Lac Iriki and Mhamid, Morocco Week 91 8th - 9th January 2013
Lac Iriki is a dry (at the moment) lake bed.

It alternates between areas of stony ground and drifting dunes.

Not sure what these trees are doing here.

Very dry, soft sand though the underlying rock, presumably the original lake floor, is between the dunes for relief.

Obviously a reasonably well traveled track.

Heavy going, hard to get into 3rd gear and stay there. But Tardis churns through ok.

A bit of concentration to both pick where to aim for and look closely at what's about to be under the wheels.

Never a dull moment.

The vegetation changes as well as the dunes..

Occasionally the track narrowed and headed over dunes rather than round.

Needed 4wd for this bit.

The explanation for all the traffic became clear.

A water delivery coming the other way. We pumped up the spare tyre.

A French couple stopped for a chat.

We are skirting around Cheguga. An area of dunes with a few tourist camps for operations based in Mhamid..

The odd looking trees we saw (a couple of photos back) have a broad leaf (most other things are spiky and small).

Wind born seeds.

The dunes.

It seems a bit like the difference between a lake and the open ocean.

Here its as if there is a choppy sea, small waves with not enough wind to form big waves.

Different to the long slow waves of the ocean.

Here the track has to find its way around the small dunes.

With longer waves its often possible to drive in the bottom for long distances.

We stopped for a little while at one of the tourist camps.

Long enough to climb an adjacent big dune.

The camel was hobbled.

There were three others that looked like they were escaping.

We stopped about lunch time and just watched the desert.

About one vehicle per hour not far away.

The big dune we'd climbed earlier in the day.
This plant is succulent.

In front are tracks of lizards and probably a few other things.

It even had very small white flowers when we looked closely.

We were visited by Tahad who lives at Erg Smar. About 15km south of us. He farms carrots and onions on about 7 acres. He's on a trip into Mhamid to collect cigarettes and diesel for his water pump. The well is 12m deep.

We are intrigued at the thought of farming here. He may pass by tomorrow and we'll follow him home. Then again ...

Erg Smar is on the 6 day camel tours from Mhamid.

Tahad picked up a couple of rocks lying on the surface.

"Foamy" and obviously temperature effected.

We are aware of meteorite finds in Morocco. These are probably more terrestrial. On the plus side shergotite is fairly light. On the other hand bits of Moroccan Martian meteorite sell for about $22,000/kg.

The shell we found later intrigues us. Not sure but the things that form the longish spiral shells are usually found in water not on land.

The short waves become more obvious as the sun lowers.

At Lake Mungo (Aus, August 2010) they were described as lunettes.

We've realised how disorientating they can be.

As we tried to follow tracks skirting the dunes further north we found ourselves continually drawn further south. Without the gps we would be very confused.

That big dune again.

We counted 17 small camps from the top.

Tahid also told us of about a dozen wells in the dunes which the bedouin can find.

The dunes are Ergs.

We are here.

Many thanks to Olaf for the map.

Hiding behind another sand dune.
No sign of Tahad so we headed to Mhamid.
Sorry. Another photo of a sand dune.
We are driving through the middle of dunes again.
Sorry again.

They really are quite beautiful.

And to the south we are bginning to see signs of the (dry) river.
Sand and stones.
Just another camel photo.

These part of a largish herd with one herder.


Donkeys. And green things to eat.

A string of camels.
And sand.

We are getting used to recognising soft sand.

At first today it was coarser and easier driving.

This is soft.

Just the right speed to get over so we don't have a hard landing on the other side.

Eventually the river.

This is the Oued Draa.

And Mhamid.

We'll stop for a couple of nights rest.

We've already found Ian and Janice.

The Draa Valley was part of a major trans Sahara trade route. The caravans between Marakesh and Timbuktu came through Zagora and Mhamid. Salt, slaves, and gold among other things.

Mhamid, Morocco Week 92 10th - 14th January 2013

Raewyn Sun, 13 Jan 13 21:47:15 +1100
Glad you got out of the desert ok :). Mum says hi and good luck for future travels. A. Tine got your letter ok :)

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