Central Atlas (April 2014) -- Part 2: From Assif Imejdag to Zawyat Ahancal
Soon after reaching Assif Imejdag below Tizi n′Toudat, we left its valley to establish our camp #11 near a better source of water. On the next morning we returned into the riverbed of Assif Imejdag by another path and followed this riverbed up to our camp #12. Along the way we saw many goats, sheep, and dromedaries. Dromedaries tend to stay on the upper ridges where, thanks to the wind, there are fewer bugs.
In the riverbed of Assif Imejdag.
Further up Assif Imejdag had made its way through a very narrow gorge (see here for photos of the gorge I took in 2008).
Above the gorge, the valley of Assif Imejdag widens again.
From camp #12 we climbed to Tizi n′Wadou (literally ′′Windy Pass′′), which roughly separates the southern flanks of the Central Atlas from the northern ones. The views from this pass over Jebel Aroudane (on the left in the first picture below) and the canyons leading to the Taghia Cirque (see here and here for photos of Taghia Cirque that I took during previous trips) are awesome.
From Tizi n′Wadou it is a relatively long hike to the small village of Tafraout, with many ups and downs between Jebel n′Tarzilmine (on the south-east side) and Jebel Tafraout (on the north-west side, with a small snow cap in the first photo below), but with more great views.
Despite the apparently very dry environment, as is often the case in the High Atlas, we crossed a number of pleasant streams. We set our camp #13 near one of them.
As we were getting closer to the village of Tafraout, the scenery became a bit greener with more trees.
Finally we could see the village of Tafraout (in the middle of the photo below).
Views of the small village of Tafraout and Jebel n′Ourkar behind it.
The entrance of the canyon of Assif n′Tafraout after we passed the village. We did not follow this canyon, but instead turned left (west) toward the Koucer Plateau and Zawyat Ahancal.
On the Koucer Plateau (first photo), where we had our camp #14, and view of Jebel Tafraout from there (second photo).
On the south-western edge of the Koucer plateau looking toward Taghia Cirque (cliffs in the center of the photo) and Jebel Aroudane (right). Zawyat Ahancal is in the valley below Jebel Aroudane.
Successive views during the descent from the Koucer Plateau.
Approaching Zawyat Ahancal.
Zawyat Ahancal in the early morning. We had set our camp #15 a short distance from it. From Zawyat Ahancal I took a mini-bus to Azilal and then a grand taxi to Marrakech. Ichou and Ahmed went to Ahmed′s village (Ifrane in the Ait Bouguemez), one long hiking day away. Ichou then returned with his mule to his house in the n′Ouarg valley of Jebel Sahro, where he married his daughter a couple of weeks later.
Click on the following links to see photos of other sections of the trip: