July 14, 2024
Vacationing in Morocco Camel riding and Atlas Mountain tour

This is the third episode in a 4-part series about my trip to Morocco for a vacation. If you missed the first two, please read them here- Vacationing in Morocco: Arriving Marrakech and Day 1: Quad biking and dinner in Agafay desert.

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We got back to the hotel the previous day late. I was far spent and all I wanted to do was bath and sleep. So I did. I had to be up early on day 2 because we had an early start. I couldn’t journal, but I did take my time to watch the sun rise from my room.

Sun rise in Marrakech

For day 2, we went camel riding and toured the Atlas Mountain. Initially, camel riding was the only thing on our itinerary for day 2, while the mountain tour was for day 3. But it was later merged to a one-day activity because another activity was introduced to our itinerary- visit to the Ouzoud waterfall- which I will talk about in the next episode of this series.

The scenery we drove through on our 1 hour+ drive to the place we went camel riding was strikingly beautiful.

Enroute the camel riding destination Morocco

Every inch of the desert, mountains, roads and skies we passed was picture perfect- so picture perfect that I was reluctant to take pictures or make any videos because I wanted everything captured in my memory instead.

What's covered in this Post

Camel riding

On getting to where we were to start our camel riding, we were given an overall and scarf. I bought a scarf the previous day at Agafay desert because I didn’t want to use a publicly used scarf. I would have bought an overall too, but I couldn’t go to the market before the camel riding trip.

camel riding in MoroccoCamel riding in MoroccoN.B.: The overall and scarf we were given was neat. I think they are washed after each use because they smelled clean and were neatly folded. Buying a scarf and wanting to buy an overall was based on personal preference. 

Morocco camel riding atlas mountain tour
Uzoamaka and Kweku

The camel ride was short. It felt perfunctory. But I didn’t mind that it was short because just as I was about to get on the camel, I took a look at the face of the camel I was to ride and suddenly felt guilty for having to ride it. Its eyes looked like a bored, drained, about-to-get-cranky 49 year old civil servant that didn’t like its job but couldn’t resign because it needed to put food on its table- and it was only 10:35am.

I named the camel Kweku.

Camel trekking in Morocco

After the camel ride, we went to remove our scarves and overall, then have some Moroccan tea and biscuits before heading to our next destination. If there’s anything Moroccans are generous with, it’s their tea and biscuits. I drank Moroccan tea everyday I was in Morocco.

Dismounting the camel

Let me share a quick tip on how to get off the camel after a ride before moving on to talk about our next activity.

After your camel ride, when the camel wants to go down, it goes down with its front knees first. Because the camel is in an inclined position, chances are that you could fall forward before it gets its hind knees to the ground as well. Like this guy:

GIF source: Reddit

So what you want to do as a camel goes down is recline (lean backwards), with your hands firmly gripping the saddle handle. That way, when you lean forward as the camel bends it fore knees, you’ll be leaning to a sitting position, or at worse, to an angle 80 degrees position. 

Atlas Mountain

Our next tour activity was at the Atlas Mountain. As we drove there we made two stops to take pictures and learn about Morocco from our tour guide. (I will share what I learnt about Morocco in a later article.)

Our first ‘studio’ was a narrow road by the side of a mountain that overlooked semi-arid rolling hills. 

Paragliding in Morocco
Someone having an unforgettable paragliding experience.
Enroute Atlas Mountain Morocco
The terrain that our first studio overlooked. In Anas’s words, It looked like the Sahara, but instead of only sand, vegetation populated the mountain top and side. There was nothing in sight but more mountain tops and clear blue skies.

Our second studio was an open road flanked on both sides by expansive fields with the snow capped Atlas mountain in view.

Vacationing in Morocco Atlas Mountain tourVacation in Morocco Atlas Mountain tour

Enroute Atlas Mountain to tour

Imagine driving a convertible along this road at 50mph on a day the weather is 21°C and listening to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Islands in the Stream a bit too loudly. You’ll realise that the best things in life are free indeed. 

Atlas Mountain tour

On September 8, 2023, Morocco was hit by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake. This earthquake affected parts of the Atlas Mountain, claiming thousands of lives and displacing thousands more. As our van wound its way around the mountain, we saw buildings that were affected by the earthquake and tents that were now peoples homes. It was a sorry sight. 

As we drove past these tents, we saw other parts of the mountain and houses that were not affected by the earthquake. Some houses were built by the slopes of the mountain, close to the edge. Just looking at them nearly gave me a heart attack. I can’t live close to the edge of a mountain. Can you?

Expectations vs reality

On our itinerary, we had to choose one amongst the following options for our day 3 activity- Atlas Mountain tour, horse carriage and hot air balloon. I didn’t hesitate to choose Atlas Mountain tour because I thought we were going to hike up the mountain. But we didn’t. Instead we drove. I felt that driving, instead of hiking the mountain adulterated my experience of the mountain. Nevertheless, it was a fun trip.

But come to think of it, the Atlas Mountain is 4,167 metres high. I don’t know what gave me the idea that we would be hiking to the peak of this mountain in a day. If I visit Morocco again as a solo traveller, perhaps, I would attempt hiking to the summit of the Atlas Mountain. 

We didn’t drive all the way to the top of the mountain. We stopped in one of the villages to have lunch and rest for a bit before heading back to the hotel. For lunch, we had chicken tagine and fruits. 

The drive back to the hotel was eventful. We chatted about different things, from music, to football, to Bobrisky, to relationship and marriage.

Morocco camel riding atlas mountain tour review

Overall, I had an amazing day out. Our tour guide impressed us with his sense of humour, knowledge of Morocco and, most importantly, courtesy. I am grateful I had the opportunity to take a break from adulting and just bask in the splendour of the Atlas Mountains. It’s something I wish everyone could do too.

Up next: Day 3- Ouzoud waterfall, spa and the Medina Square.

Have you ever toured the Atlas Mountains or ridden a camel? How would you rate your experience?

5 thoughts on “Vacationing in Morocco: Day 2- Camel riding and Atlas Mountain tour

  1. The best things in life are free indeed… please where can I get the next available free convertible?

  2. Nice one dear. I hope when I visit Morocco one day, I will tour the atlas mountain. Beautiful pictures 💕

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