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Morocco is 1.7 times larger than New Zealand has a population of 71 people per square kilometre compared to New Zealand's 15 and the South Island's 6. Of course if you remove the large portion of the country that is desert then the people per square kilometre will increase substantially.
Sunday, May 15
Yesterday we passed a very large mining plant right in the middle of nowhere and checking up on my encyclopaedia it would appear as if it is a plant for mining phosphorus rock on which Morocco has 75% of the world's resource. Like all mining operations is just as well it was in the middle of nowhere because you certainly wouldn't want that in your backyard.
Today we drove from Taliouine to Tafraout first all along the N10 then turning south onto the R105 which wound its way through the picturesque countryside through beautiful little villages and although the road was very narrow the scenery was worth every narrow kilometre!
There was almost a photograph and each corner. Along the time we were at about 1100 m elevation driving round the edge of the hills with a river flowing down in the valley some 700+ meters below. Note was not a straight drop, if we had gone over the edge, we would have probably rolled all the way to the bottom, which is perhaps reassuring!
We have noticed an almost every small village there is a dirt field with goalposts for the boys to practice their skills at soccer, and hopefully make the big league playing for Chelsea or whatever.
Last night we had quite a lot of heavy rain, but obviously not as much as the mountains we drove through today as a lot of the normally dry rivers or creeks looked like they were for an overflowing in the night, washing across the road large amount of dirt, and more serious lots of rocks many than the size of a large orange. As these rock flows were about 6 to 10 m wide and was a slow bumpy ride over the flow.
Today we saw the goats climbing the Argan trees munching away at the leaves and the fruit, the Argen Tree has a fruit whos kernel produces a rich vitamin oil used in a wide range of applications according to the degree in which it is refined, is used in cosmetics for what it thought to be anti ageing properties, medicine and culinary uses, and finally as a fuel for lamps. Quite fascinating sight, and will be a good collection of photographs to show how interesting it is.
Another interesting thing today was the Barbary squirrels, are about the size of chipmunks, with grey and white fur and moved at surprising speed. They are also as curious as a cat, they disappeared down between two rocks and a few moments later to the faces of taking over the rock looking at us.
There appears to be only one campground in Tafraout and that is on the way in on highway R105 with GPS settings of N 29° 45.352 W 8° 57.746 at an elevation of 936 m.
Monday, May 16
We left the campground and started heading towards Tiznit, the first thing we noticed heading out of town, was another campground on the road to Tiznit .I'd almost run out of local currency and as it was only 8:30 AM, would be quite some time before the banks opened, and with a half tank of fuel160 km to travel, that would not present a problem.
The road started off as a narrow winding road, again in and out around the mountains, perhaps 100 m less drop if we went over the side, through the road barriers, what road barriers!
About halfway we ran into reasonably heavy rain which made the going a little bit slower and it's obvious that they are not used of rain here because the road was flowing with water in places and pooling up on the side of the road.
Eventually the road improved in to a reasoning modern two-lane highway, with even a few road barriers, but they did leave gaps, for those with suicide on their mind.
It was quite humid to start and at about 23°C, but after about 30 minutes of rain it dropped down to about 15°C but all of the mountains still had that misty look and feel which made them rather attractive, photographically speaking.
We have moved out of the area where the houses were brown in colour with white around the windows, this is peculiar to the place we stayed at last night.
Eventually we arrived at Tiznit, went into the bank to change its some euros into local currency, again it was done at the local speed, they just would not hack it in the modern world! After filling up with diesel we decided to go down the Atlantic coast towards Mirhleft, we saw quite a lot of modern villas being built, still in the raw concrete stage, but it looks like it will eventually look like Spain, but probably at lower cost! I guess if the public wants this, there's always a developer that will meet this need!
We headed to the coast to Timslitt and there we saw a very modern campground, looking at it from the outside, but we moved on to find something closer to the sea.
We wound on around the coast and according to the Garmin some of the time were travelling in the sea, but we did not let that deter us, we moved away from the coast from little bit and then wound back again near a rocky outcrop where the waves were pounding against the rocks creating a beautiful mist, and then we found a reasonably large parking place overlooking this beautiful views so we decide to stop there for the night and here we are looking at over the sea, completely different to what we do at home! Yes it's a different ocean! Should anyone want to find the spot here are the G P S cordinance N 29° 39.076 W 9° 59.378 at an elevation of 35 m
Tuesday May 17
Today we followed the road down the coast till we got to Sidi Ifni, then we headed inland to Guelmim, on the road we saw acres of cacti, I believe in Mexico they make the drink tequila from cactus juice, I wonder if they have a useful use of the cacti or are they just weeds!
