The cool dudes at Jang Island School, Indonesia
So here we are, nearly ready to tick the calendar over. It’s been another busy year on the road, nine countries, a few walks, some good bike rides, a lot of spectacular locations, and friends, new and old.
Apart from some travel articles for the mainstream press and a new play, I’ve been more active with the camera than with the keyboard this year. So it seems appropriate to look back on the year through the lens. A few shots worked out well. Continue reading
Click on this photo and look carefully, and you may be able to see the mules coming to our rescue.
The little log and stick bridge is supported by sandbags at each end. It has sagged onto the surface of the muddy river, its waters swollen by melting snow from the surrounding peaks. It has no handrail.
Local children skip over its 15-metre span. Village women stoically struggle across, carrying absurdly large bundles of animal fodder on their backs.
Nobody seems to have any trouble. Until it’s our turn – six Dutch hiking friends, one Australian and our Berber guide Khalid, two hours into our five-day trek through the foothills of Morocco’s High Atlas range. Continue reading
We’re staying in a riad just round the corner…but which corner?
To be honest, we’re a little apprehensive about visiting Marrakech. We know it’s a popular tourist town, and fear that will mean constant hassling from persistent hawkers, unreliable drivers, getting lost in the medina maze and stomach bugs.
We needn’t have worried. Continue reading
A fairytale sandcastle, melting into the desert.
We’ve never been to Morocco before, so everything seems wonderfully exotic. And our first night’s accommodation is extraordinary.
Khalid leads the way…though I’m ahead of him on this occasion.
“One of the world’s most famous places that nobody knows about,” says my Dutch hiking friend Bert.
We’re perched on a ridge above a wild canyon that drops several hundred metres to a dry river bed. My stomach is dropping with it; heights are not my strong suit. Away to our right is a patch of bright green, surrounded by clay houses camouflaging themselves by matching the ochre of the surrounding hills.
It is an amazing sight, and we have it all to ourselves. We don’t even know the name of the canyon or the village.
Is there anywhere else in the world anything like this?
That’s the appeal. Spectacular though it is, few people visit this part of Morocco, a six hour drive from Marrakesh. At the height of the trekking season we’ve met only one other group on our five-day adventure. For a combination of scenery, exotic culture and a sense of adventure, this trek in Morocco’s Ouarzazate region is as wild as anything I’ve ever done.
The full story on this blog will have to wait until I’ve made proper efforts to sell it. Meanwhile, here’s an assortment of pictures to whet your appetite. It was hard to choose! Continue reading