0096 The Lion Face Mountain (Mor 007—new)
Tafraut Travel Blog› entry 9 of 35 › view all entries
At 7 AM we’re off to Tafraoute--riding a grand taxi through twisted, tortured one lane highway up the mountains. I enjoy the little villages tucked into the mountains with their terraced farm plots. Back in 98 I traveled this route with an English fellow to see the fantastic Si Hamid o Mussa Moussem (Moroccan Carnival). I vividly remember the sight: after miles of a desolate, barren landscape, suddenly crossing a ridge and seeing this sprawling oasis bursting with life... tents, performers, musicians, men on horseback racing and firing guns (the old "fantazia" tradition), folks selling everything you can imagine--from sheep to magic potions... It was a scene straight out of the Wild Wild East.
Anyways, that was another story...
Today we're headed to Tafraut, and we are not to be disappointed.
Youssef and I immediately set out to explore, climb and clamber about. Youssef goes a little picture crazy, thus I've got more photos of Tafraut than anyplace else. A mile or two to the south we discovered another cool town: Aguerd Oudad with beautiful mansions built in the shadow of a majestic butte. My guess is these homes belong to folks who have worked in Europe or very successful Berber businessmen.
But not all folks here are prosperous--women in black (typical for Tafraut) still carry jugs of water from the wells up the steep hills.
After exploring Aguerd Oudad, we head back to Tafraut and stopped by a small restaurant for the best beans and brains I've ever had--I'm serious! They were delicious! It's the place on the left right before you reach the bridge as you leave the grand taxi station, if you ever go there.
Afterwards... "Let's climb a mountain" I suggest... so we do.
We pick an interesting looking peak to the west of town and start the ascent. The climb is a little bit of a challenge--but mainly just fun. The boulders were very rough, allowing you to get a good grip--but likewise pretty nasty if you fall! Along the way we had to crawl under a massive boulder lodged in a crevice... climb through a cave and out a hole on the other side... and finally to the peak.
I figure I had the right to name the mountain. Decided to call it "Jbel Kamanja" or "Banjo Mountain". We may not have been the first people to climb it, but certainly the first to climb it carrying a guitar... Well, actually, I have to ditch the guitar halfway--the climbing is too rough...
Far away we see the famous “Lion Face” a stunning natural carving in the mountain.
Tafraoute with its amazing rock formations is definitely a cool place to explore—different from what I’m used to seeing here in Morocco…