6 May, 2022

In a departure from the ride details in the Welcome Pack we’d not be riding the planned 130km. This was due to having done the Dades Gorge the previous afternoon. As it turned out I’d be on the T7 for less than 100km today.  This also meant our planned 8:30am departure actually took place at 9:00am. The extra half hour was welcome as we we departed on our penultimate riding day.

As usual I awoke early and did some packing before breakfast. I also had the opportunity to take a few photos of the La Pearl du Dades and it surroundings.

 

Nice here although a bit out of town.  It was typical of our accommodation on this trip.  Top shelf but a bit far from town for exploring on foot. At least our dinner last night was also top shelf.  Breakfast was too.

After breakfast I finished packing, loaded the bike and settled my bill for the red wine I had with dinner.

We departed and made our way south west on an unnamed road that mirrored the nearby N10.  Lucky for us the unnamed road was a cracker.

 

Long sweeping undulating bends feature in all my favourite roads.  Every now and then the road surface was a tad dodgy.  Yet these were easy to see and avoid.  What a great road to start this short riding day.  We stopped a little before where they joined for some photos.

After joining the N10 the scenery remained spectacular.  The ride though was less memorable.  Shortly after Idelsane we turned hard left and pulled over to regroup.  In the distance we could see what appeared to be a bright light on top of a very tall flagpole.  It was the Noor Ourzazate Solar Power Complex.  I was to learn later it’s the worlds largest solar power station.  Pretty impressive and memorable!

 

Back on the bikes and five minutes later we arrive at this evenings accommodation. The Hotel Sultana Royal Golf is on the northern shore of the now near dry Barrage El Mansour Eddahbi.  We stopped for a drink and to check into our rooms.

 

Over a drink we discussed the plan for the afternoon. A ride out to Fint Oasis with Billy via Atlas Movie Studios.  We would have lunch somewhere appropriate whilst out.  This would involve some off-road riding and an easy river crossing. I quizzed Billy on how technical this ride would be. After some discussion I decided it was not for me on an unfamiliar motorcycle that was a little bit too high for me.  Instead I would go in the support vehicle with Abdoul.  So there were four of the group riding with Billy and four going in the support vehicle.

To put this excursion into perspective the map below shows our route and where we stopped. We travelled anti-clockwise starting and ending at the Hotel.

 

Our first stop was the movie studios.  In particular a set of a castle that was allegedly used in Game of Thrones.  The motorcycles had arrived a few minutes before the support vehicle.  We joined them for some photos.

 

Even though I’d seen GOT several times I wasn’t sure which castle this was. I ‘ll keep an eye out for on my next viewing to confirm.  This post makes reference to Atlas Studios so I guess some GOT filming took place there.  Google Maps refers to this as the Kingdom of Heaven movie set.  Regardless it was impressive and up close it was clear it wasn’t made of stone.  Next stop was lunch somewhere between the castle set and Fint Oasis.

Unfortunately this was to be our lunch low point of the trip.  We’d had a disappointing petrol station lunch on Day 3 of the trip on our way to Errachidia.  Todays petrol station lunch would prove to be worse.

 

From the outside this place looked ok. But looks can be deceiving. Apart from our group the place was empty.  The printed menus on our table were obsolete today. Instead we had a choice of Tagine (chicken or beef) or Chicken Skewers.  I ordered the skewers on the misplaced assumption these would be quicker to cook.  Abdoul played order-taker/translator again and we waited for our food and drinks.  Another misplaced assumption was that petrol station food is also fast food.

We received our drinks within a reasonable timeframe.  I took this as a good sign.  But getting cans of Coke and bottles of water out of a fridge isn’t that challenging a task though.  When my lunch arrived my bottle of water was already consumed.  Even though my skewers were ok that’s about the best compliment I can muster. Abdoul’s Beef Tagine was the last meal served and it was cold.  He didn’t eat it.  Enough time had passed and we needed to make our way to Fint Oasis.

My top lunch tips when travelling in Morocco are

  • visit well clear of Ramadan
  • steer clear of dining at petrol station cafes/restaurants.

Since leaving Hotel Sultana Royal Golf we’d not been on any dirt roads that were beyond my ability.  Sure there were dirt roads on the movie studio lot to and from the mock castle but nothing challenging.  The motorcycle seemed a good option as we pulled out of the petrol station in the support vehicle.  Did I make a bad choice?

Heading south of Ourzazate we passed though a new residential development.  Very few houses existed.  There were so many streets of empty lots.  I wondered to myself if the developer was now bankrupt.  At least the streets were well laid out.  A caravan of wild camels roamed the streets seeking anything to sustain them.

 

Further south we left the sealed road and descended on a tricky dirt road into the valley that led to Fint Oasis. I could have made this on the motorcycle by going super slow and cautious. On the way though I was glad to be in the support vehicle. We soon came to the river crossing. The river was low but these things you can only predict when you get there. A few more tight turns and we arrived at La terrase des délices.  The guys on the motorcycles had already arrived so we joined them for a cool drink.  Over a bottle of cold water I took into the views over the oasis.  How very Moroccan!

 

Fint Oasis was 20km from downtown Ourzazate.  Our hotel was 26km east of downtown Ourzazate.  The journey back to hotel skirted the edge of Ourzazate and was 38km.  It took us almost 50 minutes to get back.  On arrival I had a few beers before having a pre-dinner rest in my huge albeit dated hotel room.  Some of the others enjoyed a game of mini golf.

It was a shame we were so far out of Ourzazate.  This Hollywood of Morocco was famous for the movies shot in the studios within the city limits.  Plus there were other filming locations nearby.  I’d definitely come back here if I were in Morocco again.  A day trip or two out of Marrakech.

Well rested I joined the group for a delicious alfresco dinner on the roof terrace over the bar.  Traditional Moroccan cuisine and plenty of wine and beers. Tomorrow would be our last day on the motorcycles.  We’d be back in Marrakech late afternoon.  The day after I’d be up early for the journey back home.

 

 

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