There are a number of destinations in Morocco which require you to travel off-road in order to reach them. We would spend the next 2 days of our tour crossing the desert, travelling on, what often appeared, to be nothing more than a vast stretch of land with the odd GPS marking.
Our fabulous driver, Ahmed, expertly maneuvered our vehicle across roads ranging from crushed rock to mud flats to sand dunes, seemingly knowing where he was going! At one point I asked him if he possessed an inner GPS to determine which path to take or which desert sand dune to select.
He assured me there were signs. Perhaps he was referring to this one!
After a few hours of driving, we found ourselves stopping in the middle of the desert for lunch. Unbeknownst to us, our guide Driss & our driver Ahmed, had purchased supplies to prepare a wonderful lunch for us.
Feeling like we were on an episode of Survivor, the boys quickly went to work, making a fire, for out mint tea.
Yet another example of these young men providing us with an incredible experience!
As we took to the rocky roads once again, one of the funniest moments of our trip occurred.
All of a sudden, from the very back of the vehicle, Zara, one of our travel mates, screamed out , “STOP THE CAR!” Ahmed hit the breaks, alarmed that something was terribly wrong, only to realise, much to his relief, that Zara merely wanted to stop to take a picture.
Apologizing to Ahmed that she had had a sudden lapse in memory, mistaking him for her husband, she then went on to explain that if he was going to get married one day, he had better get used to getting yelled at, especially when it came to directions. Driss interpreted to Ahmed what Zara had just said, sending both of the boys into hysterical laughter.
For the next several kilometers, we laughed until our sides hurt. Ahmed kept Zara in view through the rearview mirror just in case she decided he needed to pull over once again. A young man who catches on very quickly!
It was just after that fit of laughter the following pictures were taken, a few of my very favourites from this adventure. They capture the pure joy of this experience, the meeting of old friends & new.
Every time I look at Driss & Ahmed in these shots, I feel a sense of gratitude for having met them & for having such a fabulous group of gals to travel with.
When travelling off-road through the desert in Morocco, every once in awhile you pass a remote guest house like this lovely one we spent the night in just outside of Ramlia. A welcome reprieve from all of our driving.
Feeling refreshed after a great meal, a shower to wash away all of the dust, & a good night’s sleep, the next morning we continued our journey across the desert.
Weaving our way through sand dunes & mudflats, Driss explained that this particular part of the journey has been used as part of some races across the desert, & is known to be one of the most difficult legs of the race.
It was unbelievable to us that people use this path as a means of getting from one place to another, as there appears to be no roads at all. Only the tracks of your tires are seen as you pass through the area, quickly filled in by blowing sand.
After a few hours of feeling like we were on a rollercoaster ride, we were grateful when we finally hit pavement!
Our next stop would take us to Ahmed’s family home, where we had been invited for lunch. Like Driss, when the rare opportunity is presented to visit home, the welcome mat is extended to, not only family, but any visitors that happen to be along for the ride!
Meeting Ahmed’s family was like stepping into one big boisterous family reunion. As we pulled up, we were embraced with an energy & excitement that never stopped the whole time we were visiting.
Enthusiastic conversation & laughter lives in this house. As many as 19 people share this home, crossing 4 generations, including Ahmed’s 100 year old grandfather. Perhaps it is the wonderful energy in this home that keeps him going!
From the first moment I met Ahmed, I sensed he possessed a big personality. I am not certain if it was the glint in his eye or his mischievous grin, but despite the fact that we didn’t speak the same language, it didn’t take us long to figure out this young man possessed a wonderful sense of humour & a very big personality. After spending some time with his family, it was evident to us where he inherited those effervescent genes from!
Like Driss, I am so grateful to have met Ahmed. Both of them will forever leave an imprint in my heart.