Day 77- Middle Atlas Mountains, Ziz Valley, and MONKEYS

Today we woke up to a breakfast of Moroccan crepes and fresh fruit before heading off for the day! Our first stop was at Iffram, the Swiss village. It is a very wealthy city that looks very clean and modern.  It actually does look like a village out of Switzerland! Many of the buildings look Swiss and it is so green! Since it is in the Middle Atlas Mountains, the temperature was milder as well. It is really amazing how quickly the landscape changes here!! 

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 Next, we got to meet some wild monkeys!! They were so cute! And because so many humans feed them, they are quite friendly! Their eyes are so human-like I almost felt like this one was actually listening to what I was saying. 

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 While driving, we saw many nomads tending to their sheep. Somewhere near by we would see makeshift tents that they live in. Even seeing them, it is impossible to fathom what their lives are like. 

Eventually we stopped at a large tourist restaurant for lunch. Because we loved the chicken tagine so much, we had it again! 

Along the way on our drive to the desert we passed through the Middle Atlas Mountains and the Ziz Valley. 

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 In the Ziz Valley, we saw a group of families cleaning their winter blankets in the river. We stopped and Lahcen introduced us. They were very kind and friendly people! They were cleaning their blankets before the weather gets cold and rainy. 

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Before getting to our hotel, we stopped on a hill across from the Erg Chebbi sand dunes and soaked in the view of the region of Merzouga. You can see the dunes behind us- what blew our minds is the sand dunes are actually only 14km by 4km! So basically, you can walk from one end to the other! The movies have been lying to us!! It is true that the Sahara Desert is very big, but most of it seems to be flat, dry land. 

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We then arrived at our hotel which is a kasbah (a building with 4 towers on each corner). It has a gorgeous courtyard and the backyard is sand dunes!

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Since we had an hour or so before dinner, we went out and walked through the Sahara dunes during the sunset! The dunes turn almost a bright orange in the evening light! Looking at the orange dunes against the bright blue sky was surreal, it looked like a painting. 

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Then we had a romantic candlelight dinner in the courtyard! 

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