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During the February half term, 33 Lower Sixth pupils visited southern Morocco as part of their AS level geography study. They witnessed the incredible variety of the country’s landscapes, climate, people and culture over the week-long adventure. They experienced the barren arid plains of the Sahara desert, the remote and rugged beauty of the Atlas Mountains, as well as the hustle and bustle of the souks and bazaars of Marrakech’s Medina.
Led by Harriet Glass, Head of Geography at St John’s, the trip started in the arid desert environment of Zagora, with a three hour camel trek into the desert to camp overnight under the stars. The group also visited the village of Tinfou, a village overrun by sand encroachment where pupils witnessed the causes and effects of desertification.
From Zagora, the pupils headed up into the High Atlas Mountains. Passing through the Draa Valley, the group saw many beautiful geographical landscapes and stopped to admire the gorges formed by many years of flash flooding in the region. After a stopover in the remote village of Imlil, high up in the Atlas Mountans, the geographers spent the day trekking through the mountain region, learning about the impact of tourism on the area and about the flooding events that have shaped the landscape and affected the village.
The trip ended in Marrakech, where the pupils looked into the impacts of tourism and globalisation on the city. A tour of the city by ‘calèche’ (traditional horse drawn taxis), visits to the tanneries and a Berber pharmacy gave the group an insight into life in a traditional Moroccan city. Pupils also had the opportunity to visit the Souks to enjoy haggling for presents to take home.
The city, the desert and the mountains provided three very different experiences for the pupils to enjoy, to learn from and to gain many lasting memories, as well as the chance to put their knowledge and learning into practice.
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