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International Mountain Leader, Winter and Summer Mountain Leader

Blog for June 2nd, 2015

June 2nd, 2015
Morocco, Insight into goat herding
Amzouzart to Lac de Ifni

View from Gite in Amzouzart
Looking west from Gite in Amzouzart towards direction of Lac de Ifni
Breakfast wasn't available at the gite so I went back to the cafe at the campsite
Camping sign at Amzouzart
My assumption for the day was that I would be meeting large numbers of trekkers heading along the popular tourist route to Lac de Ifni

Along the way were several national park buildings but they were all closed. In the end I didn't see any other trekkers
No Shopping
I'd arranged to have breakfast at 9:00 rather than early so I would arrive in Takatert about 10:00. This would allow the shops to open if they were waiting for any deliveries

Unfortunately the first shop was shut and the second one only sold sweets and sandals, lots of them

This left Tirhaltine which had parking shown on the map so I assumed it would cater for tourists and sell food
Cafe at camping area in Amzouzart
Park sign
Local building methods using trunks for support and orange plastic tubes for electrical wire
Last 'parking area' before Lac de Ifni
As expected, Tirhaltine has facilities for tourists: a motel and shop. Upon arriving the usual invitation of drinking tea was offered to me and accepted

Whilst the tea was being made I went into the shop. A special cabinet was unlocked to reveal an Aladdin's store of chocolates, all offered at very high prices. I bought bread and tinned fish plus a few cheaper treats
Motel at Tirhaltine
Shop and cafe at Tirhaltine
What Price?
After finishing tea and the simple food it only left paying for them and the provisions. The initial price being charged was more than I would have to pay for a room, shower, evening meal and breakfast

The owner called a relative over who also had a calculator. They went through each item giving it a high price. They were still far short of the original total price

A more reasonable, but still over charged price, was agreed upon. This was the first time such high prices had been attempted

Not surprising I was being charged so much since I was on a potential tourist motorway at the last services
Potentially my most expensive meal
Looking back at track approaching Lac de Ifni
The route to Lac de Ifni is a dirt track suitable for vehicles so it must be super busy in the torist season with tourists being shuttled up
Cafe at end of track to Lac de Ifni. Closed
Looking down to Lac de Ifni
Sign requesting responsible behaviour
I was in no rush to descend to the lake so picked the contouring path shown on the map to the south of the lake. There was a faint path visible that became harder to see and follow so I gave up. It was going to take too long to try and find which way it went, if it was at all possible to do given the fact that some paths no longer exist

From the lower hut there was a path going down to the water that wasn't shown on the map. I explored this to see if there was a shore line path. If there was a path it would be over a lot of loose scree so again would take too long
Faint path (reddish stones above grey slabs)
I did find a large pile of empty sardine tins so maybe it was just the path to the rubbish dump
Discarded fish tins
That left the usual main path going around the north side of the lake

Once I got to the other side of the lake I could hear falling rocks every few minutes. Using my binoculars I could see a small herd of goats being driven by a shepherd

It was just as well I didn't go along the shoreline path as it would have been below the falling rocks

The weather was starting to turn an there thunder in the hills above. Beyond the food stalls (which were all shut) and camping area there were a mixture of deserted and locked buildings. The rain had started so I took shelter in one of the empty buildings

A shepherd, Hassan, was herding his flock towards the buildings and unlocked one further along. I went to his hut and offered him some bread, I received an offer of tea that I accepted. It turned out it was going to be goats milk rather than tea. It was very pleasant and not strong tasting compared to goats cheese

We got talking and he offered his paddock area for camping plus food
Hidden Kids
He went about his chores which included removing some rocks from a long chamber that adjoined his sleeping area. Out jumped 20 kid goats that proceeded to climb on the walls calling for their mothers

There was also a stone 'igloo' that was opened up. It looked like dinner was being pulled out as a thin lifeless looking kid goat was extracted. It was carefully put on the floor and it started to move. Mum put her head out of the gap and joined her offspring. The kid had been born that day and still had the umbilical cord attached
1 day old goat outside daytime stone 'igloo' at Lac de Ifni
Three more shepherds brought more goats off the hills until about 200 were assembled. One of the shepherds had a large cut on his palm so I administered some simple first aid
Goats grazing at west end of Lac de Ifni
I did the 20 minute round trip to get water for the shepherds from a hose running off the hillside (rather than take water from the lake)

So on a day when I thought I would be meeting many tourists I saw none and had a great insight into how the shepherds mange their goats. A good experience