Friday, April 6, 2012

Hiking in the ATLAS MOUNTAINS Morocco

In our quest to organise some activities for our conference here in 2013, we went with a guide to the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakech recently. We hiked in the foothills for 2hours and had a delicious tagine on the rooftop of a restaurant in a remote village called Imil. The hiking is not difficult - it goes through a Berber village where we went in the home of one family to share a mint tea, and it passes a hotel built high on a hill in this remote area - largely as a starting point for serious hikers who trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. The scenery is  quite unexpected, snow capped mountains surround the the village and yet it is warm and dry. As a designer I am always fascinated by architecture and design and how they adapt to varying climates and environments and this area had housing so different to our own. Our guide, a Moroccan man called Mokhtar was knowledgable and interesting. He told us that his parents have been nomads, spending all their life in a large camel train in the Sahara desert, but his Father saw it was not going to be a life for his 5 children so sent them all to school and university. Mokhtar now runs Arib Voyages, a tour company in Morocco, specialising in tours to the Sahara desert and I commented that was quite an amazing change in one generation - he however said "Not really, my Parents drove camels across the desert, we drive cars!" - I suppose in reality he is correct!

Except for the electricity wire going to the house, this view would not have changed much for centuries
The scenery was surprising - changing from arid dusty plains, to green fields, to snow capped mountains 
This Butcher was carrying the leg of lamb to his shop - not sure this would pass
Health and Safety regulations in Australia!

Interesting scaffold!