Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Zagoa - a journey through the Merzouga desert

A Goosebumbs game box appeared out of nowhere...
It started with a journey. A long, hot, roundabout journey. We had packed our bags and left the hostel on the edge of town. It was the middle of the day, but the hostel owner had promised us it was 'just 15 minutes' to the meeting point. We set off on foot, bags on our backs, into the desert, not knowing exactly where we were going. We followed the road initially, taking detours across the sand to see the names of near by hotels, all that we knew was that we were looking for Kasbah Timbouktou and that it was the finest hotel in the area.

Hiking through the sand
Heat rose from the sand, distorting the hard lines of the buildings in the distance. We gave up on the road and walked in the direction of a cluster of buildings. As we drew near, 30 minutes later, two men under a woven palm leaf shade waved us over. 'Come my friends' they beckoned, 'take a rest, it is very hot'. We gladly accepted, the sun was high and we had already been walking twice as long as we had expected, with Timbouktou nowhere in sight. We asked our new friends where to find it, 'oh it is not far, 15 minutes from here' they said. They offered to call us a taxi or accompany us, but we politely declined, we had set off on foot and we wanted to complete the journey on foot. Besides... it was only 15 minutes... The men gave us directions, we thanked them for their shade and once again walked out into the heat.

The wrong hotel on the hill
After following the directions given for 15 minutes we spotted a hotel on a hill in the distance. That MUST be it we said, we kept our heads down and kept on trekking. The sand had given way to hot black shale, every small breeze brought a wave of heat, scorching our skin and it wasn't long before the water in our bottles was as hot as we were. By the time we had reached the hotel on the hill I was dizzy and delirious, my heart broke as we realised it was the wrong hotel. We sat in the shade in the car park of the hotel, hot and faint. A staff member saw us and beckoned us inside, we gratefully followed him. He gave us tea and peanuts and let us hang out in the lounge area for as long as we pleased, showing true Moroccan hospitality. Once we had revived ourselves we asked him about Timbouktou, 'It is not far, just 15 minutes from here' he said, although somehow we were expecting this answer. He took us to a window and pointed to a building in the distance 'That is Timbouktou'. At last we could see it, it really did exist! We picked up our bags, thanked our hosts and continued on our way through the desert, our spirits revived.

Making friends on the road..
After another 20 minutes we were there, we had made it! A man with a backpack on greeted us. 'Are you here for the party?' He enquired, 'They have changed the meeting place, it is now on the other side of the next village'. I was a mix of emotions, half of me wanted to laugh and the other half wanted to scream, but I knew no matter what I had to keep on walking. We were joined by another 6 people from all over Europe and Morocco and all 9 of us set off together, walking steadily, chatting and sharing water. After another 30 minutes a bus pulled over, 'Are you going to the party? Hop in, we'll take you to the meeting point', all out Christmas's had come at once. We all hopped in and collapsed into the seats, any remaining energy we had was sucked out of us once we knew everything was ok. Exhausted and relieved we arrived at the meeting point, a hotel with a pool, and lay in the shade for hours.
Sandstorm in the desert

When we finally arrived to the party in the middle of the desert we felt like we truly earned it. The next few days were a wash of thunderstorms, sandstorms, dancing, colour, hot sun and cold rain, beautiful people and an incredible lack of organisation. We met some amazing people and definitely came out with some strange stories. 
Getting home was another journey altogether! 

Beautiful desert sunrise. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello !! Your Welcome to Desert Morocco

    Great and nice pictures i’m very happy to hear that you spend a nice time in the desert of Morocco :)
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