After our stop at this nice Auberge on the way to Imilchil we decided to head south to the dunes in Merzouga, via the Tordra Gorge in Tinerhir.
After leaving the Auberge we found a fuel stop and then continued along mostly tarmac roads. According to the "Morocco Overland" book this was one of highest roads you can cross in the Atlas.
Tomas enjoying the view
Two French families stopped here too to enjoy the view. I asked the father who was driving the red Land Cruiser about his car. "It's still new, only 200,000Km!". He said you can easily get aver 600,000Km out of these tough Japanese engines.
GPS showing 2658 meters altitude on route R703
Berber village on the way to Todra Gorge. Finally starting to see some green again as we're coming out of the Atlas
These kids were bugging us for more free stuff but I decided to take it easy with them, got off the bike and has some funny conversations with them. They were cool kids. Here is one of then wearing my Shoei
The others rode ahead while Seba and I took it easy getting to the Gorge, snapping lots of pictures along the way. The scenery was getting more and more spectacular. This is the cool thing about Morocco, every day the scenery changes and you never, ever get bored of the views
Note how small the car looks in perspective!
More Berber villages as we exited the Todra Gorge
As usual, we didn't make it to our planned destination of Merzouga, so we stayed the night in Erfoud. We rode for several hours in the dark and could just about tell that the landscape was flattening out again. We started seeing our first warning signs for "Dunes de Sable" (sand dunes) and there was sand on either side of the tarmac road.
Driving the dark was ok when we all stuck together cause the combined lights from all the bikes light the road up quite well. But sooner or later we would start driving at different tempos and you'd find yourself having to rely on your own lights, which made things a bit more stressful. Cars, bikes, bicycles and pedestrians all over this road ... without any lights. You need to keep your eyes peeled and your speed down. During my last minute shopping session at home a friend forced me to buy a reflective jacket and stickers that lit up my bike like a UFO, for which I was now thanking her a lot. (She also forced me to take her Thermarest "No, No I won't need it! Take it anyway! I needed it about half the of all the nights - thanks again Sophe!)
When we got to Erfoud it was pitch black and sand was blowing everywhere, just stopping and chatting for a few minutes and feel the sand grinding between your teeth and in your helmet. We decided to spend the night in Erfoud to keep things safe. I wouldn't recommend staying in this town, nothing to see and everyone was being pushy, trying to sell us camel tours in the desert, which was not far away now.
In the morning we headed straight out to Merzouga and had a tasty breakfast in Rissani. We're now in a very different place: people's skin was darker, there was sand everywhere, more palm trees and temperature over 30 Celsius. Finally some heat!