Middle Atlas Mt
Sahara 1
Sahara 2
Final Thoughts

5 June 2005


Picture Pages:  Tinerhir  |  Farm  |  Medina  |  Mellah  |  Todra Valley  |  Todra Gorge  |  Blue People  |  Henna  |  Dades Valley  |  Berber Pizza

Tinerhir was a great little town.  One of the best hotel rooms we had - large room, bed turned down in the evening with rose petals on the sheet, large swimming pool (felt good after the desert), Bedouin tent eating area, easy walk to the main street.

There are lush farmlands using the Todra River for irrigation.  All farming is still done by hand labor.  The fields had alfalfa (for the donkeys), fig, henna, and date palms.  As we walked through the fields and talked with some of the workers, I also got a good picture of the mellah.  There was a large Jewish population but most now live in Israel.  Some come to visit and keep the buildings from further deterioration.

The medina was the next stop.  At a carpet store we had a great demonstration of the tea ceremony performed by one of the Blue People whose ancestors came from Timbuktu.  The name came from the color of clothes they wore.  There are about 700,000 Blue People in Morocco.

The Todra Valley is very lush with date palms, olive and almond groves and citrus trees.  There are also many villages and some beautiful homes overlooking the river.  The Todra Gorge (history page) is 15 km from Tinerhir.  There was lunch (tajine again) at a restaurant in the gorge so I had some free time to witness the local people having family picnics on the river bank.  Our group was then driven further up the gorge and allowed to walk back to the restaurant.  Nice exercise after lunch.

Four of our group elected to accompany the guide to the local hamman  for a traditional Islamic sweat bath.  From having someone wash you then laying on a hot marble floor and have someone walk on your back, to sweating all your pores open - great experience. 

I instead had a great swim before sunset.  We went to a local home to have henna designs applied to our palms.  Another great experience.  The leaves of the henna plant are ground into a powder, mixed with water to a paste consistency.  The henna paste is put on the palm, then heated over charcoal until dry.  Then a solution of lemon, pepper and garlic is applied.  We were advised not to wash our hand for 24 hours.  Our henna did not wear off until 3 weeks later.

The next day we made a trip to the Gorges du Dades and the Dades River Valley.  Again villages on the river bank and lush date palms and other vegetation was seen.  

In At Oudinar we visited a Berber family who made Berber pizza in an earthen stove.  We were told that her husband worked in construction in Ouarazazate.  She had 4 sons, youngest is 20 y, and at home.  Three sons are working and living in Spain - 2 on work contracts and one illegally working.  One daughter at home, Fatima who is 23 y.  

Our lunch is at a local Iman house with his wife and 2 children.  The Iman's brother showed us how to eat couscous, chicken and vegetable by rolling the food into a ball and pushing it into the mouth.  It's the traditional way of eating.  No utensils allowed.

--> Ouarzazate  (about 150 km from Tinerhir)