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Panorama of Fez, with a stretch of thirteenth-century ramparts in the foreground. Until 1912 it was a closed city. Outsiders who overstayed their welcome often ended up with their heads on stakes at the gates. The French occupied Morocco in 1911, but never touched the old town, building their own Ville Nouvelle nearby.
Donkey bearing radishes. No motor vehicles are allowed in the Medina of Fez.
The nearest thing to a supermarket.
Fleeces on their way to the tannery.
With a dramatic flourish, this tight, concealed old city, is thrown wide open. Fettah showing me the mediaeval tanneries in Fez.
Paintbox effect at the mediaeval tanneries in Fez. Skins are treated and dyed in stone vats, as they have been for hundreds of years, by individual human effort, most of it gruelling leg work. There were once 200 tanneries like this.
With the children at Bachir's.
Cosmopolitan future for the Saharawis. Metou, the partly Welsh-educated woman who showed me round the camp, sporting her traditional melepha and less traditional jeans and Doc Martens.
Saharawi women outside a weaving school. Women virtually run the camps. They cook, build, administrate and run the children, whilst many of the men are in the army.
A dismembered camel's head outside a butcher's shop, complete and looking strangely serene.
The communal water for drinking, cooking, washing and sanitation is filled by old Volvo tankers, supplied by the UN, which shuttle between the camp and its nearest water source, an artesian well 16 miles away.
Sweet tea is the national drink of the Sahara. Everything stops for its preparation, which must never be hurried.
Night falls over Smara Camp. Dust, blown constantly into the air, creates this diffuse lemon-yellow sunset.
The Grande Mosqué at Djenné.
Getting a tour of Djenné’s market with Pigmy.
A decent-looking ram is top of Pigmy's shopping list.
With Amadou (Pigmy to his friends) outside one of Djenné's unique mud mansions.
Getting the inside story on how Pigmy met his wife.
The Dogon village of Tirelli, almost camouflaged, huddles against the escarpment. Up in the rock face to the left are the cave dwellings of the Tellem, previous occupiers of these cliffs.
Baobab Avenue, Tirelli. The lower bark of the tree is stripped to provide fibre for rope, whilst the leaves are crushed to make a sauce to liven up the unvarying diet of millet.
As Tirelli is built high on the rocks, everything has to be carried up from the valley below. Usually by the women.
With Amadou, my guide, and assorted family members in the headman’s compound. Thatched-roofed granaries in the background.
A Dogon ‘Good Morning’ can last several minutes.
A carved door on a granary records the Dogon version of how the world began.
Taking a break on the terrace that acts as the village’s reception area.
Escaping from the ferocious mid-day heat.
Crossing the Ténéré. Though I rode the camel every now and then, I always felt safer on the ground.
Loading up. The rhythm of the journey is set by the camels.
With Izambar, Omar and the team.
The sight of this single tree gives an extraordinary lift to the spirits.
One of the accompanying sheep is about to become a stew. On a long journey like this, fresh meat is a treat. The hide is valuable too and sand is rubbed in to preserve it.
‘Désert absolu.’ Absolute desert.
Another Tamahaq language class with Izambar.
Return to the crucifixion scene. Walking round a troglodyte home in El Haddej. Both Life of Brian and Star Wars were filmed in this unique, moon-like landscape.
The troglodytes of the Matmata hills.
Taking tea with Bilgessou and his wife and daughter. Refusing to move from the cave he’s lived in all his life, he makes money by providing accommodation for curious travellers.
Basket of olives – stalks, leaves and all ready for an underground olive oil press, set into the side of a hill.
Outside my cave at Bilgessou’s. The only view is up, and my mind drifts easily onto higher things.