I've also noticed on our travels through Morocco many trucks in river beds being loaded up with river shingle, for obvious use on building sites. I remember the days in New Zealand when we used to be able to do this and of course now you need a resource consent to probably remove a bucketload.
When we got to Guelmim we promptly got lost, the road signs which have been so good it will now disappeared off what was apparently the main road, and we had to do a left turn down a non-descript Road before we saw the next roadside and we wanted on a roundabout.
Occasionally at the correct time of day we see a truck pulled over to the side of the road and the driver going through his 15 minute ritual of washing his hands and feet and then praying towards Mecca.
One of the things we thought we'd see plenty of in Morocco was sunshine, typically as we got close to the Sahara, and what we seen? Well it has been cloudy almost every day, and will have quite a reasonable amount of rain, perhaps we had to really get into the middle of this Sahara to get the bright sunshine and no rain!
Our next destination was Tan-Tan further down the coast weather was apparently beautiful white sandy beaches with the road running right along the coast. We drove on about 30 km ignoring the two camping signs we saw and pulled in on a large flat hard shingle area and had a road running through it going down to the beach and were sitting at one side of it with a GPS reading of N 28° 25.698 W 11° 23.227 at an elevation of 27 m
Wednesday, May 18
Well we decided that that was as far south as we were going, so now it is for long road back, going over a lot of the scenes we have already seen, but at a different angle, however today it was a wet angle, as it rained almost all the way, so perhaps it was just as well we had already experienced the route.
We stayed on the N1 all the way through to Tiznit where we did a left-hand turn, and passing through on the way south we had observed a small obscure French supermarket down a side road, so this time we stopped and found that they did not stop bread, vegetables, or very much in the way of cold meats. Obviously you go to other trades or shops for these items. Then we carried on out to the sea to Timslitt and a campground that we observed as were travelling south, were the only ones here although we did see another motorhome on the road earlier today the GPS cordinance are N 28° 48.253 W 09° 49.623 at an elevation of 34 m
Thursday, May 19
We left the beautiful camping spot overlooking a beautiful view of the ocean and started heading north towards civilisation. We first reached civilisation in the form of a four lane highway with people wandering all over the road and no organisation of any sort.
We even reached the stage where the road we were on appeared on the Garmin and we were actually on the road not several hundred metres to one side. The main road went around a large city of Agadir which evidently was flattened, totally flattened by an earthquake about 50 years ago with a tremendous loss of life, they rebuilt the whole city on different location, and looking at it now it has not put anyone off because there are rows and rows of apartments.
We are seeing a tremendous amount of Peugeot motor cars a lot of 504‘s in both the car and in a pickup, are all doing extremely well still carrying several times the load they were designed to carry.
Almost everywhere we've been going in Morocco with seeing the tremendous large combine harvesters of the John Deere type, is not uncommon to see six or 10 of them sitting in the one location, yet the volumes of the wheat we have seen had been nothing like what will be required to keep all of these machines going. We have also see in about six of the old Tractor-drawn thresher, something I have not seen since I was a child, and that's a little while ago.
The main road followed the sea and we found an open space ride on the edge of the sea, near Amesnaz, there was almost totally deserted and were stopped here for the moment, the GPS cordinance are N 30° 37.251 W 09° 48.740 at an elevation of -4 m, this proves the comment about the accuracy of the GPS to the fact that, whilst they use military satellites, they have been de-tune to the tune of 90 m, which is gratifying that we are actually not below sea level.
Friday, May 20
We left our beautiful spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and headed up the N1 towards Essaouira passing through several small villages on the way with the total chaos in the main street, perhaps the old Muslim saying “ I cannot die unless it is my day to die “ explains the casual wandering all over the main street, I can't think of any other reason.
We saw more goats sampling the Argan tree leaves and fruit, some right at the top of the trees, we saw many roadside stalls selling the Argan oil, we didn't stop because we weren't sure what was or how to use it, and their explanation in French would have been no help whatsoever, where were you Ross when we needed you?
We eventually arrived at Essaouira, made our way to the main parking area by the fishing wharf, there was a very helpful Moroccan guy who guided us into the car park, as a woman was going out, she wiped out one of the navigation lights on the side, no big deal! We finally got to where he wanted us, and then the sales pitch began, you want your van washed, we said yes how much, he said 100 Dm, which works out to about €10 and it was so jolly dirty we thought was time it looked a little bit cleaner.
