Here on the outskirts of a hazy late-morning Marrakesh, I can hear trickling water, birds chirping in the trees above me, conversations in french and Arabic, and I can smell the rising scents of tangines laden with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cooking in the restaurant I am sat next to, swirling with the earthy aroma of last night’s rain, and the scent of the city and it’s pollution.
The past few days have been wild, days spent navigating route 307, a tiny winding road (more of a trail) that climbs and winds up from the high desert plains of southern Morocco, out and over the atlas mountains, peaking at 7500 feet before descending back down into the lush green valleys, terraced fields dotted with countless blossoming almond and fig trees, and the deep orange gorges and cascading waterfalls of Demnate and the surrounding areas.
There is little information to be found about route 307 online, or at least that I had managed to locate, save a few online forum posts from 2012, suggesting that the route is quite something, but harsh.
The posts are right, the road is barren, tremendously desolate, and indescribably beautiful, connecting tiny mud-built villages only accessible by 4×4, to the rest of the outside world, which feels an awfully long way away when you are surrounding by jagged snow-capped peaks.
What the posts could not have mentioned, however, was that the past year has been particularly tough in certain regions of Morocco, with regards to the unusual amounts of rain and snow that has been endured. This led to route 307 becoming quite the memorable experience!
The road, which began asphalted, but quickly became a dirt track, as we travelled further up into the mountain, and out of the province of Ouarzazate, deteriorated rapidly. The edges of the road began carving away, crumbling down the side of the mountain, and numerous potholes became huge piles of rock, numerous rockslides covering large sections of the road.
The most challenging obstacles to navigate, however, were the rivers of snow-melt that covered the path forward, the ominous looking deep puddles and thick rose coloured mud. We’re not quite sure how we made it through, our van is for sure not a 4×4, and there was one particularly wild moment where we couldn’t turn back, the slope was too icy, and it looked like we wouldn’t make it through one river crossing, but we did! And boy, are we glad we chose to travel route 307. It seems like the most rewarding journeys are quite often the most challenging, too.
Here’s our huge flickr set from Morocco
And here’s a bunch on flickr from our Route 307 adventure!