Road to Dades Gorge
Today, we start our six-day tour around Morocco. Our tour guide, Ali was picking us up at our Riad at 8:30 in the morning. Our hotel offered complimentary breakfast which typically starts at 9 am but because we were leaving at 8:30, they prepared us breakfast at 8 am. The continental breakfast includes various types of bread (flapjacks, french toast, bread), dipping sauce (strawberry jam, honey, peach jam, butter), yogurt, fresh-squeezed orange juice, mint tea, and coffee.
Our driver arrived right at 8:30. It had rained in the night so we were pleased that our driver carried our bags as we tried to dodge the puddles. Once we got into the car, our driver had us sign health declaration cards before we began our excursion.
Table of Contents
1. Berber Village
11:00 – Our tour guide was fantastic. He drove us around providing fascinating facts and sharing his life experience in Morocco. We drove through Berber villages. Morocco has two primary cultures, Berber and Arabic.
2. Ait Benhaddou
13:00 – Ait Benhaddou is the first sight Ali took us which is a UNESCO site. The sight is a community of clay architecture grouped together.
Time Spent: 15 mins
3. Atlas Studios
13:30 – Ali and my PL are movie buffs so we took a detour to Atlas Studios. PL just completed watching Game of Thrones so Ali took us to the sight where parts of the show were filmed. One of the props was repurposed and is now being used for an Amazon Prime tv show.
Time Spent: 30 mins
4. Rose Water Distillery
16:30 – Morocco is known for their rose water so our tour guide decided to take us to the place where rose products are made. The tour of how rose products are produced only lasted five minutes. We spent the rest of the time testing products and purchasing them. The products were on the pricier end with rose water costing 100mad and rose cream for 250mad. I think we could barter but we did not know that.
Time Spent: 30 mins
5. Tamnalt Hills
17:45 – The last activity we did today was the Tamnalt Hills lookout area. This area is known as the monkey paw because the hills are shaped like monkey paws.
Time Spent: 15 mins
Where to Eat:
Lunch: Le Pecheur
14:15-15:15 – Le Pecheur is a fisherman influence restaurant. There were not a lot of food options leaving Marrakech so the expectation of food was pretty low but the food was cheap. We ordered a margarita pizza, coke, and chicken skewers for 65mad.
Dinner: Auberge Chez Pierre Restaurant
Dinner at our hotel is served from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. We only intended on drinking wine and sharing a light meal but we unexpectedly ordered a five-course meal. We first ordered the wine which was paired with horderves (olives, bread, and olive oil/olive cream sauce). Next, we decided to order dinner, but it was a prefixed meal designed by the chef. I guess it is common to have a prefixed meal in Morocco…or at least multiple dishes. The five-course meal included warm bread with a dip that tasted similar to mushroom soup but of spinach and artichoke texture. The second dish was the pumpkin soup. The soup kept us warm since it was cold out but it was rather bland. We had to add some black pepper to season it a little. The third dish was melted cheese over mixed veggies and chopped chicken over green sauce with a side of salad. That was my favorite dish of the night. For the main course, I had a chicken cream wrapped in pastilla that tasted like a chicken pot pie. The dish was paired with onions, sweet potatoes, and veggies. For dessert, we ordered the creme Brule and chocolate brownie with saffron ice cream. Overall, I was impressed with the dinner. We ordered a reserve red wine for 270mad ($28) and the five-course meal 490mad ($51).
Where to Stay:
→ Gorges Du Dades, Douar Aït Ouffi, Boumalne Dades, 45150, Morocco
Auberge Chez Pierre is a French-owned hotel in the Dadas Gorge. Upon arrival, the employees escorted us to the restaurant. It was cold so the workers threw some logs in the heater. Soon, they came over and dropped off some tea with fresh fruits in them and some scones. The tea was delicious and perhaps the best I’ve had. Once we were done, one of the employees took us on a tour of the facility. I felt a little invisible during the tour since the gentleman wanted to practice his Spanish. He didn’t say one word to me and barely acknowledged me. Left me with a bad impression overall. Soon, he escorted us to our room but somehow my friend broke the key in the door and we were upgraded to another room. The hotel has a wonderful view of the Atlas mountains. It was pretty cold and it even snowed at night.