Friday 24th May and with all the shopping complete we leave the heat and chaos of Marrakech to move on to the final destination of the tour – the Cascades D’Ouzoud some 150km to the north east.
On the way we stop near Demnate, a town which we can safely say beat all other places hands down with the insanity of their driving…. There just seemed to be no rules – if you want to move you do, if you want to do a u-turn you do, if Mr Taxi Driver wants to stop to pick up or set down a passenger he does. And all this with seven motorhomes passing through!
Just outside Demnate and marked on the map as “Pont Naturelle” is the site of a collapsed cave system which has left a natural stone bridge spanning a narrow gorge. We have a guide who takes us down into the gorge bottom and under the bridge where the opening is thought to resemble to shape of Africa.
Having survived the return journey through Demnate, it’s on to the Csacades and “Zebra Camping”. This is a great little campsite up on the mountainside with superb views over the surrounding countryside and compared to most other sites, facilities to die for: large pitches separated by flowers and trees, multiple water points, clean and spacious toilets/showers, a good restaurant, washing machine and wifi. Everyone agrees that this is their favourite site of the trip. Tonight we eat in the restaurant courtesy of Desert Detours as it’s the last night we are altogether before Steve leaves us early in the morning to prepare for his next tour.
The following day a guide is arranged to take us to the Cascades. The route takes us through olive groves where the fruits are still harvested by hand from trees which can live for hundreds of years. We follow the course of a fairly innocuous looking river with no idea of what we’ll eventually see. When we do come out by the waterfalls they are amazing – a total drop of over 120m into a series of pools at the bottom. The path then zig zags down the mountainside through more olive trees and large areas of calcified stalactites and stalagmites (the waterfalls previously covered this area of the gorge). After a quick break at the bottom most pool we begin to climb up again to the main pools where we decide to take one of the boats into the upper pool into which the water cascades. I say boat but only in that it was a floating vessel; it was really no more than several large plastic drums with a flattish wooden structure holding them together and then several brightly decorated plastic chairs fixed on top. The whole structure when loaded with paying customers is then rowed by some poor young man out in to the main pool when everyone gets soaked by the spray.
The slow walk back to the top includes a stop for lunch. On this side of the gorge there is a proper path and all along there are restaurants and stalls selling the usual Moroccan souvenirs. It’s then back to the campsite to enjoy a little downtime – we haven’t had very much of that on this trip. This is the last night that all the vans are together; four are leaving in the morning but three of us have decided to stay one last night. Although we are the only ones with a deadline for getting back to the UK, the return trip does allow us a little flexibility as we have almost a week to play with.
After waving off those leaving the following morning we have nothing to do except sit around and enjoy the surroundings. However Bob and I being as we are couldn’t spend a whole day doing nothing so head back to the Cascades later in the day to take a few more photos and hopefully take advantage of the better afternoon light. Being away from a group we are also able to explore other areas of the falls and take some photos from the top where the water falls over the cliff.
Final dinner at the restaurant that night before we begin the long journey home.by