He wanted his 20Dm tip now, and also a shirt or shoes or both! We told him we give him his when we returned.
We made our way into the old city wandering through it along with a lot of other tourists, all looking at the junk they put out the tourists, were obviously now getting into the tourist route so I guess we can expect this from now on, there's quite a contrast with the near naked western females and the ladies of the city to cover everything including the eyes, which peer out through a mesh. I often wonder what they think!
I guess we could have wandered round the marketplace for another hour or taken up the offer of the guy that wants to guide us around the place, but I felt an hour was sufficient, so we wandered back to the motorhome, the washing was three quarters finished, so we went on to look at the wharf, the boat construction, the sorting of the nets and the long lines, and the cleaning of the fish, which smells the same the world over.
We got back to the motorhome, my friend who was supervising some guy who was washing the motorhome, wanted to know if we want to sleep there the night, but with the smell of the fish market in the background we elected to take our clean motorhome back on the road.
A new destination was Safi and most of the time we were driving along the Atlantic coast kilometre after kilometre of beautiful golden sands and no way to get down to the beach, except one place which had a sign pointing to the left, to international camping! Well to the left we duly went, over a little bit of a causeway, to a large rock which had painted on it, camping, with an arrow to the left which was over what looked like a tidal estuary, and the tracks looked like the last vehicle had major problems so we decided to move on. Just to prove that the sidetrip looking for the camping was not a waste of time we found about 10 flamingos browsing through the tidal flats and as always they made interesting photographs.
Again it was through the small villages and the total chaos, of course was Friday and one village looked like it also had a major market today, and for the next 10 km or so, we passed people walking, cycling, riding donkeys, in horse and carts, and finally we passed a pickup that was delivering a load of sheep, I guess purchased at the market.
It must be the onion season because we passed several camels being loaded up with onions and then move the onions a kilometre or so down the road, I guess though being moved to a collection point because we saw a large truck being loaded but there was sure a lot of handling getting those onions to market.
It was heart wrenching not to be up to camp by the ocean, and we drove on and on with no access. I guess it is only a matter of time before these beaches have apartments there full length and then it will just look like anywhere else in Spain or France.
We eventually arrived at Safi, which turned out to be a Phosphorous City as on the outskirts we pasted a tremendously large processing plant with massive piles of the naturally red raw phosphorous and out in the bay we saw about six ships anchored, two and two usually make four, so I guess they were here to pick up a phosphorous.
On through the city and we came to a large supermarket and we stopped there to get some supplies, moved on and we found a signpost pointing to a municipal camping ground, so here we are, all of the staff only talk French, so I guess at some time, before we leave, will be given the papers to fill in and take the money off us.
the GPS cordinance are N 32° 19.032 W 09° 14.272 at an elevation of 67 m,
Saturday, May 21
I gave the camp manager details last night and wanted to pay him, he said oh no no no pay in the morning.
Of course this morning he was nowhere to be found so I spent the best part of 15 minutes looking for him to give them some money and he spent 15 minutes trying to get me some change!
However we got back on the road heading north, our next stop was the old Portuguese city of El Jadida and again we carried on R301, which remained the Coast Road, and for most of the drive we were about 2 to 300 m from the sea and the beautiful golden sands, and absolutely no access to the beach for at least 100 km, you of course could walk over land, probably like the locals, no beachside cottages, no nothing only houses for the workers, and I guess it was facing the sea, it would be counted as a problem when the weak wind blew it off the Atlantic in the winter.
No it is only the western society they have time and money to build by the ocean for pleasure and not for work.
The countryside changed from desert type of country with the ground basically being rock and a few little tufts of grass growing here and there and then it changed dramatically to lush gardens with all sorts of vegetables being grown, in bulk, and there were large trucks being loaded everywhere.
We again past what I assume was another phosphorus extraction plant and this time there was a lot of conveyor belts leading down to a wharf for obviously transport to its destination.
We drove on into the city, looked around for a parking spot, found nothing, found no camp ground signs, so we decided to head on towards Marrakesh, and just as we almost got out of the city, we stopped checked the Internet and found there was a camp ground about 6 km away, no GPS settings, there was a hotel given as a landmark, so use that on the GPS, this took us straight into town, straight into the old city with cars parked each side, produce trolleys both sides with enough room for them at home to squeeze by, just, and of course add to this, the people wandering across the road, the bicycles weaving in and out, motorcycles weaving in and out, the car is coming towards me, the cars going my Way were no problem, they were behind me!
