Day 25. Friday, 13th January.  Goulmima to Auberge Assaka.

Yesterday we decided to stay put. We discovered that the campsite had 2 washing machines. A rare occurrence for a Moroccan campsite. Too good an opportunity to miss, so we did all our washing. Fortunately it was a sunny day and we managed to get almost everything dry. Although it is beautifully bright and sunny, it isn’t warm. At night it is decidedly chilly.

In the afternoon we went for a walk around the town and I purchased another SIM card. We don’t seem to be able to get a data only card, so it won’t last very long. Adam had asked the campsite manager where he could buy “thongs”. He was able to get Adam some plastic Crocs, which will be just as good in the shower. Dennis decided he would have a pair too, so now they both proud possessors of beautiful white, plastic Crocs.

Todhra Gorge

We decided we would get up early and we’re on the road soon after 09.30. We needed time to visit the Todhra and Dades Gorges. En route we found a good Boulangerie and bought bread, croissants and pan au chocolate. 

City from yesterday

At the entry to Todhra Gorge is a beautiful old mud brick city. Todhra is an easy drive as it is a paved road. Also quite touristy, with stall holders selling all sorts along the roadside. small hotels and cafes everywhere. The scenery is spectacular. Amazingly camper vans are even driving this route. Absolutely crazy on such steep and narrow roads. A huge brand new dam has been constructed about half way up the gorge. As yet unfilled. Progress I suppose, but an eyesore. We are advancing slowly, as we make many stops to take photos. 

Stalls everywhere
Time for a photo stop

Dades Gorge

At the top of Todhra Gorge we are to turn and come back down Dades Gorge. The Sat-Nav gets a bit confused and we head off into the side streets of Agoudal. Everyone seems to know where we want to go and signal us to go on through the village. A young boy says he will show us the way and runs ahead of us beckoning us forward. Soon we see why the Sat-Nav became confused. A brand new road has been constructed beyond Agoudal. We thank the boy and give him 5 Dirhams. He says “Thank you very much” in perfect English.

From this….

We head off into Dades Gorge at a pace on a beautiful new road. It doesn’t last however and abruptly we are on a very narrow rocky, mud track. I am sitting on the side which is close to the edge and the drop is very substantial. Dennis tells me not to panic! Easier said than done. Unbelievably camper vans are even driving this route. Passing one is pretty scary. The views are amazing. 

To this….

We are concerned it is getting late. We know there are several camps at the lower end of the gorge but because of the terrain, progress is slow. Eventually we come to a sign for Auberge Assaka, which also advertises camping. It is a bit of a drive off the main track. 

A French camper van is already in residence. The welcome is not very friendly. They do not speak English and are only employees. I try to ascertain the price to camp. They telephone the camp owner and he tells me it costs what ever you want to pay. Whatever you feel it is worth. This is not a very satisfactory arrangement.

Adam then has a try as his French is fluent and is told the same thing. We then discuss with the two French ladies in the camper van, what they think is a fair rate. After more discussions we agree to have dinner in the Auberge and they say we can use the showers there. 

Dennis and I have lamb tagine and Adam has couscous. The lamb is all bones but the vegetables are very tasty. A plate of fruit followed for desert. The dining area was heated by a small wood burning stove in the corner. We are at nearly 3000 meters and it is freezing cold. I wouldn’t say it was the most comfortable meal I have eaten. Sitting on cushions so close to the floor, isn’t the easiest way to eat, especially for arthritic old limbs.

As the showers are hot, we decided we would indulge. Afterwards returning to Poki was a shock to the system. We very rapidly undressed and leapt under the duvet. 

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