Written on: 22/01/2012 by dfrazer (1 review written)
Our Tourdust trip to Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains
Day 1: Picked up from Marrakesh airport, taken to a great Riad and pampered by the French speaking staff - English was not their strong point but we managed fine. The food was fantastic, their attention to detail and polite were superb. Food was great - we had requested an evening meal in the Riad and were overwhelmed with the selection. With a vegan in our group we were concerned but this proved to be unnecessary!
Downside - Although we had arranged for collection from the airport, the taxi driver insisted we pay him directly and because of the language barrier with our housekeeper, we just paid. The return journey was fine - and the Riad manager said not to pay the taxi. It would have been nice if this had been made clear on our written instructions from Tourdust.
Day 2 (Christmas Eve): [7 miles walking] Picked up from the Riad and driven to the mountains where we met our guide and chef. Everything was as expected, no surprises and Mohammed was really friendly and helpful. Our chef didn't speak any English but we learnt some Arabic and his smiles made us feel like we weren't a burden. Even the mule was relaxed and easy going. :o)
Fantastic scenery and no light or noise pollution made the trip very special. Our accommodation was basic but that was fine. Our food was far from basic. The chef really went to town on a great selection of food and huge quantities (essential for the intrepid walkers). Our vegan groaned under the volume of food at each meal - a real bonus! :D
A note to other trekkers - take plenty of pens with you! Some of the local children in the tiny villages you pass through will greet you in French saying "hello pen"... they are begging for pens - we had a few but would have gladly given out a 100 if we had them with us! And, once you give away one pen, they ALL want one!
Day 3 (Christmas Day): [10 miles walking] We had improvised our own tree and were treated to a mountain breakfast of fruit juice, bread and preserves, as well as copious amounts of Green tea (every meal was served with some form of locally prepared tea to drink out of little glasses). A great day, we seemed to avoid all minor roads and hugged the mountain trails as we wound our way from tiny village to tiny village.
A note to other trekkers - we tended to be in trousers and t-shirts for most of the time but it was colder in the shade (jumpers on). The nights were cold and the recommendation to have 4 season sleeping bags should not be ignored.
Day 4 (Boxing Day): [7 miles walking] A big climb - 1000m to the head of a pass before ambling down the other side towards lunch and a mid afternoon drive back to Marrakesh. The snow at the top of the pass was light and Mohammed looked after us to make sure we were safe at all times. Since none of us had any experience with ice axes, etc, we avoided the extremes.
After 3 quiet days in the mountains, Marrakesh was a blur of activity and noise - thank goodness we had our Riad sanctuary to return to!
A note to other trekkers - the Riad were fine about us leaving spare kit behind until our return. This made it easy to travel light in the mountains - even then, we didn't really need that much clothing equipment with us.
Day 5: Peace and tranquility in our Riad and final goodbyes from the fantastic staff before heading back to the airport.
A great trip and many Good Times! A must for the trekker interested in scenery, culture and easy travel.