Latest Conditions - Foum Zguid to Mhamid and Tagounite to Merzouga & Hotel Warning
A companion and I have just returned (10 days ago) from completing Chris Scott’s Foum Zguid to Mhamid and Tagounite to Merzouga routes and can confirm that conditions are per the routes and descriptions in Sahara Overland.
We found an easy way into Mhamid avoiding the Oued Draa dunes by following the piste which heading west skirted the town until due north of the town centre another piste lead due south.
There were traces of drying mud in the Oued Ziz but, apart from that, there was no surface water to cross either in the shape of fording rivers or on any of the chotts. Entering Remlia via the Oued Rheris was a little problematical but mainly due to lack of our experience. We would strongly advise walking the route in advance as there are so many tracks – some of which lead to dead ends in deep sand + steep drops.
Hotel Warning: Kasbah Tizzarouine, Boulmane de Dades
In Boulmane de Dades we stayed in what at first glance seemed to be a marvellous hotel. Nevertheless, despite having a walled compound and guard, we found that during the night someone had carved a cross into the bonnet of our hired Land Cruiser. This came as somewhat of a surprise as we had not upset or provoked anyone. The management’s response was complete denial. The manager’s words were "That’s an old scratch!" despite the still flaky paint work. He even took out his key and scratched his own battered Toyota pickup to show the "difference" – of which there wasn’t really much of one. The local Gendarmerie were a total waste of space too and didn’t want to fill in any forms for the insurance company. The tracksuit wearing chief of police at the station just off the Merzouga road slapped me on the shoulder and left us with the parting comment, "It’s not like in your country here…….!" No it wasn’t, then again that’s why we were there in the first place. Fortunately another officer who was visibly embarrassed by his conduct apologised on his behalf.
Sadly we also both contracted food poisoning in the Kasbah Tizzarouine and, to make matters worse, one of the employees named M******d took a rather unhealthy interest in us – if you catch my drift.
So what promised to be a very nice hotel stay turned into total disaster. Avoid this hotel at all costs.
PS Cost of diesel = approximately 50p per litre.
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space”.
Last edited by Tim O'Neil; 11 Jan 2008 at 14:32.