V, WFD and I recently made the journey from Marrakesh to Merzouga. For the readers that have yet to head to Merzouga this drive is approximately 350 miles east from Marrakesh to a place just miles away from the Algerian border.
This is not a drive for those with weak constitutions.
In order to make it to Merzouga, you must first proceed through the Tizi n’Tichka, the Tichka Pass. The mountain roads gradually pick up altitude as you leave Marrakesh, though it’s easy to mistake the beginnings of the upcoming craziness for just an itty-bitty hill. The gentle curving road suddenly takes on a new character – the left side of the road is a deep gulch and guardrails suddenly seam much more important.
Where are the guardrails?
The gulches become ravines. The ravines become sheer drops. The gentle curving road turns into a seemingly never-ending series of hairpin turns.
You will freak out.
Buses will crowd you out of your lane as they tear down the hill. Dudes sit on the lone guardrails – exactly where you don’t want them to hang out – while peddling home made phoney precious stones and fossils. Every turn is a blind. Peeled rubber slicks all of the turns and makes you wonder “well, did they make it”?
And then you come across this view:
After passing through a canyon slightly higher up, cliff faces are replaced with mountain-top fields filled with grazing ponies and cows. Goats feed on lush expanses of long grass and Berber families stretch out blankets for daily picnics.
You are not in Kansas anymore.
If anything, this drive feels like a Top Gear fan’s wildest dream.
Seven hours of hard charging through the more switchbacks and desert and you’ll be in Merzouga, but what’s the fun in going the easy way? Stay tuned.