Plants in the Sahara Desert
On our tour of Morocco we spent a night in the Sahara Desert camping in a Berber tent. The next day our guide woke us early, before dawn. This was so we could slog our way to the top of a nearby sand dune to witness the sunrise over the desert. Looking to the east from our vantage point we could see the Algerian border some 30 km away, though the actual border was disputed territory at the time.
Perhaps something many of the others in the tour group didn’t notice were the beautiful patterns made by clumps of grass growing on the dunes. Set against the deep red sand and emphasised by the early morning sun’s rays, they made quite an impression on me. I just had to take a series of photos.
Over the years during our many travels I look out for birds to photograph so I can add them to my site called Trevor’s Birding. When the birds are not showing themselves I often turn my camera lens towards things more botanical, especially flowers. We have some spectacular flowers here in Australia so that makes it easier. Sadly, we didn’t see any flowers in the Sahara Desert. On the other hand, these photos of the grasses growing there sure made up for that lack.
I am not sure what the grasses were as my speciality is birds. I had enough trouble identifying them. Even my wife, who has a lot of expertise in Australian native plants (see her website here), had some trouble identifying plants in Morocco and Spain during our holiday.
You can access more articles about our tour by going to the side bar or the archives here.
Dawn over the Sahara
On our tour of Morocco we had the privilege of experiencing dawn over the Sahara Desert. On the previous evening we had taken a camel ride into the desert. I have written about that in recent posts here. We had a delicious dinner of lamb and vegetables cooked in tagines for Christmas Eve, all consumed around a roaring camp fire. It gets cold in the Moroccan desert at night in December.
Later we slept in a Berber tent but we were woken by our guide well before dawn on Christmas Day. We slogged our way to the top of a nearby sand dune to witness sunrise over the desert. It was an amazing experience. The photo above shows the rising sun over towards the Algerian border about 30 km away. Our guide said that the border there was in dispute and this was about as close as we could safely go on our tour.
The photo immediately below shows some of our tour group watching and photographing the rising sun and the desert. The photos below that show some of the desert plant life, set against the colourful sand.
There was only one downside to this day; sand in our shoes!
Plenty of it, too.
I suspect some even made it through Spain and home to Australia.
Go to my archives to read more about our trip.
Lunch in the Ziz Valley
After leaving Errachidia and travelling along the Ziz Valley we stopped again at the Maison Vallee De Ziz for lunch. This hotel and restaurant was a road side stop but our guide knew that they served good meals. In fact, we were never disappointed with any of our meals during our two week tour of Morocco.
I think I actually amazed my wife and daughter with some of the meals I ordered. They were quite out of the ordinary compared with some of the food I like and order when we are dining out here in Australia. This trend continued into Spain, the next leg of our journey. I will write about that here in a few weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, please forgive me for posting a photo of my lunch. I will try not to bore with such things too much.
Scenes of the River Ziz Valley
In recent posts here on my travel site I have shown photos and written about our holiday in Morocco several years ago. Today I feature another set of photos of the River Ziz Valley in south eastern Morocco. Our tour guide (who was excellent – Peregrine Adventures) stopped our mini bus near the edge of the gorge so that we could get out and look down into the valley. After many hours of driving it was good to stretch one’s legs. I also liked the opportunity to take plenty of photos, too.
A feature of the gorge is the many date palms growing in the valley. Said, our wonderful guide, told us that the 140 kilometre valley had over one million palm trees, and he assured us that they had actually been counted. I would not like that job – even if paid in dates. Someone came to our bus and sold us a few boxes of dates. we enjoyed sharing the large, delicious dates for many days after that.
The last few photos in today’s post show several mud houses and some of the local people. They were immediately below where I stood on the cliff edge. I was able to get close-up views of them with my zoom lens.
In the coming days will be sharing more photos taken on this tour.
Dates from the River Ziz Gorge in Morocco
After travelling through the Atlas Mountains from Midelt we travelled through Errachidia until we came to the River Ziz Gorge. Our tour bus stopped near the edge of the gorge in one spot so that we could get out and wander over to the edge of the gorge to get some good photos.
The River Ziz Gorge is truly spectacular and meanders through this part of Morocco for about 140 kilometres. One of the features of this gorge is the enormous number of date palms. In fact, our guide told us that they number over one million trees. And yes – they have actually been counted! I don’t think I would like that job – you just figure out why!
Soon after stopping our bus a local date seller came along and we bought several boxes of the local produce. For the next few days we enjoyed sharing in this delicious fruit.