On Friday I headed south to Merzouga. Supposed to be a 5+hr ride, but the roads have been improved.

Enroute saw TWO versions of the Grand Canyon. Again could not stop to take photos of the great scenery. This is just a hint……

The iffy roads appear at Rissani, but once out of the city smooth tarmac again.

Rode in, and almost out of Merzouga. But the tarmac stopped. Literally. Just desert ahead.
I was about to dial-up Booking-dot-com when Ali (“I am an authentic Berber”) appeared on his Honda 50cc. He promised me an authentic experience. One night in the desert and one in the hotel. So I decided to give it a try. By the time we had ridden to the hotel, I was wishing I was on Ali’s bike. No tarmac, just some hard-packed gravel and lots of sand. The little Honda skipped along the surface. My loaded motorcycle was OK in a straight line, but iffy on turns. Still, praise be to Allah, I did not fall over.
Once in the hotel, Mubarrek took over the price negotiations. We ended up well below his starting price. Nice to see that my time in Saudi was not wasted 🙂

15mins after we agreed on a price, I joined the camel train……

My advice: Don’t ride camels! But if you do, MAKE SURE YOU ARE SEATED AS COMFORTABLY as possible, BEFORE the camel stands up!!!
One of the Brazilians had grown up on a horse farm. She rode with aplomb and in comfort. The only one of us travellers, as far as I could see.

We watched the sun go down

Then followed the camels down to this camp

Had supper and an evening of chat.
Nice couple who work at this NICE hotel in Holland.
A crew from China, Ghana and Brazil who were over in Maroc during their holidays from school. Part of the AIESEC volunteer programme.
Hassan was the dutiful host. And after supper, we sat around the campfire for some singing, and star-gazing 🙂

Late to bed and up before 7am to catch the sunrise.

The return trip on the camel was more comfortable then the first.
Still not a recommendation to ride! hahahaha

We then had breakfast and said our goodbyes. I am staying here to rest and recover.
Head towards Marrakech on Sunday.


ps: how is my new navigation app NavFree? Still undecided. Does a good job of planning a route, once it accepts your destination. Am still working on the options, which are not intuitive. Time-frames for the routes can be very pessimistic