I was looking forward to getting out of the busy city and getting in to the mountains to see some impressive waterfalls. The guy who owned the hotel had offered to organise some trips for me when I had arrived but I wasn’t very interested initially. He had just mentioned waterfalls (I like waterfalls) so the previous night on my return from the city I had asked if I could still go on the trip. He arranged it and I was booked in. Due to the upheaval of the previous days I didn’t really care where it was or what it was called, what was included or anything really. This is most unlike me, I would have usually done a bit of research, known the rough route we were taking and the shoe size of the tour guide. But I think my will to just get out of the city for a while was all I cared about. I knew that I had to meet someone outside of the hotel at 8 30 in the morning. That was it.
Sure enough, I was there at 8 30 ready to rumble with shorts on in case the opportunity for a swim happened to arise. This was a mistake I would come to regret. As I stepped out of the hotel I thought, “blimy, its a bit chilly”. It was early so didn’t make too much of it. A chap walked up to the hotel and said, “waterfalls”? I confirmed and was waved to follow him. He walked quickly through the streets to the square where there were lots of taxis.
The preperations to prevent the spread of the Corona virus were now in full swing in Marrakesh and it seemed that the Moroccan people blamed the Europeans for bringing it in (I think this is probably a fair assumption). They had started to become very cautious of us. I was about to have my first experience of this. The chap that had come to get me was trying to get one of the 8 – 10 taxi drivers to take me on the trip (so I thought at the time). There was a bit of arguing and gesturing and eventually one of them directed me to his car. I got in the back and the two men got in the front. 2:1 staffing I thought. They must think I’m a handful! I suddenly reaslised that I had absolutly no idea where I was going, how long it might take and who else might be coming with me. At that moment it looked like I was getting 2 tour guides for the price of one. We drove for a minute or two and I decided to get my guidebook from my bag. I looked up waterfalls in my area and started trying to work out where I might be going. With that we pull over and I’m told to get out. I paused a moment, a little confused. Then I saw about 10 other people stood outside of another hotel. The guy who had origanaly picked me up, took me to meet another man who seemed to be in charge of the whole thing. The other guests were French. My French is ok but I don’t have the confidence/ability to chat so I did my usual; stand back and suss the situation out. I stood there a while until a large minibus arrived. All of the other guests got on so I did too. As I got on I said hello to a few people but I think their English was worse than my French. I sat there reading the guide, trying to work out where we might be going and how long we might be going their for (It turns out, too long)!
The drive through Marrakesh was exciting as ever. We picked an English couple up at one of the finer establishments on the outskirts. They were from London and we got on well. The roads were rough and the driving was rougher. There were some ill looking people after 3 HOURS of driving. And he wasn’t hanging about! To add to the displeasure of this journey, the driver who I don’t think wanted to be there, wore a mask all day and insisted on driving with the window wide open. He also insisted that none of us sit in the seats directly behind him. I think that he was just worried so he is forgiven. However, for a man who doesn’t really feel the cold, I was fecking freezing. When we finally did arrive at the unknown waterfalls I have to say it was worth the drive (I think). We were met by a local tour guide and he told us about how the day would unfold. The sun started to show its face and things were starting to look up.
The tour guide was friendly and interesting. We as a group were starting to thaw both physically and socially. I had found another women from Yorkshire who had been hiding at the front of the bus and I realised that one young couple were actually from the Netherlands, not from France. They spoke pretty good English. The whole group started to soften and have fun together, even if we didn’t all understand each other. We walked down a long winding track to the bottom of the gorge. Some great trees, monkeys and donkeys along the way. It felt so nice to be away from lots of people and to be walking on rough, uneaven ground, away from the city. I felt more at home here. It reminded me of the south of France which is a place that I love.
As we reached the bottom of the gorge the true beauty of the waterfall became apparent. It was a stunner. There were handmade boats at the bottom which we needed to use to get across the river coming from the fall. We clambered on, some more gracefully than others. To my surprise the guy rowing the boat took us right up to the waterfall. We all got soaked but I loved it. My friends from London had struggled earlier on the off road terrain so this was really outside of their comfort zone. To be fair though, they embraced it and got stuck in. It was great.
It was now time to walk back up the other side of the gorge. There were man made steps all the way and the steps were edged with shacks, cafes and souvenir shops. Maybe 40 – 50 shops in total. Not one of them was open. This was clearly a very touristy place but today it was empty. We were the only group that I saw. Morocco was taking this virus seriously and I was starting to realise why we were all starting to feel a little unwelcome. Despite this, the sun was out, I was in an beautiful outside space with good people. This trip sorted me out and I had forgotten about the stress of the last few days. Foolishly though, I had forgotten that when you drive for 3 hours to get somewhere, you have to drive 3 hours back! I wont winge on too much but the trip back was much the same as the trip there. Shit!
I got back to the hotel and did some writing and got an early night. After checking that all flight information hadn’t changed though of course. It hadn’t, my original flight for 1:20 pm on Thursday afternoon was still in place. I just started to believe that I might get back on time. (Don’t be daft! That would make a rubbish story). The saga continued but for now at least I lay ignorantly, in a happy place.
To read any of my other blogs about this trip please visit http://www.woodbgood.com and if you want to keep up to date with new blogs make sure you follow me. See ya next time.