Day 11 - Meknes to The High Atlas

Its an early start for us at 8am. The transport is loaded and ready to go by 9am. We head out in convoy behind Mike and Carol in their Nissan Crew Cab. They clearly have the edge on us for speed on the main roads.

We're heading through forest now. Mike pulls over ahead and parks behind another vehicle. We pull up. There's monkeys in the trees!

Monkeys!

Further on we see a large white hawk - possibly an eagle - flying majestically in the hazy sky.

We reach the tiny village of Rich and top up with fuel. From here we leave the tarmac behind, and now Elsa is leading. We're heading for the High Atlas mountains.

High Atlas ahead

There are no signposts as we hit a tiny village. Children come out shouting and asking for presents. "Donnez-moi un stylo!" and "Bonbon!" become familiar cries. They don't tell us where to go so Sam follows his nose. We're on another rough track out of the village.

We enter a narrow gorge, with high bare rock climbing above us and green agriculture in the bottom, where water still flows.

In the Canyon

Stone and mud villages cling to the sides, and as we pass through them life stops as they wave and shout at us. I don't think many white Land Rovers are seen in these parts.

in the gorge

villages cling to the rock

mud and rock buildings

After a good few miles of being in this canyon the view opens out to a landscape of small scrub and distant hills. We have followed the river upstream and are now approaching the top of its catchment. It's now getting dark and so we look for a good place to camp. We pull off the main track and stop on a flat spot above the river, which is fairly dry here. A local on a horse walks past in the distance. We are away from all the city lights.

As we start brewing up for tea and coffee, and cooking up our food for the evening, we notice we are not along. Our presence has been noticed by alien eyes. Large, black beetles have appeared from under the rocks and out of the bushes. Showing no fear they approach our lights and fires. I'm glad its my turn to sleep in Elsa!

Where's Elsa?
- High Atlas to Ouarzazate