Travel from Ouarzazate to Skoura, on foot and by car stop to Sidi Flah, where sugar and water are still fueled, listened to the Hanout owner playing his homemade guitar, and off we went, along the Oued (river valley), into the western foothills of the Djebel Sarhro (or is it called Djebel Sarhro, Sarghro or Sahro?).
Day 1 - And go!
But just a few steps behind the village the orientation was not that easy anymore. The GPS device proved useless in conjunction with the map, leaving only the compass and the sense of the right path. Finally, we turned around and are back to Oued. As it was getting dark soon, we opened our first camp behind a bend behind the last house. The dinner "cheese noodles" was quickly plastered, the night was fresh.
Day 2 - Enter
We wake up very early, the cold runs through all the cracks. A quick breakfast, plenty of coffee to warm up, to warm up a hill and discovered the rest of the way. But the belief in our navigation luck lasted until after lunch, when we intuitively followed the watercourse.
After a few kilometers came over us a bad feeling, we were just in the wrong direction on the way. So turn around, check map, pump water, because the way south obviously went through a completely dried up valley. After a short while we heard engine jacks - up on the hill a moped roared past. We were on the hill and on a piste.
From here we saw some houses, people, green gardens and plantations in the great valley (which in retrospect turned out to be our actual "real" valley). Gladly, on the slopes we moved south. A white van rolled down the mountain, half an hour later he was with us. The driver confirmed us at least the direction "Agdz" with a nod. On the high plateau, we made good progress, as a bearing we used a widely visible transmission towers. In the late afternoon, just in time for the campsite search, we saw a pile of rubble on the left side of the road, behind which we set up the tent, cooked ourselves Chinese noodles and fell asleep quickly.
Day 3 - Mountains
In the morning, we - and two boys on a hill in front of us - admired the wonderful, promising sunrise, did not gather so quickly, and then made two or three turns to goatherds and the boys of the morning.
These greeted us with a kiss on the hand, which somewhat confused us ... A little further on, a shepherd family, the two women came closer and we reassured each other on the way. The old woman smiled, pointed in our direction and nodded: "Zagora". Zagora is over 100km south. The boy shook his head, laughed and pointed in the opposite direction. After some back and forth we went further south. The planned route is almost in the exact north-south direction.
It got hotter and hotter, the landscape barren (if that was even possible) until we left the path and at noon on a small house with garden headed for the shadow and water we hoped (about 2 liters we still had) , as well as a short break before the strenuous part of the trek: the uplifting mountains, wanted to insert.
As we approached, the dogs barked at us, leaving us at a respectful distance. On the other side of the hill, a man turned and came towards us, throwing stones at the dogs. At the house a woman appeared. The man greeted us very politely, we tried to make it clear that we would like to rest briefly in the shade and we need some water.
A short time later we were sitting in the cool house, in the center a large, completely bare room, in a corner a bundle covered with a large carpet. The man spread out a rug, leaned pillows against the wall, brought another low table, handed us a jug of water. Now we sat there, the man chatted smiling, friendly to us, his (?) Woman stood, behind her a small, crying boy. In the adjoining room, many women and girls who knocked almonds out of their bowl with stones repeatedly looked over and giggled. In between many children. He sells the almonds in Skoura, the place where we left. Unbelieving nod as we explain this to him, nodding as we explain that we want to go to Agdz.
After a while, the situation was a bit embarrassing for us to have burst in the middle of the everyday life of these nice people, and made signs for departure. Again and again the man showed laughing on his legs. Finally, he escorted us (in a fast pace!) To the rise of the mountains, where I finally could brake him and 'dismiss' him. He left us in his flip-flops on the not or barely existing way unceremoniously, sat down again and again to rest and to wait for us, laughing all the time, pointed to his legs, laughed, thumbs up. At the ascent to the pass, past a bend, we threw off the backpacks, built ourselves shadows, and breathered, cooled down.
The hike became more scenic as well as technically more beautiful and challenging, we left the track and went on a dirt track. Slowly we bolted higher, from pass to pass, in between wide valleys. From the trail was a barely recognizable track, often the only orientation offered the every few meters to find goat feces.
At some point a strange gravel pile. A piece of it removes a hole in the mountain - probably an old mine. Above this we also reached the highest point of our hike: almost 1700m. Over the pass and behold: One tent, one more! Nomads!
