By the time I was ready to turn in, Mostafa had managed to charm me into staying an extra night and to spend the next day visiting a family of traditional nomads up on the plateau above the village. It took me a while to come around to the idea being still weary of my own ability to be taken advantage of and how unproductive it seemed in the Moroccan wilderness. But the combination of his genuine passion, an inspiring show of photos from his rickety phone and no doubt his brother's entrepreneurial influence Mostafa got me over the line. The next morning—after an awkwardly flamboyant breakfast (and a night thoroughly terrorised by bed bugs)—I spent a bit of time consolidating gear, photos and videos, and planning my forward route, while Mostafa prepared for our trek up the canyon. His family members milled around, ancient mum washing clothes on the stones under a lonely tree or brother heading off on his little motorbike with niece on the back to deliver her back to Errachidia where she was at school. After Mostafa had completed his preparation—which appeared to mainly involve packing a small pink backpack with empty water bottles and handing me a colourful headscarf—I was invited down to the family home to join Mostafa and his mother for lunch: a simple but delicious tagine (as they always seem to be). After lunch we set off at a brisk pace on foot north along the main road (the N13) which hugs the side of the gorge. A couple of kilometres along we turned off the road and headed east along a tributary of the river Ziz, stopping a little way up to fill up our water bottles with crystal-clear water from a natural source bubbling from under a rock. We hiked for a few hours along the gorge and up onto the flat, rocky plateau above stopping to inspect some caves where goats had been coming for shelter (and a shit) for many years and for Mostafa to take numerous selfies. The terrain reminded me a little of the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory. As daylight started to diminish it got quite cold. I heard later that it had been snowing quite heavily at the higher altitudes around Ifrane further north and the road I'd come in on had been closed for a few days. Eventually, after passing a few signposts that guided our way, we came upon the nomads' traditional black woollen tent, sheltered on a shelf on the side of the valley. We were halted from afar by big barks from a a skinny, officious dog. He eventually calmed down after a minute or two and we were permitted to approach. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with the humble inhabitants of that black tent who live a rudimentary traditional existence with a sprinkling of modern conveniences like some plastic containers for water, a single solar powered lamp donated by Mostafa and of course a sturdy little mobile phone with a built-in FM radio constantly pumping out berber music and prayers from the pocket of the patriarch, Ali. It was fascinating to see their way of life. They subsist mainly off herd of hardy goats requiring work from before dawn until dusk by Ali and his son Mbarak to find enough vegetation in the barren landscape for the grazing. Mother and daughters are responsible for fetching water (a daily 10km round trip), wood (very, very scarce in this arid territory) and preparing meals. There is very little time for anything else. The simplest tasks take hours in these conditions. Communication was down to smiles, body language and Mostafa's broken English with neither I nor the nomads being able to speak French. Education was not a priority for them with much time and effort going towards basic survival. Despite the language and cultural barriers I felt genuinely welcome and honoured to be invited to spend time with them. There was of course some money to be made for both them and Mostafa, but this wasn't something staged or hammed up to get make a quick buck from a tourist. Whether I was there or not made no difference to how they lived their lives and my contribution was considered a gift not solicited by them (just gently encouraged by Mostafa, my fee to him having been discussed separately). In retrospect, as I write this, it seems strange to even bring it up given the total amount for the experience was less than the price of a meal in Sydney but it was a juxtaposition on the intimacy of the moment and felt somewhat dissonant. I felt grateful that I was able to meet this "real" Moroccan family and not simply tick off a few landmarks and buy some curios in the more highly trafficked tourist areas. I was treated as an honoured guest, plied with delicious mint tea and fed a delicious stew with fresh flat-bread that had been cooking slowly all day on the fire. I was given a chance to try and flatten the dough into the requisite round, thin shape which I failed terribly sending everyone into stitches of laughter for trying to do "a woman's job". We sat around the fire as the night got bitterly cold and eventually the "elders" (myself, Mostafa and Ali) were excused to bed down in a small stone outhouse which doubles as a storage unit when the family moves on to other grazing during the year. We lay three abreast, fully clothed, on the rocky ground between thick, heavy blankets and I dozed off to the sound of Ali's FM radio playing eerie traditional music as it hung from the wall. I had a deep and comfortable sleep interrupted briefly by Ali thrashing around to catch and kill a mouse that was rummaging around in the corner of the hut. Ali's wife and the children slept in the tent further up the hill. I hoped that they had a few more blankets than we did. In the morning we were up early to enjoy a breakfast of more fresh bread (cooked in a slightly different style) dipped in honey and olive oil. Mbarak had already left hours earlier with the goats and after breakfast Ali accompanied us for most of the trek back down to the main road to hitch a ride into the town (nipping into the bushes just before the road to swap over to a pair of dress shoes he kept stashed there). As Mostafa said after we'd left, the nomads have a life which is very romantic, but very difficult.