We set off from Ait Ben Hadou, heading to Marrakesh via the Tizi n Tichka pass. We had heard this was the fastest and prettiest route to get to Marrakesh, then planned to take a wide berth around Marrakesh, heading to Essaouira on the new road, finally arriving before dark to our final hotel, the Dar Adul, right on the battlements overlooking the ocean.
We quickly got on the right road, only to come across roadworks, making the route very slow. After a few hours of crawling along, we really hoped that the roadworks would end, but they didn’t, it was relentless. The one good thing about going so slow was you could really take in the scenery, and it is spectacular. everywhere is so green and full of water – it actually looks like Yorkshire!
We kept heading up and up, so high we had snow on the mountains surrounding us and it was really cold too. Then we were stopped. They had closed the road whilst some diggers worked high above us to dig out some huge boulders – really interesting to watch but not what we needed!
There were lots of sellers trying to sell rocks and minerals, fossils, herbs, and pretty much anything. Karen had just made me stop to buy some beautiful rocks from a really old guy on the side of the road, so we had our quota of rocks and did not need anymore! Eventually, we were allowed to proceed, and finally, things sped up a bit – we had gone over the top of the mountain range and were on the way down at last.
The road on the other side of the range was a brand new road and so progress was much more on pace, but still, the scenery was awesome. In all, it took us 4 hours to do 90km to get here, and we still had 300km or so to go, so we stopped for a quick break before heading on.
Finally, we reached Marrakesh. My sat nav was determined to get us through the city by the fastest possible route, however, it thought that was via the Medina….!
The roads got more narrow and eventually, we were pretty much stuck. Everyone was getting so angry with us and eventually a guy said to us cars were banned and we needed to head back – he of course knew the route and would happily show us!
After a lot of reversing and stressing, we eventually got turned around and started following our “guide” and his mate out of the Medina. He took us to the city walls and demanded 200dh for him and 200dh for his driver too – we knew it would cost us dearly and Marrakesh never disappoints!
We finally broke free of Marrakesh and headed to Essaouira. We had heard the new road was easy driving and hoped we would make up some lost time. Thankfully the roads were empty but we still had to be very careful with speed, again we saw so many speed traps just waiting to get us.
Eventually, we came over the hill and into Essaourira – one of our favorite places. We headed for the harbor as that is probably the best place to park, and closest to the hotel. We unloaded our gear and headed down the many alleyways to find our hotel, a small boutique-style place called Dar Adul right on the edge of the battlements.
On arrival, there was nobody there. Eventually, we found someone who called the owner to come and book us in. The hotel was really beautiful and so quirky, just up our street, but I have to say the welcome was a bit off. The owner was pretty unhelpful and just did not seem to want to be there.
As it was still Ramadan, you can understand it to a point, but we also expected a bit more too. Anyway, he did offer to book us a restaurant and take us to it later on so we could get some nice food.
After a pre-dinner drink or two, we thought we would go see the sunset on the battlements, only to find there were closed due to a film shoot, so instead, we walked around the city exploring. Everything was closed.
We headed back to the hotel to meet the owner, but he didn’t show up – so we waited a bit, then decided to go find something to eat ourselves! We found a small restaurant, had a nice quiet meal, and turned in for the night – still no sign of anyone here!