On our tour of Morocco, I took every opportunity to do some birding.
It proved to be more difficult than I thought. Because we were with a mini-bus tour group, the opportunities to stop and watch – and photograph – the local birds were somewhat limited. I was constantly distracted by looking at the sights, as well as taking photos of the buildings and scenery, as well as listening to our guide and keeping up with the tour group.
In many situations, I could not take the time to get good photos which would have helped with identification later. During our visit to the beautiful Kasbah Ameridhil, I was able to take several photos, and these are featured today. Sadly, they are of very common species, birds I can see almost anywhere here at home in Australia. Above and below, I included photos of two differently coloured Rock Doves. The pure white one above is particularly nice; one does not normally get pure white birds in this varied species. It is more normal to get the plain grey and black colours as in the one below.
Another species present in large numbers was the House Sparrow, one of which is shown above. This species appears to be very common in many parts of the world.
The last photo (below) is of a White Stork. I saw plenty of this species throughout our tour of Morocco. This pair – I am assuming that they are a pair – have constructed quite a massive nest on a nearby building. The birds are over a metre tall, so this nest would have to be four or five metres tall. They obviously do not get very strong winds in this area – or those birds are very good at constructing a solid nest.
You can read about Australian birds I have photographed on my other site Trevor’s Birding.
On our tour of Morocco, we stopped for a short while at the amazing Kasbah Ameridhil near Skoura. We had a guided tour of the buildings and saw some very interesting relics of a by-gone era (see photos below). This particular kasbah has been used as the backdrop for a number of films, including Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. This story is often included in the collection known as A Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
This Kasbah is the stuff of legends. Built in the 17th century, it not hard to let one’s imagination soar, with plots and intrigues, murders and sword fights as well as a whole nightmare of treacherous happenings. For the more romantically inclined, it is not hard to imagine secret trysts of lovers and murderous paybacks by those jilted in the process.
It is now a living museum of life in a kasbah. We saw displays of tools and instruments used down through the centuries, as well as hand-carved door locks, an olive-oil press, still-functioning bread ovens, and stalls where animals were once kept.
This Kasbah has pride of place in Moroccan history, and it is no surprise that it is featured on the 50 dirham banknote of Morocco.
On our last morning in the Dades Valley on our tour of Morocco, we had a wonderful treat for breakfast. Our tour guide was up early, scouring nearby farms for enough eggs to make us a genuine Berber omelette. Genuine or not, it was delicious, made even more palatable by the alleged effort made to procure the ingredients. I am not a great fan of omelettes at the best of times, but this treat was far superior to any other omelette I had ever tasted. It was followed by a delicious pancake.
While on our trip through Morocco I discovered that I had a palate that was far more adventurous than I thought. I was actually looking forward to experiencing the many tastes of Morocco as well as the scenery, the people and of course, the architecture. I was not disappointed on this trip – and we still had Spain ahead of us on this trip.
After our long walk along the Dades Valley the day before, we were pleased that the next day was mainly occupied in transit while sitting on the bus. When we left the Dades valley we drove along the Roses Valley, so-called due to the plentiful rose plants surrounding many of the fields. Locally, rose water and perfumes are made and sold at many outlets. At one of our stops, even my wife succumbed to lure of these local delights.
We travelled the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs towards the town of Skoura. Along the way, we passed through some desolate country which is shown in the photos on today’s post (see below). At certain points, we had distant views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, a spectacular range we would traverse later in our tour.
In the desolate areas, there were wide expanses of stony country and from time to time we passed a few hardy nomadic Berbers following their traditional ways. At one point, our guide astounded us by a little piece of Australia on the roadside. Several thousand hectares of the desolate land had been planted with Australian saltbush in the 1990s. This was supposed to provide extra food for the sheep and goats of the local shepherds. The plantations were abandoned after protests from the local people, but there is still some evidence on the plantations (see photos below).
HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY TO TREVOR’S TRAVELS
I can hardly believe that I started this blog 11 years ago. It was started with an account of my travels in Thailand and Nepal. During that trip I trekked with my daughter up towards Everest Base Camp. It was an amazing experience and one I highly recommend.
You can read about my adventures in those countries in one of the following ways:
- use the search function in the top right-hand corner
- use the archives button on the top bar of each page
- click on the “Contents” heading in the sidebar
- click on one of the topics in the cloud on the sidebar on the right
Each of these ways will take you to well over 1000 articles about my travels around the world. In many cases, I have included photos taken on our travels. The main places covered include the following:
Australia: my wife and I have travelled extensively throughout many parts of our home country. Along the way we take photos to share here and on my other site Trevor’s Birding. I enjoy taking bird photos where I can, as well as scenery shots to share here. I also like taking shots of native Australian flowers and plants which are of interest to my wife, as well as many of our friends.
Thailand: I only spent a few days in this country on my way to Nepal. Despite that, I made the most of my time, seeing some of the highlights of this interesting and beautiful country.
Nepal: my visit to Nepal was to meet up with my daughter who was on her way home from teaching in England for a year. Together, we had some amazing experiences on the route to Everest Base Camp. On this site I have shared some stunning scenery we saw on that trip.
Ethiopia: a few years ago my daughter again showed how adventurous she is by going to Ethiopia to teach for a semester. At the end of her time there my wife and I joined her, travelling around Addis Ababa and nearby parts of the country. This year our daughter has returned to teach in Ethiopia, this time for two years and we are hoping to make another visit soon.
Morocco: after our visit to Ethiopia the three of us continued on to travel around magical Morocco. This trip included many of the principal cities as well as rural highlights and the magnificent Sahara.
Spain: we concluded our wonderful journey by exploring southern Spain. We came away having fallen in love with the people and country, not to mention their food. We would dearly love to return to scintillating Spain.
I must apologise to my readers for a lack of new articles and photos on this site over the last few months. We have been very busy this year. Some of that time was taken on two trips to Sydney to look after our two grandchildren, ages 8 and 5. Each trip took about five weeks.
The rest of the time was occupied helping our daughter pack all of her belongings and putting them into storage for the time she will be in Ethiopia.
Life is now getting back to normal, so look for new articles and many more photos over the coming months.
Over recent weeks, I have been sharing many of my photos taken during a tour of Morocco. You can look back through these posts to read them, or you can use the archives to search for them – the link is above the title of this post.
Over the two weeks of our tour, we saw many magnificent buildings, especially those featuring mosaic tiles. These really caught our attention and we enjoyed visiting such buildings. Part way through our tour we spent two nights in the Dades Valley, a predominantly Berber region of the country. Here the architecture was quite different, as shown in today’s photos. One part of this area is the is known as the Road of the Thousand Kasbahs on which we travelled on our way to Skoura.
One of the architectural features of this region is the adobe buildings of the Berbers, as shown in today’s photos. These old kasbahs are mud structures, either made from mud-bricks or rammed earth. (If this is wrong, could my readers please enlighten me. Our guide was not forthcoming on this matter, and I didn’t ask.)
Many of the old kasbahs are no longer inhabited. A more modern building style in this area is also shown below. It may also be made from mud bricks, but the outer walls have a rendering which makes it look very stylish indeed. I suspect that this modern home may also have been made using local stone which is plentiful in this mountainous region of the Atlas Mountains.