Day 209 13th February
M’hamid to Chagara Berber camp – no cycling
Bike strapped safely against side of Land Rover Santana . What a day!
Up at 7.30 to serve breakfast to the 17 hungry Malaysians. Had a coffee and got to work serving and clearing tables. Georges was busy so I managed on my own! Then sat down to my own brekkie of delicious pancakes and jams with bread, coffee and oj. I then packed the bike tightly against the side of the car with bungees and Georges and I packed everything around it.
I popped into reception to charge my phone and got roped into setting tables for lunch. I finished packing and cooked kebabs on the grill. I can’t believe Omar trusted me but they all turned out well! Then served lunch which was delicious couscous salad and kebabs with apple tart for dessert .
We cleaned up and did the washing up and then said good bye to the Malaysians who were off to the desert. I cooked my beef on the barbie and said goodbye to Maggie and Omar who sent us off with bread and tart. Then we set off to buy some diesel and water for the trip. We finally headed off into the desert at about 2.30 .
It was incredible as we set off through the bumpy stones and followed the piste to the sand. It was difficult to hear anything over the sound of the engine and everything in the car shaking, so not easy to talk, but once we’d established the route I sat back and enjoyed the ride.
It was like being in a Top Gear show but without the inane jokes and having to listen to Clarkson! Before long in true Top Gear fashion the engine was overheating and we needed to stop to let the radiator cool, no Top Gear crew to help us out and no emergency vehicle either. We had to make regular stops so although George did look more than a little concerned it did give me a chance to enjoy the views and take some photos.
Despite the delays we were making reasonable time until we saw a moto (moped) by the side of the piste and pulled over to offer some help. Ali had a puncture and was trying to repair it without glue.
Luckily I had some spare and we took his bag on to Chagara to save on weight for him. We had no idea where we would meet him, but needed to get on before the sun went down. We stopped at a couple of camps to ask for Ali and if anybody knew of a good spot for us. A nomad with goats stopped us and begged for whatever we had. Then as we asked two more nomads with camels if they knew Ali – because that was his job too, he appeared over the hill and told us to follow him to his camp. We tried to keep up but he was trying to rush due to his slow puncture, so as we went through very narrow paths, poor George’s new paintwork took a bit of a pounding.
Then we arrived as the sun set and it turned out that Ali was Mohamed’s brother (who I tried to book this camp with earlier in the week through booking.com).
He was very surprised to see us and as they had no other guests he offered us a triple bedded tent for free as he said I was a nice person! Georges and I cooked ratatouille and added the beef from the barbie earlier, while drinking some gin & lemon, and Mohamed and Ali and their cousin joined us with their chicken tagine. We ate and talked for quite a while and it was great to talk in more depth through Georges who could translate. It was such a clear night to stargaze but we were both tired so went to sleep at about midnight.
Chagara Berber camp free.
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