Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Aït Benhaddou and flash floods!

After our Sahara experience we drove back through the Draa valley to Ourzazarte. It was raining intermittently but we still managed to stop to catch frogs in a stream and play with strange lizards at the side of the road.

After lunch the rain was continous and quite hard. The journey then got much more exciting. The bridge over the dry river bed that we had crossed two days ago was now buried 2 feet deep under water! Flash floods! The traffic stopped and one at a time each vehicle tried to cross. The cars didn't even try and turned back. The children were so excited, personally I saw my life flash past my eyes!

View through the emergency exit as we crossed the raging river.

Our destination was Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO world heritage site. It's a fortified city in Souss-Massa-Draa. It stands proudly on a hill alongside the calm Ounila river, now a raging torrent.

It's famous for it's kasbahs constructed of mud. Apparently each rainstorm washes a bit more away! We crossed a bridge into the town and snaked through narrow alleyways.

Most families have moved to the new town but ten still live there amidst the crumbling mud. The children were fascinated by a donkey living in the downstairs of one of the houses while I prefered to watch a lady weaving on a loom. We climbed to the top of the hill to the old granary where the wind was so strong we had to hold onto the children. Breathtaking!

The town has become more famous recently as it is frequently used as a film location.The Prince of Persia and Gladiator have both been filmed there.  

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