Archive for October, 2013

Subsistence Farming in Morocco

Farmhouse in eastern Morocco

Simple homes like the one shown above are a common sight in the poorer parts of rural Morocco. At this point we were still travelling through the Atlas Mountains south east of Fes. As you can see in the picture, the terrain is very rocky all around. This means that there is no shortage of building materials – cheap, handy, easy to use and effective. Interestingly, the farmer is in the process of improving the look of the house by applying what looks like a form of whitewash to the walls.

Despite the remote location of this farm I notice that they do have a supply of electricity. I also note the satellite dish on the right hand side wall. In some of the towns such dishes could be seen in their hundreds, sometimes dozens on one apartment building alone. If you look carefully you can see the farmer ploughing the ground up the hill behind the house (see enlarged photo below). I have no idea what he was intending to grow. This was the middle of winter so he was getting ready for planting something in the early spring perhaps.

I noticed very few tractors in the poorer rural areas of Morocco. Donkey power was common, however, and this farmer was also using a donkey coupled with what looks like a mule.

Farming in eastern Morocco

An encounter with a local in Morocco

A local boy and his donkey

At one point as we were traversing the Atlas Mountains our guide asked our driver to stop on the side of the road so that we could get out and take a few photos of the scenery. As soon as we stopped one of the local boys rode quickly up to us on his donkey. Because he had a number of large plastic containers strapped to his animal, I assumed he was on his way to fetch some water for his family.

It turned out that he an entrepreneurial streak in his character. As soon as he arrived he insisted on being paid so that we could take his photo. I think some of the touring party obliged. We also gave him some dates we had bought the day before.

Negotiating with a local boy and his donkey

Our tour bus and the tour group in Morocco

Col Du Zad in the Atlas Mountains

Col Du Zad, Atlas Mountains

As we drove through and over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco we went through some amazing gorges and also over some very high passes. One of them was theCol Du Zad shown in today’s photos. At 2178 metres (over 7000 feet) it is reasonably high and accounts for the snow lying around. The air was also very cold.

Col Du Zad, Atlas Mountains

Col Du Zad, Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

On our tour of Morocco we passed through and over the Atlas Mountains on several occasions. They are truly spectacular and the passage through these mountains is a memorable experience.

Most people who don’t know about Morocco probably think that the country is just hot desert and drifting desert sands. Possibly the last thing that they think about is snow! Yes – that is snow in the photo above.

However, we didn’t see all that much snow on our trip. Despite it being the middle of winter, our guide told us that the snow season was late and the falls had to that point been very poor (it was mid December) .

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Life can be hard in Morocco

Rural scene in eastern Morocco

While the cities and many of the towns of Morocco are modern and vibrant like we’d expect, rural Morocco in some parts has little in the way of modern facilities and infrastructure. While most of the country has a good supply of water and power, not everyone enjoys these amenities.

As we were travelling along south east of Fes I photographed this women heading off across a desolate landscape to collect water. Her two donkeys are festooned with water bottles for her to collect her daily supply. I have no idea how far she had to ride to get her water, but I did notice public wells or bores at intervals along the highway on which we travelled.

Rural scene in eastern Morocco