Update: Landscape and Nature Slideshows
Since posting the general introduction to galleries devoted to landscapes and nature, my approach to the organizational structure of these slideshows has evolved into a format depicting the landscapes and profiles of nature that you see in the Table of Contents. In this way the viewer will see the varied landscapes side by side with more intimate portraits of both the flora and fauna encountered during my travels in each region.
These image collections will help the viewer to better understand the varied landscapes, wild flowers etc. found in Morocco. The country is essentially defined by its’ four mountain ranges, lengthy Atlantic and Mediterranean coast, and the stretches of Hamada and desert in the east and south of the country. Ironically, the Mediterranean coast dominated by the Rif is among the least populated and developed regions of Morocco despite being geographically closest to Europe.
Visitors to Morocco most often take a similar route around the country, especially if it’s their first time. Many visitors come back again and again and become intrigued by a Morocco off the beaten track defined by the three Imperial Cities (Fes, Meknes, and Marrakesh), and the Atlantic coastal cities of Tangier, Casablanca, Essaoiura, and Agadir. These slideshows offer the viewer a greater understanding and appreciation of the beautiful sights that await the traveler outside of urban areas, and hopefully will inspire more excursions into Morocco’s vast back country.
Obviously this project still has a ways to go and there are many areas I hope to know with the same intimacy that I now have with the countryside closest to Fes. My preferred time for these excursions is from Mid-March through Mid-May. Before this window it can be a bit too cold and rainy; by the end of May things are heating up and drying out. The abundance of flowers in many of the photos is an indication they were taken during this wonderful window of life that transforms much of the country into a vast garden of wildflowers.
My personal mode of travel is on a small scooter. When I travel I am never in a hurry unless the sun is setting and I have no clear idea where I will be able to spend the night. Many of Morocco’s smaller cities and towns have few, if any, hotels. However, that situation seems to be rapidly changing. The infrequency of gas stations off the main roads also requires some advanced planning.
Intro to Slideshow: Coastal Areas from Saidia to Al Hociema
This slideshow starts at Saidia, which is exactly on the border with Algeria. Traveling west the first important natural feature is the Moulouya River, which is 525 km long with its’ sources in the Middle Atlas. From the river’s mouth on the Mediterranean Sea I travelled inland to explore the countryside north of the agricultural town of Berkane, making my way along the road south of Mt. Kebaana, an interestingly shaped mountain that strictly speaking is neither part of the Middle Atlas, the Rif, nor the Beni Snassen ranges. From there I travelled back to the coast to visit the 30 km sandbar that separates Lac Bou Areq from the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the photos in the Nature Slideshow were taken in the dunes and pools I encountered.
After a few days in both Nador and the Spanish enclave of Meilila I headed west toward Al Hociema. I was hoping to first explore the Cap Trois Fourches — a designated National Park. Unfortunately the weather became stormy and I had to abort my attempt to explore this rocky outcrop. It promises to be an interesting natural area and is one of the last refuges of the Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) and a place I hope to return to shortly.
The journey now continues west toward Al Hociema.