5 May, 2022
Breakfast at the Desert Camp was delicious. A perfect way to start the day after my best nights sleep in Morocco. It also provided an opportunity to check out the desert camp in the early morning light. A little more windswept than my recollections of the previous evening.
After breakfast we made the short walk to the hotel where we’d stored our luggage. We changed into our riding gear and settled the extras from the night before. Around 9:15am we made our way to where we’d parked the motorcycles and hit the road.
Retracing our route from yesterday to Erfoud. Here we stopped for morning tea.
My double espresso was well received and after a half hour break we were back on the bikes. We took the R702 out of Erfoud to the north east. Shortly after Fezna Ouled Jellal we pulled over to see a Khettara. A Khaettara is an underground irrigation system. That is, a long tunnel that connects water wells and their sources. It is a traditional method of irrigation known since ancient times. It drains groundwater through the main channel by gravity from top to bottom.
We explored a short section of the underground tunnel and a well. Most interesting. Lucky for us there was no water in the tunnel. Afterwards we had some tea made by the caretaker and her grand daughter.
Departing the Khettara around 11:30am we continued on the R702 for another 60km. On the outskirts of Tinejdad we stopped to regroup.
It was now after noon and my thoughts were turning to lunch. Our stop outside Tinejdad was at the intersection of the R702 and the N10. After 50km on the N10 we were close to Tinghir. Fingers crossed we’d be stopping in Tinghir for lunch. But no. To my dismay lunch would have to wait. Instead we turned right onto the R703. I was unsure what our plans were. The R703 offered spectacular views of the Todra River Oasis and Atlas Mountains.
After 20 minutes we arrived at Todra Gorge. After passing through the Gorge we did a U-Turn and parked our motorcycles. Wow! The scenery was definitely worth the detour. Lunch could wait for the time being.
We made our way back to Tinghir for a late lunch at Café Restaurant La Place. The traditional Bread, Chicken Skewers and Moroccan Salad I had were delicious. Not exactly fast food but it would keep me going for the afternoon.
It was an uneventful 50km ride to Boumalne Dades on the N10 where we stopped to regroup. One of our riding group was going straight to the hotel. The rest of us had a challenging ride ahead us to one of Morocco’s most famous scenic photo opportunities. I was looking forward to it.
We left Boumalne Dades around 4pm and headed north on the R704. It follows the Dades River to its source in the Atlas Mountains. After 20km we stopped for photos of the unique Monkey Paw Mountains. Spectacular and well worth the stop.
From here the road became challenging and technical. Pretty soon we were deep into the Dadès Gorge on a series of very tight and steep switchback turns. At the top was an imposing building which was once a hotel. Now only the Cafe-resaurant Timzzillite Chez Mohamed we pulled in to park and take in the view. For me it was the best view of the day. Do you agree?
That was as far as we would go into the mountains on the R704 today. We turned around and commenced the ride back down the gorge to our hotel in Boumalne Dades. Seemed easier going down the steep technical section. Within an hour we arrived at La Perle du Dades. Looks good.
And it was good. We arrived around 6pm after doing all up a tad over 330km for the day. I was pretty weary and enjoyed a couple of beers before dinner. Later we dined al fresco. Traditional Moroccan dishes (you know them by now) that we pre-ordered when checking in. My Chicken Cous Cous was delicious. A couple of glasses of the local red went down well also.
Another great ending to a great day of motorcycle riding in Morocco.