Camel Trek + The High Atlas Mountains Excursion
Riding camels was a top priority on our trip to Morocco. We scheduled a camel trek and excursion through the High Atlas Mountains the first day to make sure we were in top shape to ride them - i.e. not burnt/tired (do you see all that sun?!)Our guide picked us up from the riad first thing in the morning. The drive was a couple hours out from the city.. The roads became more and more barren. The earth became drier. The Atlas Mountains become less distant and, despite the African desert heat, we started to see snow on the mountain tops. Our guide explains that the winter snow provides the water for Marrakech in the summer. And the summer rains provide for the winter water. But in June, it's so very dry as he points out the lines in the desert terrain where water once ran through. It's beautiful.We pass roadside camel parking lots, fruit stands with the most vibrant colored fruit tumbling off, malt crops (which he assures us is not for beer), and loads of olive groves. A guy sat up from his nap underneath a lone tree, waved a friendly wave to our car. There are mirage tents in the distance and Berber villages speckling the mountain range. The High Atlas Mountains are home to the Berbers.Here, the sheep and camels belong to nomads. They sleep under their handmade tents together. And here, a nomad without a turban is like a camel without water storage.The goat herding here is like a dream! Well, maybe just mine because of my over-excitability trait. We stopped multiple times on our different drives throughout Morocco to let the goat pass. (later on, heading out to Chefchaouen, our driver even honked at the goat and he moved out of the road!) There would be a herder, maybe two, a dog and sometimes a cow in the group. My next life.We reached a Berber nomad tent. Our guide got out to ask if we could go for a spin, like they were making deals in the desert. I climbed on the tall, pretty one that had a lot of sass. Then Justin. His was tied up behind mine and the nomad led our caravan. After a while, I mean after the high-pitched calmed itself, I asked if he spoke English from my perch, not expecting a response. He looked up and smiled sweetly, 'no.' My heart is still melting. He pointed to the camera around J's neck and posed our camels juuust right for a portrait session. And taught me how to say 'thank you' in Arabic - 'shukran!' Oh, how I wish I could spell it in those beautiful curves they use!A little down the road, we pulled up to to Chez Latifa. A Berber family home and restaurant that our guide had been long-time friends with. We ordered tomato and cucumber salad and Berber tagine omelettes. He picks the vegetables from the backyard, while we learn about all the great fruit that comes from Morocco - watermelon and melons! So, that's what we had for dessert. We were served steaming mint tea and talk about how Moroccans love their hot foods + drinks - since you're hot in the desert, you get thirsty. Drinking water only fills up your stomach, but your throat is still dry. So, you drink warm drinks to soothe your throat. We were just more hot and still craving water...such city kids.
What animal have you waited all your life to ride?!