postcards / A journey to Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco
Ait-Ben-Haddou: a photo journal and travel tips from our road trip to the legendary ksar at the Southern slopes of the High Atlas.
The journey began even before the break of dawn:
with bleary eyes, yawns, and sniffles as we piled onto the bus in winter jackets.
Amidst sleeping valleys, the sun and moon shared an intimate moment.
A moment of utter stillness before the moon and stars bade us goodbye
and the sun engulfed us with the promise of adventure.
We passed, in awe, with cameras at the ready:
the valley of nature's architect where we encountered
a workshop of stone and debris to artful masterpieces.
Beyond its workshop lay a vast sandy landscape where one would find
the occasional dwelling, a stop for rest and food, or peruse the vibrant local handicrafts.
At last, we arrived, with the sun shining down our backs: at
the architectural wonder that awe alls- Game of Thrones fans or not.
Under the blistering sun, we hiked.
Up, up, up to the top: as a villager of old, wary of invaders.
Along the river, we went: as wayward travellers in search of shelter.
Or as curious adventurers eager to explore.
Until the late afternoon,
when our guide reminded us of the city we had to return to for dinner.
The twilight artist had once again, repainted the sky to muted purples.
The moon enwrapped the tired students in soiled t-shirts in her soft,
comforting glow as the bus drove through the valleys now swallowed in shadows.
- Travel tips -
I do recommend booking a tour if you wish to visit the Ait-Ben-Haddou. We had a local tour guide who joined us in Marrakech and organised where we would stop for lunch and toilet breaks while explaining the history along the way, which was very convenient.
- To pack -
We had to balance on sandbags to cross the river to the entrance! Also, this is a vertical village and there were many flights of steep stairs.
Cash. And always have some loose change!
In case any of the local handicrafts catch your eye! Some of the rest stops required loose change for use of the bathrooms or if you want to get a bottle of water or a small snack.
Water and snacks.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrellas, hats, and (optional) scarves to use against the dust.
There was no shade at all during our hike up and it was very hot and very dusty.
The bus ride through the mountains was very bumpy. A few of my friends who suffer from motion-sickness had to take medication throughout the road trip.
I thoroughly enjoyed the road trip for it was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
I found the village or Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou a whimsical place: to arrive at what resembled a town of earthen castles surrounded by tall walls and encircled with a river in the midst of the desert plains - it was like a Moroccan version of Hogwarts!
I hope you enjoyed this and I hope these tips helped!
Thank you for reading!