weaving along a road-clad serpent, our speedometre slowed to 29km/hr as our hearts raced at the views surrounding us. the crisp air sharpening our senses, as the day slowly thawed into the warmth of a long afternoon. children with grubby hands and rosy cheeks gleefully waved at us, their eyes seeing gifts of sweets and money in our small silver car and white hands. the world up in the mountains seems so removed, almost untouched, were it not for their reaction to the cloud of dust we swept up in their villages.

making it to the palmerie after a good 9 hours of driving, we collapsed into the night. the morning welcomed us into the oasis – a river running through the town and into the gorge. small subsistence farm plots nestled under the palm tress, with women coming done in droves to do their daily washing in its life-giving water. summer-strewn carcasses of jewelled foods littered our path; olives, dates, pomegranates as common as maize back home.

the gorge towered over us at 160m high, climbers’ chalk sprinkling the sheer faces above our heads. stalls lined a section of the wall, each owner sipping on mint tea and ready to pounce, given a 10m radius or any eyes straying from a purposeful walk past them.

this dusty place held a beauty unto its own. as we sat enjoying the typical moroccan breakfast we came accustomed to in the light of morning, we tried to take it all in.