Moroccan Dreams

 

A journey starting in the foot hills of the Atlas mountains, via the the little town called Taghazout,and eventually ending at the end of the road, in M'Hamid. 

 
House with a view 

House with a view 

 

People pay millions for a view like this; and even more for heated flooring. Turns out all you have to do in Morocco is own a few sheep and know how to light a fire. 

This picture was taken from the first floor, where local farmers keep their goats, and above me on the second floor is where they all sleep. So at the night the heat created by the cattle travels to the upper floor and in case this isn’t warm enough, they are prepared with different fire places dotted around the cave. 

 

Early Mornings

Early Mornings

 

Dark clouds

My friend Ronaldo gaining some speed on a wave just south of Taghazout. 

What really struck my attention was the amount of plastic that gets burned out in the open, thus creating these huge black clouds which can be seen behind Ronaldo in the image. 

Every day we awoke to thick clouds of smoke that filled the morning sky. Driving through these in our little van was particularly charming. 

 

Heavenly view 

Heavenly view 

 

African Sunset

An African day coming to an end at a wave called Boilers, just north of Taghazout. 

The wave is located right next to a cemetery and due to the associated religious reasons-non believer aren’t allowed to step a foot behind those walls. I had to learn the hard way by getting shouted at upon entry.  I’ve also heard of stories where tourists get stones hurled at their cars as they leave. 

 

One empty wave 

One empty wave 

 

Boilers

In the water watching the last set of the day roll past is a somewhat cleansing experience. As most of the surfers are out of the water at this time, you are left to share the tranquility with a select few. 

 

Under the sky

Under the sky

 
 

Tea in the middle of the Moroccan desert. 

With a 6am start we loaded the pickup truck and headed south. I was told we were headed for the end of the road where we would find a camp of which I was to photograph. The brief was to photograph the interior for advertising purposes.

After the shoot, we sat beneath the African sky, drank sweet Moroccan mint tea and spoke local politics. 

 
 

Wind blown sand dune 

Wind blown sand dune 

 

A long day

After having spent a few hours riding on the back of a camel, (for those of you who have yet to experience a camel ride, it’s like sitting on a slow moving, painful seahorse.) I was ever so exited to be able to walk again and, more importantly, stretch my legs. When a storm front hit us it gave rise to some incredible light and scenery. 

 

Sand Storm and Rain

Sand Storm and Rain

 

A rainy day

Vegetation growing here absorbs moisture from the morning dew which, from what I was told by the locals, only happens once every few years. The rain lasts a few short minutes before the sun returns and typical, desert life continues with blue skies and dry weather. 

 

making bread
 

Making Bread

After a day of taking pictures and walking around in the surrounding sand dunes, we eventually set up camp. The locals made some dough and baked it inside the wooden plate-like object visible at the bottom of the picture. They knead the dough using their fists; this way of kneading brings more air in to the dough, thus resulting in lighter and softer bread.

The sand is first heated using fire and once the dough looks like the face of the moon, a hole is dug in the preheated sand before the freshly made dough is thrown in to the sand, followed by hot coal. 

Witnessing this I thought to my self; there’s two things wrong with this, #1 sand and fresh dough, can only end with a very sandy mouth. #2 burning hot coal on dough? I just figured we'll be eating crisps. 

During the time it takes the bread to bake everybody comes together to sing and dance. 

To my surprise this was some seriously good stuff! The thought of burnt sandy crisps was immediately abolished upon the first mouthful.

 

A view from the top

A view from the top

 

Climbing Erg Chebbi

A late night meant waking up a little too late to reach the top of this breathless sand dune. Halfway up the sun ended the race by making an unmistakable appearance. 

The Sahara gives rise to some of the most spectacular sun rises and sunsets as the air is filled with dust particles which make for some incredible colours in the sky. 

 

A form of transport 

A form of transport 

 

Who needs a car when you have a camel?

Actually I would have welcomed a 4x4 over a camel any day. 

This was for a four day expedition for five tourists and two guides. They were heading for the middle of nowhere in the Saharan desert. I, on the other hand, was glad I could return to a cool pool and some cooked food that evening.

 

Ouarzazate from a wall

Ouarzazate from a wall

 

Filmset

Ourrzazate, nicknamed the door of the desert, is where films such as ‘Gladiators’ and some scenes of 'Game of Thrones' were shot. 

Whilst shooting for a local travel agency, I was dropped off at various holiday destinations and told to do my best. Usually when the sun is at its highest points I don’t even look at my camera. Instead I just admire and take in whatever is in front of me and come back early in the morning or late at night. In this case there was no coming back or waiting 6 hours for the sun to set, so I had to go for an unusual angle.