Where nomads are, water would have to be found! As usual, dogs barked, we decided not to walk through the "living room" of the nomads, but crossed the camp on the opposite slope. The camp behind us, came to meet us a woman. Pointing down the valley, we asked "Agdz?", She shook her head, pointed back, up the hill and a wide bow.
Nevertheless, we decided to try the valley - after all, our destination should not be far away, the direction of the valley is perfect. Of course, the height of the mountain also played a role, but still to go down the valley ... Well, this decision, not to hear the nomad, we then regret later. In hindsight, of course, it's stupid to dangerous not to listen to locals, but at that moment the end, the long-sought cross valley, was too close, too tempting.
The valley was partially narrowed down to a narrow gully, meters deep washed out of the colored stone, was completely blocked by boulders, oases, trees, water holes ... It was very laborious, meter by meter we looked for a viable way, climbed around rocks, jumped Down the stairs, others climbed up. Again and again, however, we found traces of goats - so if they get through here, the shepherd comes through (if there is one), so we get through here too.
So it went on in the afternoon, until it suddenly goes straight down. A dry waterfall! Back? No, we hardly have any food, hardly any water. It has to go on. I climb up the slope a little, throw a stone into the dark, count. 1..2 .. sound. Ok, it's deep. You do not see the reason, it gets dusky. Further up I discover a way out of the gorge, over the hill, and down the scree slope on the other side. Headlamps on, it's getting dark pretty fast now. Phew, that would be done! But only a short distance further: again a waterfall, about 3m deep. No chance to get outside this time. I find a narrow heel, put down the backpack, climb, looking for handles and kicks, pull the backpack after. It works! Lead Simone, hand by hand, foot by foot - by the light of the headlamps we climb down the narrow heel.
Done! Wow! A few hundred meters later we come across a typical goat's stable: a ring of stones and boulders. Down here, people are drifting around. Very good - that means we are on the right track, the direction is correct too. At a deep water hole where frogs croak, we open our fourth camp, pumping water through the water filter, this time for safety Micropur comes in, we sleep completely exhausted and without dinner, still decide to postpone the New Year's Eve party.
Day 4 - Everything will be fine
On New Year's morning, we eat the remaining biscuits and part of the BP5 emergency ration and move on. The valley widens, it is again a path track recognizable. Hill after hill, pass by pass, we climb, try as little as possible to go in the riverbed, as our ankles slowly quit the unaccustomed balancing acts and climbing with stinging pain.
In the distance a conical mountain, at its foot a little square - a house! In the riverbed we find a small plastic toy, an empty, fairly new, cookie box. So it can not be far away. Few river bends later on actually: humans! The nomad woman greets us, we move on.
Another nomad with goats, she hints us to rest a little in the shade. Yes, we come from the valley, from Skoura! And harvest incredulous laughter. According to her, we are not too far away from the next village, so we start walking. First in the direction indicated by her, left around. We rest in the shade, eat the last crumbs of the emergency ration, smoke the penultimate cigarette and come across farm laborers a little later. These invite us to eat, but we refuse thankfully. One of them could read and even speak a little English, so the way to the village "Tinirhil" was quickly cleared, we turned around, dragged ourselves in the scorching heat through the broad, rather shadowless valley. Another short stop with farmers, who even fill the water bottle with deliciously cool water, and on.
Behind the bend we already see the Tinirhil. As always, we are surrounded by children when we go to the village to find a hanut. On the way is a car, the tailgate is open, a man loads small boxes. After a short while we are in the car, both of us in the front, 5 adults in the back, including two grandmas. We are still provided with dates and fresh flatbread, keep three times in the village, every time a big hello and goodbye, more Verladeaktionen. We are admired very nice, greeted, laughed at, laughed at ... and off we go, now the palm-tree-strewn valley along to Agdz.
There we get out, sit in the first restaurant, order salad Marocaine with coke and feel, dusty, sweaty and burned as we are, like aliens. Clean, relaxed tourists around us, Italians, Germans - and we in the middle of it, with our backpacks and the knowledge, 10 hours before mothers alone in a barely walk-in canyon thirsty and with a slight fearful fluttering to be awake.
In 2013, I crossed the Jbel Sarhro a little further east, this time from south to north, through the famous Bab'n Ali. Read this Travel report here.