Morocco: On The Trail Of The Rally — Part 7 Zagora To Nador

The trip from Zagora to Nador would take two days. To make the drive easier on the cars that hadn’t been prepared for the rugged tracks we had been following for the past week, we had planned to take the highway north to Errachidia. From there, after the Gorges of the Ziz, some of us would take a dirt track for one last leg offroad, while the rest would continue by highway. The two groups would meet in Nador the evening before the ferry.

At breakfast, the plan changed. Everyone was sad to leave the warm sunny weather and beautiful countryside, and those who needed to drive carefully had found an “easy” track they wanted to try from Zagora to Tazzarine through the Tizi-n-Tafilalet between the Jbel Rhart and the Jbel Tadrart. Everyone was happy with this option. We’d take this track to Tazzarine where we’d join the highway and continue on the original plan.

PisteZagoraTazzarine01

The chosen route passed the start of the Special Stage we had practiced on the day before. This time, instead of driving overland toward the Tizi-n-Tafilalet, we turned onto a well-maintained track that was wide and smooth. Given the aspect of this track, it seems likely to be paved before long.

PisteTizi-n-Tafilalet

We stopped near the pass to take some pictures and then got back underway. There were several intersecting tracks at this spot, and we weren’t sure we had taken the right one. At first it was easy to follow, but soon the way narrowed, becoming winding and rocky. Having studied the roadbook the day before, we suspected the track followed part of the stage we had skipped. We tried to match our location with the indications in the roadbook, but we were driving the roadbook in reverse and had not recalibrated the Terratrip, so it was a losing proposition.

We were about 15 km from Tazzarine as the crow flies when we had to stop. The steering tierod on one of the cars had broken. The mechanics in the group had a look, but this time there was not much they could do. We’d have to get the car to a garage for repair before they’d be able to finish the drive to Nador. We didn’t have cell phone coverage, and there wasn’t much question that it would be better to drive out instead of waiting for a tow truck, so we slowly made our way to Tazzarine behind the damaged car.

PisteZagoraTazzarine02

PisteTazzarine01

When we arrived, the first stop was the garage. As we were waiting, some of us did a little shopping at the market. After lunch, we learned that it would take more time to repair the steering, and we decided to split the group again. There was another section of track we could take near Alnif northeast of Tazzarine. The rest of the group would drive directly to Nador on the highway once the car was repaired.

Tazzarine

Cropped zoom.

Tombouctou

When we got to Alnif, we realized that the track we wanted to take had since been paved, so we continued to Errachidia. We arrived about an hour before dusk. We had planned to continue past the Gorges of the Ziz before starting off road again to find a good spot for a bivouac. It was already rather cold in the foothills of the Atlas, so we opted to spend the night at a local hotel in RIch instead.

The next day we set out in search of a track to the northeast that lead through a river bed. Some of the people in our group had driven through it during Stage 2 of the Tuareg Rallye earlier this year. It was foggy in the morning, and we missed the turn after Nzala and had to double-back. As we left the road, the fog was starting to lift and we passed a number of people and several villages.

PisteBled

PisteMidelt

After giving a man a lift to a neighboring village, he invited our entire group to his house for tea. As we left, the sun was starting to break through the clouds. It was cold and windy, and the terrain was rocky and uneven, but the drive through the gorge was lovely. We had followed the service route and taken the highway during the Tuareg Rallye so it was interesting to see where the race had passed.

PisteOued01

Oued01

Oued02

Oued03

Once we were through the gorge, the track was fast again and we were treated to an immense landscape of beige sands, bright green scrub, clear blue skies and puffy clouds. Soon we came to the highway, but the bright scenery made up for the fact that we had to get back on the road.

PisteNord

Spooked

Road

We arrived in Nador late in the evening and had dinner with our friends at a restaurant not far from the hotel. When we got back the hotel walls were vibrating from the music in the disco on the top floor. We were tired, but it wasn’t easy to fall asleep with the noise and the lingering emotions from the week. In three days we’d be home and following the final stages of the Africa Eco Race online. We’d also have our own rally preparations to begin.

Go back to Part 1 and the post index.

2 Responses to Morocco: On The Trail Of The Rally — Part 7 Zagora To Nador

  1. Pingback: Morocco: On The Trail Of The Rally — Part 1 « Erg Machine

  2. Pingback: Morocco: On The Trail Of The Rally — Part 6 Around Zagora | Erg Machine

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