Mhamid to Taouz, Morocco   (Part Three) Week 93 19th - 20th January 2013
So moving right along we passed Erg Ouzine.
And its auberge / kasbah / bivouac thingos.
The brown cover for the Berber Tents is a very rough woven cloth. We suspect camel hair.

The ridge pole seems to be a metal piece held up by two crossed pieces of wood.

Mats and mattresses on the floor.

A bit windy today.

The most difficult driving conditions we've encountered.

Our own dust is swept in front of us. At times zero visibility. We could watch the sand running down the windscreen.

And the wipers aren't much use.

It cleared enough for us to spot the drill.

Drilling for water.  There was plenty around the drill but it may have been lubrication.

Drilling rods were at least 4m long and a stack of about 20 beside the drill. Perhaps expecting to drill quite deep. 

And the haze cleared enough to show us the surrounding hills.

There's a narrowing of the valley and a bit of a windy route around the edge.

Fascinating patterns.
We could see the dust swept across the lake bed.
An eerie sort of landscape.
We're not used to this!
But the locals seem to get by.

A bit of mud wall building.

There's lots of mining activity around Taouz. To add to the dust.

Just a quick inspection of the heaps of stone.

None the wiser.

We think there is lead mining further north. And we've seen what we think is hematite jewelry.

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We needed a guide (Mohammed) to find it.

There's a collection of about 5 about 100m apart.

We think Neolithic burial chambers.

However, Mohammed was insistent they were houses.

We've read of the tumuli described as burial sites.

Dates have been difficult to obtain. Somewhere between 5,000 and zero BC for similar mounds through southern Morocco. 

The second (kaput which we think meant collapsed) mound nearby.

As we later read, some mounds don't have entrances.

Inside, directly opposite the entrance.

There's similar to the left and right.

A tad small for housing.

The 1957 excavations seemed unsure if they were for burials or funeral rites.

Nearby are rock carvings.

Protected a little by the desert varnish.

This site is mostly similar animals.

To our uneducated eyes things with antlers or horns.

We've read descriptions of drawings of cattle, with humanoid figures but haven't recognised any of the latter.

No camels or donkeys.

A couple of souvenir salesmen.

Mineral specimens, a few sectioned and polished trilobites, and some hematite jewellery. 

We didn't have a magnet with us to check!

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This was described as a chariot.

We struggled with working out if it was in plan or side view. Settled for plan.

Mohammed seemed to describe a difference between animal and human drawn "chariots".

A bit of a scramble up the rocks.

And an eerie view of  the truck.

There were also these three stencilled outlines of sandals.

We've read that if we look carefully we will see attachments for straps.

The covering stones were carefully removed and replaced exactly as we found them.

What looked like several "chariots" in convoy.

Then again.

It was difficult to research this area before we arrived.

A few references from French language websites.

We've since found a UK PhD Thesis on the rock art of Southern Morocco, about 34Mb so we'll wait for good internet.

Not sure "why here".

The mud is better for building!

A stone circle.
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A longer chain of "chariots".

And still a bit draughty.
We are in the Fortress of Ouafilal.

The rock carvings were on the steep, unwalled, side to our right.

There's a substantial wall around three sides.

The smaller enclosure is separate.


Pre-Islamic is about as far as dating has got.

Some of the collapsed buildings are apparently more recent.

This is a large (to us) enclosure. The outer wall is visible in the background.

The outer wall.
We left Taouz, and Mohammed after sharing a tajine and tea.

Tourist numbers are down following the economic crisis which has engulfed Europe. Mohammed is at

We retired to "Camping Znigue" which is deserted. About 10km N of Taouz and 3km E of the asphalt.

We tried to watch the sun set through the dust.

It really is the sun. The half moon appeared overhead after dark.

Next morning we decided to have a do nothing day.

The 286 km from Mhamid to our campsite 13 km outside Taouz, including the historic sites, have taken us a leisurely 5 days.

Possible in a couple of days. But for a place full of nothing there was so much to see.

So we decided to have a day off to celebrate.

Erg Chebbi, Merzouga, Morocco Week 94 21st - 27th January 2013

Peter Sat, 26 Jan 13 21:23:19 +1100
Water drilling.....I understood that water in the Libyan desert (and there is copious quantities of it) was left over from the last ice age and therefore removing it is a mining operation as it will not be replaced. Is it the same in Morocco?

Peter & Margaret Sat, 26 Jan 13 21:25:49 +1100
And "Happy Australia Day" to you both :-)

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