The Middle Atlas Mountains
Coffe Table Photography book out now!
999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
After the hustle and heat of Fes, I’m ready for some peace and quiet in the mountains. I have heard stories of the mighty Atlas Mountains for years, and I am grinning from ear to ear as I drive up into what is known as the “Middle Atlas”. I intentionally stick to the smallest roads I can find, and I’m not disappointed. They are very narrow and winding, often stuck to the side of the mountain. Mostly they are dirt, or else severely crumbling pavement that would be better if it were just dirt. I pass through countless tiny farming towns where houses are made of mud, and people are working in the fields.
As I climb higher and further from the cities I’m shocked to see enormous old-growth trees, and even a few small lakes. It really looks like parts of Canada or the Pacific North West, just with red dirt. I make my way to a small lake called Aguelmame Azigza, which has been recommended by multiple people – on the near end is a small village, a popular spot for Moroccan tourists. I drive the rough road to the far end, where I meet up with fellow Overlanders Mike and Shannon of S&M Boiler Works.
Mike and Shannon set out on their motorbikes 2 years ago to ride around the world, so we have endless stories and memories to share. It’s always great to meet like-minded people so I don’t have to talk about “why” I’m doing what I’m doing – they just get it.
I’m putting together an “Overland Profile” of Mike and Shannon that will be up on The Road Chose Me YouTube Channel soon.
Camping on the edge of the lake is beautiful and tranquil, and after a swim and a hike, we know we’ll stay another night. In the morning I’m surprised to be woken by a troop of wild monkeys making their way through our campsite. There are about thirty of them, including tiny babies being carried on backs.
After they realize I’m not trying to chase them away, they are more than happy to sit and pose for my camera, even causing some trouble in camp trying to steal stuff out of Mike and Shannon’s tent.
I am loving Morocco!