Eventually got through this crowded little part of town and then we were cruising along the waterfront, past the hotel, knows signpost for any camping, and when eventually were heading out of town, we stopped in check with the police and they told us where it should be, in the opposite direction.
So we headed off to find a place to turn round, and before we knew where we were, were on a tollway heading towards Casablanca, that was not on our list to do today so after about 15 km we found an exit, paid our money, got back on the motorway, got to the exit, paid our money again, and then after a couple of tries we found the correct road, and when we arrived at the campground, there are couple police cars parked in front of the camping sign, just to make it a little bit more difficult, but we did not let them fool us as we turned on to be greeted by the manager.
The first thing I did was give him the GPS cordinance, he looked at the piece of paper not quite knowing what they were, or what to do with them, I spent some time trying to explain it to him and I think he got the message that will only know if we look at his advertising and see some mention.
The GPS cordinance are N 33° 14.403 W 08° 29.306
Sunday, May 22
Today we drove through to Marrakesh, our first problem was giving out of El Jadida with the Garmin GPS maps being very thin on the streets of the city, the Garmin told us to turn right to go to N1, we turned left us with being that way before and eventually we found a signpost leading towards Marrakesh and a few kilometres down that road with the tar seal being just the width of one vehicle and of course the vehicles coming towards us one of the whole road, but the equation was settled when we came to a under pass with water across the road, and a motorcyclist signalling that we should not proceed, so was back the way we came, and found another road a little bit better leading towards Marrakesh, and later I discovered that I gone a little bit further I would have found the N1, but the Garmin wanted to lead us to, because eventually that was the road we ended up on, quite bumpy in parts, but not the worst road we have being on!
I did the GPS cordinance in to the campground that we want to go to, I found the link on a travelling Africa website, a couple had stayed here and had posted the GPS settings. Anyone that tells you the GPS settings do not work in Morocco have got a hidden agenda, as whilst the secondary roads are doubtful the GPS settings are still valid even if it shows an area in the middle of nothing, at least you know where to head. On this occasion the Garmin took us on to a tollway, which was beautiful travelling, it looks like a tollway goes between all the tourist cities, and if one came to Morocco and used the tollway, you'd leave thinking the roads were wonderful, we know a little bit different.
We arrived at this large campsite right on the button, the GPS took us right to the door, and the campsite was almost empty, except we saw a large white “ serious motorhome” that I thought I recognised, it was Roger and Rita's from the Silk Route club, they were meant to be travelling to China with Clive and his group, but they decided to leave because they felt they were misled on certain aspects of the trip and are spending a few weeks here in Morocco getting to know the country better. We had an enjoyable afternoon with them drinking Coca-Cola and medicine (Vodka) they may be joining us tomorrow on a tour around Marrakesh.
Monday, May 23
Nine o'clock this morning the camp minibus collected the four of us and took us into Marrakesh and we did a good tour all around the city looking at all the interesting spots and then they left us near the square for us to wander for a couple of hours and we had a meal and were waiting for us when we are ready to come home. At that point it had reached 40°C so we were pleased to get in an air-conditioned minibus for the trip back to the campground.
Tuesday, May 24
We said goodbye to Roger and Rita, they were travelling south to go on a desert safari with an Englishman we met at the campsite.
We in the meantime headed towards Beni Mellal but not by the main road, oh no! We had to find the most obscure little road that existed, half a kilometre into the road, a truck flashed his lights and waved his hands, as I been doing all the way through Morocco because of our LED driving lights, however this time I believe that was to try to tell us to go no further, of course we went further and of course after we got down the road 20 km we found ourselves at a muddy portion of riverbank, and a full flowing river which we felt was possibly a little bit too much for the Carthago. I'm not necessarily sure that a serious motorhome, (four-wheel-drive truck) would have been able to attempt the crossing! So was back the way we came to a signpost in the middle of a grubby little town pointing to the R304 which was supposed to be an interesting road.
Let me talk a little bit about the little towns and villages have been passing through, first of all there is chaos with the traffic and parking and pedestrians, that goes without saying, there is an incredible amount of dirt and dust and add to this a certain amount of neglect and rubbish, and don't forget the potholes filled with water along with horse and donkey droppings everywhere, stray dogs and cats and you have found a place you could call home and enjoy the shopping experience.
Carrying on the R304 it went through a little bit of a gorge whilst it was climbing up the side of a mountain, eventually to 1200 m, but whilst it was on the bottom we found ourselves perhaps 12 hours late, because I'm sure it was as recent as 12 hours ago the water was flowing over the road, I don't know how deep, but there were certainly not do it and stones over most of the road for quite a distance, and of course the edge of the road was being undermined so we had to watch to make sure your wheel did not disappear over the edge, and of course the interesting part on this road was when a truck appeared on a bend in front of us, each side of the road had disappeared, there was just enough room for the motorhome, fortunately the truck driver realised this and he backed up to a corner where I could edge past, and fortunately after that the road became a little bit more normal.
