2015 Morocco – Day 11 – Merzouga

When I finished with the morning toilet the food was already served in the large lounge, which was comfortably equipped with armchairs and sofas. There was jam and for me of course Omlette Frommage. As far as I can remember this was a variant where the triangular cheese was delivered extra. Of course there was also coffee, which meant a very relaxed morning. In the room it was also quite cool and I admired again the effectiveness of the classical clay architecture. After dinner we decided to climb the dune again. So we got ready, which meant that I put a T-shirt in front of my mouth and a hooded jacket over my head. M. took a hat and swimming goggles.

The whole thing might have looked a bit strange, but it made sense with all the sand being blown around. Luckily we were directly at the whole sand sea almost directly so that we did not have to walk far. We passed the well again and meanwhile it had become nice and warm again. It became more and more sandy and the dunes to be overcome became higher and higher. Such a big dune and perhaps generally in the sand everything looks quite small and close. Everything is quite far away and above all also high. It offers itself to always run on the wind side of the dunes, because on the other side the sand is much too soft to run. On the wind side it is sometimes really hard. As it got steeper and steeper we couldn’t get around digging more and more in the sand. The last part was also really steep, so that we only made progress on all fours. On the top of the highest dune there was a lot of sand in motion.

All the time there was a continuous sand wind that carried the sand into all the cracks of everything. We had our Nikon SLR with us and could only move the lens with grinding noises weeks later. But the view was spectacular in any case. From here we could see how far and high we actually were. This is also a completely different feeling to sit on a kind of cliff, with the certainty that you have only soft sand in front of you. From the direction of the hotel where we came from, one could see the whole further built-up area. Everything was a kind of black Hammada and only sparse buildings were to be recognized. From up there, one could also see that a kind of thick pipe from the dunes went to the well where regular openings were made. I had read about this before, but I couldn’t explain why it just came out of the sand dunes.

This thing could only have been a Qanat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qanat), which supplies the well with water from the dunes. When we went back later we also saw plastic pipes coming out of the dunes. In the other direction we could see a lot of sand. The whole thing went about 10 – 20 km further and at the end you could see normal mountains again. On the satellite picture you can also see that it is a big sandpit. So it would be easy to get out if you get stranded there. But don’t forget how exhausting running in the sand is. In a distance we also saw two jeeps driving through the sand. I thought that was a bit risky. Not because of the sand, but rather because of possible overturning. The way to the dune took about 30 minutes to an hour. After some time in the sandstorm with the great view we went back to the hotel. Meanwhile it had become noon. We had already decided before not to continue today, but to chill a little. Arrived in the hotel we ordered a Tajine, because we had nothing further in the proximity here anyway and the city was a little too far away. The whole thing cost for two persons perhaps about 120 Dh, thus approx. 12€. We were asked where we wanted to eat and decided for the place at the side of the entrance directly opposite the dunes.

We found it a little unpleasant to dine by the pool or indoors. Before we had dinner we met some German backpackers who had arrived by bus from Fes. They were the whole night with the terrible bus on the way and could see absolutely nothing of the great landscape. They asked us what we could still look at and we got our LP to leave in there some leaves. I thought to myself still luckily we are on the way with the car. So what with the bus I am really too old or something. Or maybe too wealthy meanwhile. They had just arrived and soon set off for a camel tour into the desert. There they should stay the night and come back tomorrow. When they disappeared our table was set and we ate the delicious tajine. We had got used to taking only one for two people for some time. With the abundant bread that is always with us that is also perfectly enough. The view to the sand sea is unique, but also a little decadent. Around us there was already a lot of poverty.

After the long meal we went to the pool. M. went inside for a short time and I made myself comfortable with tea in the shade and could finally read something again. After about two hours it was enough and we went out through the village. There was nothing to see at all, except a halfway newly built center with three shops, which were all closed. So we went back and did something. Shortly before sunset we decided to go again to the dune in the sand. This time I packed only one can of beer. We were too slow to get to the top and another couple took our place. We were positioned on the dune directly below and had this great view again, this time with a strange light from the setting sun. Below us there was also a group of people doing something. Before it finally got dark we made our way back and strolled comfortably in front of the dunes and went back to the hotel. Afterwards we did some laundry and finished the day.