Morocco (February 2020): (3/3) Days 5, 6, and 7 of trek
Day 5 of trek (from waypoint 061 to waypoint 074, 17km):
Path followed on Day 5 (red line).
[Reminder: To access the GPS-recorded waypoints first click here to download the morocco-2020.kmz file and then open this file in Google Earth.]
A short distance after leaving camp 4 we passed by a marabout, a small shrine containing the grave of Sidi Naji, a Muslim holy man (and a member of an important family of south Morocco). It is the site of an annual pilgrimage.
Adobe remains of an older village (perhaps a former caravan stop), next to the marabout.
Individual graves between the village remains and the marabout.
After stopping at the marabout we made a 90dg turn and headed north toward Oued Draa.
Features created by the erosion of dried mud.
As we approached the Draa riverbed, we saw more and more traces of old floods.
Haze caused by the wind over the dry and dusty riverbed of Oued Draa.
The Draa riverbed.
Bourbra well, on the bank of Oued Draa. Nowadays most wells in the area, including this one, are made of concrete.
We set our large tent for lunch a short distance from the well, beside a large tamarind tree.
After lunch we continued heading toward the north, in the direction of the mountain range visible in the photo below. Along the way we saw more traces of past floods.
Herder on a motorcycle driving a dromedary back to its flock!
First and only patches of green grass and yellow flowers encountered during the trek. There were many bees, suggesting that there was some open water nearby.
Isolated acacia tree.
Feeding the dromedaries at camp 5.
Day 6 of trek (from waypoint 074 to waypoint 086, 23km):
Path followed on Day 6 (red line).
For the entire day we headed northwest toward a mountain range called Jbel Bani (see the main Morocco 2020 page for a note about the name ″Jbel Bani″). The terrain was uniformly flat, except at the end of the day when we entered a relatively narrow, but extremely beautiful band of sand dunes.
Groups of acacias along the way.
Lunch stop in the shade of an acacia.
Last well before the mountain.
Reaching the band of sand dunes below Jbel Bani.
The juxtaposition of the dark golden color of the sand at this location with the almost black mountain backdrop created some of the most stunning views in the entire trek.
One of our dromedaries enjoying the evening sunlight, at our camp 6.
Day 7 of trek (from waypoint 086 to waypoint 104, 21km):
Path followed on Day 7 (red line).
On this last day of trek Oumar and I ascended Jbel Bani along a trail leading to Tizi Tazigzaout (mountain pass) and then followed the crest of the elongated mountain range toward the southeast. Meanwhile, Bada et al. took a more direct path to our last camp at waypoint 104. The crest of Jbel Bani culminates at 879m, about 300m above our camp 6, offering gorgeous views over the plains on the two sides of the range. It is bordered on its northeastern side by a steep rocky escarpment and on its southwestern side by much gentler slopes.
One of our dromedaries on a dune at dawn at camp 6.
Loading the dromedaries at camp 6 for the last day of trek.
Beautiful morning light on the dunes between our camp and the mountain.
Reaching the base of Jbel Bani along a trail leading to Tizi Tazigzaout.
Looking back toward the south during the ascent.
Looking up toward Tizi Tazigzaout.
Reaching the crest of the mountain. Jbel Bani is definitively a huge stack of sunburned rocks.
View toward the southwest from the crest. The long yellow band of dunes where we had set our camp 6 is clearly visible in the upper part of the photo.
View toward the north, with the escarpment of Jbel Bani on the left and the plain on the northeastern side of the mountain on the right.
View toward the east, with Tagounite in the background on the center-left of the photo.
The plain on the northeastern side of Jbel Bani.
The steep escarpment on the northeastern side of Jbel Bani seen from above.
Flat areas on top of Jbel Bani. Remains of abandoned shepherd settlements are visible on the second photo below.
Other views of the northeastern escarpment of Jbel Bani.
View toward the southwest.
View toward the north.
View toward the southeast from a location near waypoints 100. Jbel Magag (see Day 1 of trek) stands in the background in the middle of the photo.
Past waypoint 100 we entered an unearthly area covered by large pink rocks.
Last view over the southern plain, just before our descent. Bada et al. had already set our camp 7 close to the N9 road between Tagounite and M′Hamid.
In the evening, for the first time during this trek, there were dark clouds in the sky...
..but thanks to them we had our most beautiful sunset of the trip...
...and on the next morning our most beautiful sunrise.