Day one of a six day hike known as the Saghro Traverse. We spent the night at a hotel on main street in Kalaat M'Gouna and started the hike just down the street. The town has a market, shops and cafés but we were fully stocked for the 6 day trip before we arrived.
The trail takes you south to the river Dades and across a narrow wooden bridge. You will pass near to the village of Ait Youl and not see another town for a couple of days.
We got off to an early start and the first half of the day went really well. We arrived at our target for the day just before 1:00 and decided to push on (using written notes/maps instead of wiki gps).
We definitely fumbled around (avoid the detour around the 20 km mark) and back tracked a bit in the afternoon. We ended the day setting up camp at an orchard/farm, the only green space in the area. They had piped water flowing into a cistern and a flat area cleared of rocks suitable for setting up several tents. We had trouble communicating (Berber?) but they seemed very happy with the 20 Dirhams we gave them and they watched intently as we set up our tent. Tea was offered in the morning.
Made some good mileage on the first day but also realized navigation and sourcing water would not be easy. Tomorrow's hike is: Saghro day 2
Notes on the overall trip:
The start and finish points can be accessed by bus (or grand taxi) from the nearby city of Ouazerzate. Total hike length was just under 119 kilometers (average 19.8 per day). Up elevation around 600 meters per day (biggest day was day 4) hiking times were around 5-6 hours per day, with breaks, lunch, setup/teardown the days were full. Peak elevation (also day 4) was 2500 meters, we had no altitude issues. Climate can be harsh, cold at night and hot during the day. A very secluded area, it is easy to spend 3-4 hours on the road/piste/trail and see zero traffic (in some sections it could be days before you saw anyone). Water supply and navigation are real challenges, if you are not confident in your capabilities hire a guide. I would not attempt this hike in the summer. Do not count on buying any food, you need to be fully supplied at the start. Children in villages will request pens (stylo? stylo?). A challenging hike but it does provide exposure to a different culture, a good dose of solitude and some great views.