Morocco Road Trip

Vuarnet Day #36

The adventure continues in this third and final chapter of our trip to Morocco. After a few intense days on the Moroccan Coast, we head to the Agafay desert in the south of Marrakech.

Before hitting the road, we enjoy a last sunset over the Imsouane Bay, but it is already time to pack our bags. For the last time, we go to bed rocked by the sound of the ocean. Like the previous days, we wake up early in the morning, we quickly eat our breakfast before saying goodbye to this insane place.

To reach our final destination, the journey will be long. Last night, we made the decision to take small country lanes only to be able to enjoy the scenery. On the program, more than 6 hours of driving, following a long diagonal that weaves in and out the Atlas mountain foothills. Along the way we pass through a number of tiny villages which are always a pretext for a cool break. We really feel lonely in the midst of this vastness and laugh at the consequences of breaking down here.

As we progress, we arrive in an increasingly arid region. The vegetation gives way to large rocky expanses. It is 5 p.m. when we finally turn off on the last road to our final destination. We are spending the next two nights with our friends at Camp Scarabéo with whom we had already traveled on a previous Vuarnet Day.

Located about forty kilometers from Marrakech, this place gives the impression of being at the end of the world with a breathtaking view of the surroundings. After a very warm welcome from the team, we are all looking forward to discovering our tent. The camp is designed as a traditional bivouac where the kitchen and the common areas are at the heart of the camp. All around, gigantic white canvases stand in the middle of the desert and close a real cocoon of warmth and softness.

Vincent, owner of the place, comes to meet us in the evening and explains how he conceived this project to have the least ecological impact on the desert. The tents are regularly taken down, the food is taken from day to day with a single meal to avoid waste, all products are organic and locally decorated.

Night falls quickly on the camp and everyone returns to its tent. The next morning, we get up at dawn to watch the sunrise from the small hill behind us. The show is magnificent, the warm tones of the sky harmonize perfectly with the purple reflections of the rock.

Later in the morning, we have an appointment with Thomas from Insider Experience to explore the desert aboard his Ural sidecars. A legacy from the USSR, these machines are built to navigate the most tortuous paths and overcome any type of obstacle. As their handling is not immediate, we first take a seat next to our assigned driver. From the first accelerations, we take full view, positioned at ground level, the sensations are increased tenfold. Despite the cloud of dust that we raise, we fully enjoy the landscapes that surround us. After 20 min, we stop in a small abandoned village to capture the moment with some photos.

Further on, on a long track with no apparent risk and after some warm recommendations, we can finally try to drive the sidecars ourselves. The exercise is more complicated than it seems. The “basket” totally changes the balance point of the vehicle, making riding very different from a motorcycle. The day’s program is full, the two drivers quickly take control to take us to our refueling point. We have lunch at the edge of a huge lake then we set off again in the direction of the Atlas.

We leave the desert dust for the hairpin bends of the mountains. After few kilometers, we stop to follow a footpath. We discover up there a point of view from which we can admire the whole valley. The contrast is striking between the long rocky dunes and the special vegetation of the mountains. We have been driving since this morning and the calm of the place is more than appreciable. Once the visit is over, we take the road towards the camp.

The next day, we slowly wake up for our last day in Morocco. Today, nothing on the schedule : we decided to stay put and enjoy the place. A group sets off to climb the hill overlooking the bivouac, hoping to see Marrakech in the distance when others play extra time over hot tea. After lunch, it’s time to head to the airport with regret! This week in Morocco will leave us fond memories, the landscapes, the welcoming locals and the sun have all convinced us to come back as soon as the opportunity arises.