Riding the ships of the desert in the biggest sand sea in Morocco – Erg Chegaga

M’hamid el Ghizlane is at the end of the road the leads into the dessert.

It’s a strange way to start a story about going to Morocco at the end of the road into the desert at a town only 40km from the closed Algerian border.

But this is discontinuous narrative and at some stage I will get back to the start of the journey.

But getting to the desert and it’s nomadic herders was a dream for me.

At M’hamid the mighty breva was garaged while the crew at https://www.desertbivouac.com/ took control.

The Erg Chegaga is the biggest sand sea in Morocco and a perfect place get the feel of the desert.

At the one of the small oasis, or…

Or riding a ship of the desert in a sand sea.

Riding the waves of sand up to 300m high.

Waves that change colour with the setting sun.

To time this adventure with a desert full moon was extra special.

And to sit on a Berber carpet in the desert listening to the sounds of Bedouin singing and drumming beside the camp fire under its silver light

This has to be one of my most amazing travel experiences. So thanks to Desert Bivouac

Kalbarri coastal cliffs and beaches

The coastal cliffs of Kabarri are steep and dramatic

With some spectacular rock formations and secluded beaches.

A rugged terrain where a wild goat can safely find a cave to hide away in.

Given I have adopted for my BMW motorbike the German name for goat, Steinbock, it was appropriate I spotted this old Billy Goat resting in his cave.

Closer to the river mouth the cliffs drop away but the sandstone rock ledgers provide a barrier against the surf.

Making calm rockholes for swimming. Suitable for fish and human.

I see fish and fish see me!

The river estuary is a perfect spot to catch the pelicans on the wing at dusk.

The setting sun

And the equinoctial full moon rising on my last night in Kalbarri.

On to Broome and completing the Savannah Way

Leaving Halls Creek there were sights to see but I had my heart set on Broome.

A stop at the big Boab on the side of the road.

It 43 years since, as a young man, since I was last riding a motorcycle up in north Western Australia, the Kimberley.

The road was unsealed and rough then.

Remnants of the old road still exist. Including the old corrugated iron shed that was the garage.

When I had some bike problems all those years ago. The owners let me use a corner of the workshop to replace the head gasket on my Norton Commando!

Finally Broome and the end of the Savannah Way crossing the north of Australia from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans.

And swim at Cable Beach. My first swim in the ocean since late June in Queensland.

With its Camel Rides,

Sunsets,

Coastal birds

And the Stairway to the Moon.

Given Western Australia’s covid free status and Broome’s beautiful weather it’s crowded and I had to camp 25km out of town for a couple of nights.

It was a good place to give the Steinbock a wash.

In company with the bush birds like this little Sparrowhawk

Now I have a room in a hostel in the town of Broome which is in the throws of its annual festival, the Shinju Matsuri.

But more on that next post.

Water springs eternal on the road to Wave Hill

Wave Hill is the town where fight for aboriginal land rights took a first decisive step with the Wave Hill Walkoff

I have been reminded that 23 August 2021 is the 55th Anniversary of the Wave Hill Walkoff.

I didn’t go all the way out to Wave Hill

After the hot dusty Bungle Bungles I was after a cold spring to soak in and such places existed on the road from Halls Creek to Wave Hill.

The first spring was Palm Spring just off the Wave Hill road.

The swimming hole was deep and cold just perfect to refresh the body.

I was going to set up camp there but a couple of locals, who had come out for a swim suggested Sawpit Gorge a few kms north offered better camping further off the road.

As I say -local knowledge is the best knowledge.

So I set up camp on a flat area above the gorge and the spring fed stream.

It was near a full moon that night.

Which shone a silver light on the Ghost Gum I was camped under.

Making it a ghostly silver in moons beam.

I have spent a long time in the outback and at this point I was only around 600km from the west coast and the Indian Ocean.

My next swim will be in salt water having crossed the northern part of Australia from Innisfail on the Pacific Ocean to Broome on the Indian Ocean.

I will finish this with Paul Kelly’s musical tribute to the Wave Hill Walkoff.

Nitmiluk National Park 2 – colours of Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge is the tourism centre piece of the Nitmiluk National Park.

The Gorge is over 16km long. In the dry season it is made up of 13 separate gorges each separated by natural rock rapids and waterfalls.

In the wet season, the monsoon, the water depth is, average 7 metres higher and the Gorge is one rushing torrent of water.

I was there in the dry season.

From a kayak there is a water eye view of the steep cliffs and the little barriers that separate the 13 sub gorges.

On an evening boat cruise at sunset the colours and the reflections take on a more reddish hew.

And after the sun has set

If your lucky the full moon rises

And of course there are the inhabitants of Katherine Gorge

The fresh water crocodiles

The colours of Katherine Gorge are indeed beautiful!