Remnants of Zagora & Tamegroute (pt 1/2)
On the way through Ouarzazate, the 100-mile (170 km) road to Zagora is primarily a straight and flat divide giving way to pre-Sahara scenery and sensations. The land, although sparse, sparks the imagination of what once took place here: camel caravans, traders, religious leaders, and some of the earliest explorers who came through the hub of Zagora on their way to Timbuktu. A popular sign that attracts no less than a hundred photos per day marks the distance from Zagora to Timbuktu by camel – 51 days.
When approaching Zagora, any traveler will really start to feel the closeness of the desert to the area. In Zagora, you can explore the Kasbah of the Jews, who also took to trading as merchants with the wealth brought by the traffic of passersby. One attractive sight to the area is Djebel Zagora, or Mount Zagora, which stands well over 3,000-feet tall and can be reached via a small trail that any local will gladly point you towards. The sunset over the area, stretching over the surrounding oasis and palm trees, make it an entirely worthwhile excursion.
While Zagora doesn’t stand alone as the only site worth visiting, its redeeming qualities are the surrounding valleys and the palm oasis that are an easy jaunt outside of town. If you are in shape, then don’t worry about taking a taxi, but simply set out for a morning hike that will take you to the reality of the area – cultivation. This vast stretch of palm trees make up what is called the Draa Valley and are worth your time if you will be in the area for a day or two.