On Thursday morning Silvia, Jo and myself (Cath) were lucky enough to join St John the Baptist and Cardiff High School on their Moroccan geography adventures. The purpose of our visit was for Silvia, to learn how to plan and organise future trips, and for Jo and myself, as Field Study Tutors, to learn about this amazing location. We haven’t been disappointed!
After an early departure from London, we were straight on the road over the dramatic High Atlas Mountains south east towards Ouarzazate, together with our experienced FST, Ian, ably supported by our excellent local guide, Moussin. This dynamic duo have operated ten tours together in Morocco, so we are all in safe hands.
Spectacular mountain roads rewarded us with fantastic views of these ancient fold mountains where the African and Eurasian plates collided (remember your plate tectonics?).
Onwards and downwards to our sand castle Ibis hotel where we were spoilt for choice with options of fish, chicken and lamb accompanied by nine thousand salads.
The call of the camel drew us towards the desert as we departed on day two, passing ever more spectacular mountain scenery; cries of ecstasy were heard from the geography crew at the front of the bus! The students were excited to be meeting their new friends; despite the experience proving more comfortable for the girls than the boys, they all enjoyed the camel train ride across the sandy desert.
We arrived at our Berber encampment in time to watch the sunset over the desert, a once in a lifetime experience. Once our tent had been allocated, Silvia (who had been dreading this day for weeks in respect of wild and ferocious desert creatures) was instantly reassured by the sight of a real bed, carpets, wall hangings and power supply. The toilet block even had spacious hot showers. Dinner was followed by Berber entertainment around the campfire under a stunning star filled sky (and I was lucky enough to see a shooting star).
Today the students rose early to witness the sunrise before breakfast and remounting our beasts for the return journey. En-route our entertaining guide Abdul showed us around his fascinating village, with its narrow alleyways winding through homes, which were partially built underground to accommodate the family above their animals. Later we had a lovely alfresco lunch stop under the palms, bougainvillea and orange trees, followed by an informative talk and stroll through the lush palmery in this oasis, contrasting markedly with the arid desert.
Off to dinner now … Look out for our next instalment…