High Atlas Mountains

The High Atlas Mountains

We were discombobulated when the clocks moved forward for British Summer Time. We were told that the clocks in Morocco also moved so were expecting darker mornings and lighter evenings. In the morning when our watches announced the new day, instead of our usual pre-dawn half light, the sun was rising and it was broad daylight. We discovered that the Moroccans had moved their clocks back an hour! It was the month of Ramadan and they put their clocks back in order for Muslims to break their fast an hour earlier in the evenings. We had been an hour ahead of the UK – now we were an hour behind.

The Moroccan government was keeping the maritime borders closed although air traffic had recommenced. We guessed it was less of a Covid strategy and more political. We were not surprised when we had notification that our ferry to Genoa on the 6th April was cancelled. We rebooked for the 18th April and also put our names down for the next French repatriation boat, due to leave Tanger for Sète in France on the 9th April; we realised we would be low priority for repatriation as we were non-EU citizens.

Road conditions were challenging

We forced ourselves to abandon our life of comfort at Le Relais, Marrakech and headed south east taking the Tiz n’Tikha pass through the High Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate. The drive took more than five hours as we climbed to 7,000 ft above sea level. The views were wonderful, the snowy mountain peaks illuminated in the sunshine. The road conditions were difficult in places and once on our descent we were held up for 20 minutes by roadworks. Eventually the road was cleared and the ascending queue of traffic below was allowed to proceed. A driver in the queue in front of us wasn’t prepared to wait and roared off downhill – only to have to reverse back again as he met the oncoming stream of lorries. By this time the waiting line of traffic had closed the gap and the maverick driver had to wait in the middle of the narrow carriageway whilst a dozen lorries carefully drove around him. I trust he felt a real prat!

Cattle on the long journey through the mountains – two layers, tightly packed