17.03.2012 - 19.03.2012
It was a long, slow bus ride to get here, almost 7 hours, stopping first in Agidir. A share taxi would have been faster. The word Taroudant means, she who lost her children by the river. Because of the river, the Sousse Valley is very fertile, with many fruit trees and vegetables, including the famous argon tree. When we arrived at Chambres Les Amis, our guest house, our host was not here as his wife is in the hospital expecting a baby very soon. We went off in search of a tajine restaurant in the main square, accompanied by Katya and Bjorn a young German couple who will trek with us for a few days. We had no idea they would be joining us, but are happy to have their company. Said, who we thought would be our guide, and whose name we got from the Lonely Planet, will not go, but instead has arranged for Abdel, to take us. This came as a surprise. Said is apparently only a middle man who runs the guest house, and managed to get his name in The Book , because of his former French wife's connections. Hmmm.
We managed to find the restaurant after a while, and Said met us there to give us a brief tour of the souk. No doubt he took us to merchants where he would receive a cut if we bought anything. Our German friends bought a small carpet from some persuasive nomad shopkeepers, a bit of an oxymoron I realize. Taroudant is somewhat like Marrakesh, surrounded by old walls and darting bikes, both non-motorized and motorized, but it is smaller and more manageable.
In the afternoon Said brought us, for 375 dh, to a nearby palmareie, a palm oasis in the desert. Springs make the desert bloom, enough to support about 300 people here. The remains of an old fort stand on a hill overlooking the village, part of which has been turned into a restaurant. There were other tourists, but it was a peaceful and blissfully cool place in the shade of the palms.
There are many donkeys amid the red abobe walls of the village.
We returned to the guest house where we relaxed on the roof top terrace, though we were again blasted by the call to prayer of the mosque right next door, and yes it did wake us up at 4 AM.
Tomorrow we will get up early to start our trek in order to avoid walking in the mid-day sun. Some clouds have gathered each day and perhaps we shall see some rain. Always hard to tell what mountain weather will bring. We are not sure exactly where will be trekking. It seems we will find out tomorrow when we meet up with Abdel. There are no good maps, though Taroudant is centrally located in between the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas Mountains.