THE IMPERIAL ROAD
The road from Figuig to Er Rachidia
On the road to Er Rachidia.
Figuig was deadlock. It is necessary to turn around and especially not to travel in the afternoon towards the west. 370 kilometers facing the sun, without trees, it is strenuous and dangerous for driving. But superb in the retro.!!
A few kilometers from Figuig begins a long journey to Er Rachidia.
How do we live here? I didn't have time to stop! A regret ! A next trip to meet the people who manage to shape this green line in this mineral landscape crushed by heat.
It is above all the presence of these three young boys who hang out in the bed of the Ziz who convinces that man can live in this universe so mineral where the houses themselves are of the nature of monuments rocks that dominate them. The town of Rich is the living symbol of this precarious success. She has no other special beauty than that of telling us that the fight continues: nothing is acquired. It is its beauty. And one tribute to those who make it live.
These are not the cast shadows of the crenellated towers, but these towers against the light, they are part of the mountain.
Before taking off towards the Ziz valley, the imperial route, the only means of communication. A single oasis of a hundred kilometers that we dominate from end to end, green notch that meanders in the rock. Everywhere else, the alleys of oases are hidden under the palms, labyrinthine in the dust, while the Ziz makes a real demonstration of human geography. It's hard to take your eyes off this throbbing avenue: beware driving ! No respite until Rissani, the "imperial" ksar, true oasis capital.
Around the blue source of Meski
The famous blue source on the left bank Ziz, reputed to be miraculous, beneficent in any case, an emblem of the region so parsimonious in water. Welcoming around its pool.
above the blue spring by Meski.
Aïn-el-Ati natural spring
The Source Aïn-El-Ati is located on the right bank of the Ziz, 25 kilometers north of the city of Erfoud. This source, was discovered in 1987, it spouts a jet of water which rises over several meters.
Merzouga alone sums up the fascination of the great sand desert. Mountain of one hundred and sixty meters only, but which dominates its corner of the Sahara because it mobilizes its gold dust on an area of three hundred square kilometers: cairn prodigious which marks the limit of the territory of men. She explains also why, of Sijilmassa, only ruins of dob remain which seem like a petrified forest emerging from nothingness. It was Babylon sands, before the land of ghosts. It's just a memory and, hardly, "you are dust and you will return to dust..." The wind models precarious sculptures which make all the charm of this piece of eternity. If the water of a river never returns twice to the same place, the dunes are never the same. It is a mineral mass that can be rediscovered each season.
Sandstorm approaching Erfoud
The wall of the ksar, the oldest still standing in Tafilalet, a real fortified town, and its small, nicely whitewashed door of blue do not say what was the splendor of the city and its political importance. When Sijilmassa the superb, suffocated by the sands, lost its aura, Rissani became the capital and stronghold of the Alawite tribe which was to become dynasty. As is often the case in Morocco, it is from the desert and the mountains that spring the lifeblood that restores blows to threatened empires. There floats around these last cities of sand a perfume of authority, of power, that you have to know how to smell. The main principles of construction hide many differences. Their history proves it.
Long forgotten by guides, the inspired dune has become a must, even for heads of state or powerful like Hillary Clinton who wish to benefit from a diffa reminiscent of the splendor of the best films neocolonials. Make yourself comfortable with infinity, which can become eternity for the unwary who leave empty water bottles. It is not a sample of the desert, it is the westernmost tip of the great desert.
A strange shape of twenty kilometers by ten when seen from the sky, reshaped by the winds, anthill for two-legged insects that go to comfortable hotels in the evening. Then regs, deposits stones, a "lake" almost always dry, a dead lagoon wet every fifteen years, and six thousand miles of vacuum to the Nile Valley. This is what Merzouga, another sentinel, tells us.
Campement à Merzouga
Tineghir lives between two worlds, the Ziz and the Tafilalt. Placed here, on the edge of the road Imperial. It is a door, a port, a crossroads in a land where the slightest barley grain takes a lot of effort. Where the loss of a goat hurts household economy. A danger permanent scarcity which contrasts with the splendor of the site: the Atlas and its surprises, the living checkerboard of the fields, the profusion trees. Of a nature opposite to that of Boumalne, stuck in its valley as in a nest, Tineghir seems to me a sentinel. Who sees far. What we see from far. And who holds even more than what she has promised. A crush on Tineghir? It is said !
The heart of the palm grove, these “alleys” of fine sand which leave as much room as possible for crops. At the end of the day, these two kids come home from the branches .
The gorges of Todra
The river of which only the gorges remain shearing a nature hewn with an axe. An obligatory step, already famous. This shepherd moves his meager flock to "pastures" inaccessible to cars. A rare moment.