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Across the Atlas

Having driven around the end of the High Atlas on the way from Tafraout to Marrakesh yesterday decided to take the Tizi n Test back across to Taroudant today. At 2130m it’s pretty high and the road is pretty impressive. 5 hours from Marrakesh to Taroudant with an average speed of under 30 mph. T The guest house in Marrakesh was nice and served a nice breakfast before we hit the road south. The R103 climbs steadily through ever more dramatic valleys as it heads up to the Tizi n Test. It’s mainly single track and in effect is like driving from Bwlch to London up a Welsh country lane (with pot holes). The last set of hairpins on the north side have some great views but you need to focus on the road especially with a Dutch camper van coming the other way (along with the MK2 Ford Transits of course) Across the top and the views South are pretty dramatic, over the Souss towards the Anti Atlas in the distance. Impressive stuff. A group of British cyclists had just made the ascent from Marrakesh doing it over 3 days and aiming for the valley that afternoon. [1] A coffee at the hotel just over the top and watched some paragliders take off (one good and one a lot more nervous). The descent is dramatic and the road quality not so good for the top section but excellent further down and the crap again on the run into the valley. The Tizi n Test would have been a great road for the heyday of Top Gear and not for season 18 episode 14 but of course it’s all the better because Clarkson and co are nowhere near it. A great journey and one to savour. The 50km run along the Souss to Taroudant was interesting for overloaded vans and the sites in town. Loading levels for lorries are interesting

Parked near Chez Les Amis before heading into town for some food. Met up with Saed later and then some shopping as it got dark later. It’s a great town and the souk was good but some more bargains to come for sure. Bought a couple more tagines also (even cheaper than Tafraout) as well as some slippers. The Hamam in Taroudant is wood fired

Good having Tamara around and though not many tourists also no hassle for her as we walked around town. Hiking in the Atlas for the next couple of days before heading back to Sidi Kaouki for a couple of days at the beach. Felt the right thing to do rather than going to the desert and charging around.

1. For those interested this was a tour organised by Saddle Skedaddle. Seem well organised with local guide support on the road. A range of abilities it seems with accommodation a mix of hotels and local chambers d’hotes.

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