive along the coast, toll-free and away from the motorway. Via Casablanca, where we have the new alternator we bought in Germany fitted as a precaution and explore the city a little while. We continue via the capital Rabat, with a short and relatively pleasant sightseeing stop.


The Hassan II. Mosque in Casablanca is one of the largest mosques in the world and only one of two that can be visited by non-Muslims in the whole of Morocco


I wonder what will stand the test of time? -.-


View of the old town of Rabat, the capital of Morocco


The Hassan Tower, minaret of a formerly huge mosque, and the royal mausoleum in the background


We plan to spend some time at two campsites in the area around the city of Essaouira, as the past few weeks here in Morocco have taken their toll on us.

We are usually only drawn to campsites when there are no launderettes in a country or the temperatures are not yet warm enough for an outdoor shower. It’s far too nice to be free in the countryside, especially if it’s a quiet site in the middle of nature. But after a few more unpleasant situations, we realise that “free standing”, which has worked wonderfully and without any problems in many countries over the last 1.5 years, is simply not possible in Morocco. It is a good 600 kilometres from Moulay Bousselham to our destination. Despite the difficulties, we split the journey into several stages and don’t just drive straight through.


Exploring Azemmour. Horse-drawn carriages are still widely used for transport and travelling throughout the country, even in cities


Residential alley in Azemmour


Small but nice – a village shop that also sells home-baked bread and local eggs!
We ended up spending over 4 weeks at the two campsites before continuing our journey towards Marrakech at the end of January with a detour via Essauouira, including a visit to the city.

The medina (old town) was built in the 18th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site


View of the harbour in Essaouira


Feasting on bakery bites in Essaouira




Marrakech feels like the place to be if you want to take a short trip to the Arab world and indulge in the hustle and bustle, including an adrenaline rush. The city centre of Morocco’s “secret” capital, which has just under one million inhabitants, is correspondingly crowded. There are also countless tourists from all corners of the world. This colourful mix meets every evening on the “Square of the Hanged”. Well, mostly the locals are on the square and the tourists watch the spectacle from the roof terraces of the neighbouring bars.

We are impressed by the colourful variety of goods on offer in the alleyways. In many cities, these now exude a distinct whiff of “Made in China” or simply lack variety. Fortunately not in Marrakech! Apart from the nerve-wracking trade with every purchase, which can of course also be seen as a micro-adventure, it is fun to stock up on beautiful things in the extensive alleyways of the souks.

Follow us into this lively city by clicking on the following gallery:



The snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains can already be seen from Marrakech. After the hustle and bustle of the city, the tranquillity of the mountains is just what we need. In fact, we are delighted to find it after just one overnight stop on a side route at an altitude of around 1700 metres. Here we are even undisturbed, completely undetected by the hitherto mostly over-motivated security authorities and spend a quiet time in the “silence”, which is even crowned with drifting snow.

Admire this beautiful corner of the world by clicking on the following gallery:



The “Route of the Kasbahs”, whose gateway is the town of Ouarzazate, takes us to the south of Morocco. Kasbahs are mud castles that served as dwellings as well as defence and storage castles. Many of these imposing buildings now stand empty and are slowly falling into disrepair. As only natural materials such as clay, straw, reeds and wood were used in their construction, no traces remain at the end of this process of decay. In our eyes, this is a positive aspect, as materials are used in modern construction all over the world that will eventually have to be treated as hazardous waste.


View of the famous Ait-Benhaddou, whose ksar has often been used as a film set


Before we set off on the “Road of 1,000 Kasbahs”, as it is also known, we want to spend a few nights at a campsite near Ouarzazate. This was recommended to us some time ago and is said to be so special due to its great location in the middle of the palm trees of the oasis gardens on the edge of the town. And indeed, not only is the campsite uniquely beautiful, but all the people there are open, warm and friendly! Not only on the pitch itself, but also on the paths to the neighbouring gardens, we are always greeted in a very friendly manner by the people, especially by the older people, sometimes with a handshake! We are more than surprised by the changed attitude and are therefore confident that we have now found the heart of Morocco with the “Route of the Kasbahs”.


Oasis feeling at the campsite near Ouarzazate


Date palms, Ouarzazate and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains


This is farming in Morocco


Without travelling long distances, our first day of the onward journey is already full of new impressions. In Ouarzazate, we visit the Taourirt Kasbah, which has been meticulously restored in sections and is unfortunately somewhat faceless as a result. Despite being cordoned off, we try to get into the old part of the castle, where construction work is still in progress. Unfortunately, we can’t get into the desired rooms on the upper floors, as many of the rooms are still in danger of collapsing. But we do get a good impression of what the state of the old walls would be like without renovation.


Already shining in new splendour – the Kasbah Taourirt!


View from the Kasbah over the dry river plain to the palm grove where the campsite is located


What we have been enjoying here in Morocco for some time now are the various delicious goods from the small bakeries that can be found everywhere. To our surprise, there is not only the traditional bread, but often a variety of sweet baked goods and these at really very affordable prices of around 10 to 30 cents a piece and always in good quality! So we stop off again at Patisserie Paris, which we visited a few days ago, and stock up for the afternoon. 🙂

Our destination for the night and afternoon coffee is the reservoir not far from the town. Unfortunately, it is only a shadow of its former self. We have been told by various sources that, depending on the region of Morocco, it has not rained for between one and three years!

However, thanks to the elevated position of our self-selected pitch near the lake, we have a fantastic panoramic view as far as the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.


We enjoy the view and the last rays of sunshine


Evening atmosphere at the reservoir.


We don’t yet realise what a special encounter awaits us the next morning. Shortly after waking up, we spot a herd of dromedaries wandering through the expanses of the dry lake basin below us. We quickly throw on some clothes, grab our cameras and slowly approach the graceful animals.

For a long time, we only observe them from a distance and enjoy the scenery in complete silence. A few dromedaries approach and eye us with curiosity.

We seem trustworthy and, to our surprise, Sophia lets us stroke the first animal! The furry creature visibly enjoys it and is soon joined by a second dromedary. Even Chris seems small next to these big animals. It is a uniquely wonderful experience to see how calm these animals are in their natural environment.

Feel the moment with us again with the pictures in the following gallery:



In the next post, you’ll find out how things will continue in the region, which seems to have been changed!

Adventurous greetings

Chris & Sophia


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