For our final full day we wanted to pack in as much as possible. We were told of a trip to the mountains that was less hiking than the others to leave time for a visit to a Berber house and camel riding. As none of us had packed very sensible shoes and some of us were very keen for a camel experience this seemed perfect and we happily signed ourselves up.
The next morning a bus picked us up and we were off towards the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
The closer we got, the more the bus climbed up windy dirt roads and we saw little clusters of houses built into the hills.
When we stopped our guide cheerfully told us the waterfall was a 45 minute hike away through the mountains. “We’ll be back in an hour and a half” he said, “two hours tops.”
Nervously we looked at each other, none of us really dressed for hiking and one among our number in little heeled ankle boots. But there was nothing to be done but follow our guide up some very steep steps.
The climb was hard, and involved a lot of scrambling over boulders and jumping across precariously wet stepping stones, almost submerged in the river.
Other members of the party, obviously as unprepared as we were in dresses and flipflop style shoes, had to admit defeat but we persevered.
When we eventually made it to the waterfall we were allowed only a few minutes to recuperate before we were pointed to a rickety ladder up against a sheer rock face.
‘Up there?’ we thought. ‘Really?’
“Just fifteen minutes more” he told us and there we split. Two of us trekking further up and into the mountains until we couldn’t see them anymore, and two of us choosing to remain behind and enjoy the scenery.
And it was some pretty stunning scenery. But as the time passed and we saw our friends become so small we could no longer see them our thoughts turned to the return journey.
‘How are we going to get back?!’
After what felt like an age the others returned with dirty knees and scuffed palms and we looked to our guide for our next move. Fortunately he set off in a new direction and we realised there was another way back. One that didn’t involve trying to climb backwards down the ravine.
The path meandered through little villages on the way, and we saw monkeys playing on some terraced slopes and sheep grazing on the hills. It was much easier than the ascent. And before too long we were back at the foot of our mountain, stood by the river. (Wayyy outside of our two hour time estimate.)
Lunch was held on rickety tables on the banks of the river and consisted of tagines of chicken, olives and preserved lemons with flatbreads. And before too long we were back on our bus and off to meet our new quadrupedal friends.
The camel ride was short and sweet, which is probably for the best as some among us were not happy bunnies.
To be fair the camels did smell awful! But the view wasn’t half bad.
Once we got back it was time to say goodbye to our new friends,
“But wait!” Mine seemed to say as he ran after me.
“Don’t you want a picture to remember me by?”