2015 Morocco -Day 3 – Marrakech / Taroudant

Due to the air conditioning running at night it was pleasant in the room. Today it should be 45 degrees in Marrakech again. The breakfast this time had additionally a boiled egg and the apparently owner of the Maison. The owner sat at his own table, had breakfast and stared around the area.

After the meal the things were put in order, 59 euro per night were paid and the Maison was left. We wanted to pick up the rental car at the airport. We had reserved the car from 1200, but I wanted to be there around 1100 if possible, because the whole procedure could perhaps extend a little. At the bus station all kinds of people tried to give us a bus ride. This is always annoying there. At first we didn’t know which bus was going to the airport, because it wasn’t written down. Without further ado I asked the bus driver in another bus, whereupon he pointed to the bus next to him. He now had a different number. We paid again 30 Dh per person, whereupon the bus started immediately and drove a round by the Neustadt up to the airport.

Arrived at the airport we went immediately to Sixt to pick up the ordered rental car. Before I had already read gruesome stories about the amount of the deposit and they are real. For a car for approx. 13 days with 350 euro costs the rental woman wanted 1300 euro deposit. In my booking documents nothing stood, in hers already. That was strange, because I had puzzled the whole time about the height of the deposit. The deposit should amount to unbelievable 1300 euro. There were still different further options around the deposit to throttle. We decided for a full insurance for 1600 Dh, whereby the deposit was reduced to 3200 Dh.

Altogether this is an extremely questionable behavior of the car rental companies, particularly since I knew before purely nothing about the height of the deposit. I had booked the car via Expedia before. We still had to wait half an hour for the car but finally one 1130 came with the documents. Instead of a scrap Dacia Logan there was a Citroen Elysee. The scratches were all noted down, climate tried out and we could drive off. The lender gave me the parking card, which we of course had to pay when we drove out. That was only 7 Dh but nevertheless a typical thing.

With the car I had to get along first, because the part should be with 20000 kilometers quite new and middle class, but nevertheless small was enough and inside looked cheap. Later it turned out that the cigarette lighter didn’t work and I had dragged my DC/AC converter with it for free. I thought later that the fuse was defective, but couldn’t find the fuse because the description in the manual didn’t match the existing fuses. I couldn’t find anything in the network, because apparently nobody buys anything like this. After a short visit in the supermarket we came about 1400 on the road towards Taroudant.

We wanted to take the Tizn Test Pass over the Atlas. Actually we wanted to drive through to Legzira, but this turned out to be absolutely illusory because there was not enough time. Within a few minutes we were out of Marrakech and the traffic decreased considerably. After about 1 hour driving the situation on the road was completely relaxed and we only met a vehicle every ten minutes. The drive is still unspectacular at the beginning, but as soon as you get to the mountains, you’ll be more handsome. Permanent curves and a constant high screw up to 2000 m height. The great thing about it is that you have the road almost for yourself and are not constantly pressed by traffic. We stopped in a village, sat down on the roof terrace of a small restaurant and ate a small lamb tajine.

On the roof it was extremely comfortable, nobody disturbed and we could overlook the street of the village in peace. Actually there wasn’t much going on at all, only a few people were sitting around and from time to time a car came by. The tajine was delicious, Moroccan tea was served and all the food only cost about 75 dh. After a long walk we reached the pass which offered a magnificent view over the other side of the atlas. Below was a wide valley and some distance away were the mountains of the Anti Atlas. Directly on the pass there was a kind of pension and a late afternoon. Now we had to go down the whole height again and then a little further to the right to get to Taroudant.

On this side the way down was much shorter but full of narrow curves. On high to middle height there were huge amounts of dwarf palms. The plants were a kind of miniature edition and only max 50 cm high. For this short distance of only about 200 km we had needed the whole afternoon. Meanwhile it became around 1700 and until Taroudant it was still a good way, especially as one never knew whether the road is really fast passable. The further down we came, the warmer it got. In the valley the thermometer reached 42 degrees again. The rest of the way was lined with fields, plantations and scree, but it went quickly. At the entrance of the city there were some houses, but later the city walls dominated.

We still had to find a hotel for the night, but had to find out that the choice after the planet was not so special. Either too expensive or too cheap. Outside of the Medina we saw a sign for a hotel and wanted to inquire times. The hotel was immediately on the right one hundred meters after the main entrance in the Medina, so that one could park also with the car directly in front of it. The double room was 400 Dh, but not worth its price. On the balcony there were three air conditioners and altogether it was small and a bit crumbly. We took it anyway, because it still worked for our budget and we didn’t feel like looking any further in this extreme heat, which brought us the day before shortly before the heat stroke. We wanted to have a short look into the medina, but after a short time we got stuck in a coffee to drink a tea.

Meanwhile it had become dark but still extremely warm. The locals watched the Champions League with a glass of water. We pulled ourselves together again and stopped in front of a shoe dealer, where we bought a pair of camel leather/ berber carpet sandals for M after a long trial. After some haggling we had to pay 80 Dh. Afterwards we first went back to the room and then went with wine to the roof terrace, which was extremely big but completely empty and dark. After some drinks we finally went into the somewhat cooler room and ended the day around 0000.