Monday 19 January 2009

Up and down Jebel el Kelaa (Day 6)

Once again we woke up early in the cosy Ouarzazate Hotel with the intention of going hiking. But this time we weren't ready to give up so easily.

We got up, ate a quick breakfast we bought the day before. I put on my backpack and off we went. Well, almost...
When we tried to leave our hotel, the door was locked and the receptionist was nowhere to be found. We didn't want to give up the hike before it really begun, but there was nothing else we could do but wait.

So we went back to our room. The receptionist didn't take too long to return and we were out of the hotel in a minute.

Jebel el Kelaa was recommended to us both by Lonely Planet guide and a Swiss couple we met on the day before.
We found the northern gate out of the Chefchaouen Medina and followed a path uphill through the old graveyard. Sun was still hiding behind one of the mountains to the east, but it wasn't dark anymore.

It was easy to follow markings on rocks. Unfortunately we couldn't decipher the text accompanying them. The hike was quite pleasant. The winding track was not too steep, but it went on forever. We also had quite a slow pace and have stopped quite often to take photos.
During one of those stops we admired a group of falcons playing in midair, shooting past us while we were sitting on an edge of a cliff. They were too fast for me to take a decent photo. This reminded me that I must replace my Olympus C-5060 camera with a decent DSLR soon.

I also stopped a couple of times to disturb some dung beetles. There were quite a few of them, rolling little balls of dung around. M. is always complaining when I start bugging bugs. It was no different this time but in spite of that it was worth the effort. I got a few really nice macro shots.

Almost all the way to the top there were remains of marijuana harvest on both sides of the track. As a local explained they harvest it at the end of August and in the next months it is time to turn it into hashish.

It took us approximately four hours to get to the top.

Actually we are still not sure if it actually was the top. At 1600 meters there were a couple options to continue. We took the most obvious one and made it to the top.

There we enjoyed a meal of local bread and a few peaces of soft cheese we brought with us. As we learned buying them, those soft cheese pieces, wrapped in aluminum foil were not sold in prepacked boxes, but piece by piece. Surprisingly also cigarettes (by cigarette not box) and chocolate (by square not tablet) are sold in a similar manner in the Medina streets.
After enjoying the snack and a beautiful view we went back down. It took us two and a half hours to get back to the town. First we freshened up with a fresh orange-banana juice and then relaxed until diner.

We were pleasantly tired therefor a paella we ordered seemed even more delicious.
Another fresh orange juice followed (these fruit juices simply rule - they cost one third of the price we're used to back home and are even more delicious). As usually the day ended with a pot of mint tea.


zu 7 February 2009 at 04:30  

A good place to experience...

vextoria 22 March 2009 at 13:25  

wow.. the bug is pretty! Nice shot


Anonymous,  25 October 2014 at 00:55  

We done this summit 2 days ago, why no pictures from the saddle or summit?

Travel-PB 27 October 2014 at 08:42  

@bar72: Unfortunately those photos from the top do not look so good. We are also not completely sure we found the right top (there were two peaks and we did not know which one is the right one).

Do you have any photos yourself? How did you like the hike?

Anonymous,  8 November 2014 at 14:33  

The hike was fantastic. Good to make it in 31c sunshine.

Here is the summit from the West looking East:


and looking South back down to Chefchaouen:


Travel-PB 8 November 2014 at 16:44  

Nice photos! I am glad you made it to the top and enjoyed the hike. Looking at your photos I am guessing we did not make it to the right peak. It must have been one of the neighbouring ones. We also had nice views from our top but I believe Chefchaouen was not visible so well.

How much time did you need for the climb?

Anonymous,  14 November 2014 at 16:35  

We did it in around 7hrs in total. I am a seasoned walker of Munro's back in Scotland though so relatively fit.

Travel-PB 15 November 2014 at 19:50  

That's a reasonably good pace. I think we needed a bit under 8 hours but I am sure we spent at least one of those hours taking photos and we also spent some time enjoying a snack with some great views. :)

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