Eventually as we were getting close to Beni Mellal we came out of the mountains at 1200 m and look down in the valley to where we were going 700 m below and it was a beautiful patchwork effect of all the fields with substantial hedges around them, this is certainly a pretty sight.
It seemed to take quite a long time to go down the 700 m, and on the way we passed a power station with a very large type coming down the mountain, obviously supplying the water, and we noted the water went on down to irrigate the fields we had been admiring.
There was a campsite shown on the map for the city of Beni Mellal, and when we arrived at the in inevitable police checkpoint, I parked the motorhome and walked back, the plain clothes police officer, spoke perfect English, poses no longer a campsite in Beni Mellal, but told us to park at the Acima supermarket, he said you'll be quite safe, and there are no pickpockets there.
The GPS cordinance of the car park are N 32° 19.852 W 6° 22.022
Wednesday, May 25
Today our destination was Meknès, but first we travelled 10 km to the next town to hopefully see some native monkeys that live in the caves that frequent the hillside of the area. It was raining, and I would imagine the monkeys are too smart to wander out in the rain just for some Kiwi tourists, or perhaps, more likely, we were not looking in the right spot.
So we set the GPS for our destination and it took us on through the back roads to eventually we reached the N8, that when it rains here, there are no stormwater drains to carry it off the surplus water, it just takes the line of least resistance, and turns the road into a minor river. Fortunately it was only light rain so the river was just enough to wet the tyres, but I'd hate to be on these roads in a real downpour!
You've probably gathered by now from my writing, but life is pretty dismal in these villages, and get a whole lot worse when it starts to rain, as you can quite well imagine. There is water on the roads, the dirt on the side of the road's turns into mud, the minor river washes away bits and pieces of the road, of course raincoats our luxury that most don't have!
We were passing through Azrou and the map indicated there was a campground there, so we flashed our card that had camping written in English and Arabic (we photographed a road sign earlier and hope both the words said the same thing!) The first police we showed it to said that yesterday was a campground back that way 4000 m, later we realised he was confused with the English words hundreds and thousands. However to begin with we went back 4 kilometres, found nothing, but another please post, and they directed us back the way we had come and when we got to the point in the distance that the second police told us about we realised the first was talking about 400.
We then show the card to a woman, she said yes it's down there you can't miss it! We went down in the direction she indicated and found something that may have possibly been what they were talking about, so again we show the card to the boys that were in charge of the fence they were sitting on, and they said yes this is it, well it wasn't, there was nowhere to drive in no nothing, so onward we drove, to our destination, supposed to be two campground is here, but when we saw a sign post for the Marjane supermarket we decided to go there and check things out from their car park.
We evidently both campgrounds have closed down so it looks like we'll be here and another supermarket car park for the night. The GPS cordinance of the car park are N 33° 51.261 W 5° 34.942
Thursday, May 26
Today we set off in the direction of Tangier, again taking secondary roads were ever we could, at one stage of the travel today we passed by five American built, off road Jeeps, it really looks like Morocco is a “must go place” if you own a four wheel drive and want to do some off roading, particularly in the desert.
Another part of the road we came across two trucks with a small van wedged in between them, almost looks like the real one knocked the van into the other truck, no need to tell you which vehicle will need major repairs.
The game passed through plantation of cork trees, evidently they are a major cork producer.
Another interesting statistic is that education is free and compulsory through primary school to the age of 12 and the mail literacy rate is 66% and female 40%, this compares with Turkey where schooling is free and compulsory at the age of 15 and are literacy rate for men is 96% and 80.4% for woman. They certainly seem to be a lot of children in the Morocco, and it's interesting to note the number of young women carrying a baby in a sling on their back.
One overwhelming fact I'll take away with me is the obvious lack of employment opportunities in this country and is not uncommon in certain parts of the country to see a combine harvester harvesting a field of wheat, and another location to see this being done by hand with a sickle, and then willowing the grain to separate the chaff.
You see trucks transporting loads of grass or hay, and on the same road you'll see a donkey load up with a load of grass, passing several women with a large bundle of grass all moving in the same direction, but obviously to different locations.
Yesterday we passed through what looks like quite a rich area, with what looked like, on the outside beautiful houses, and then one remembers the adobe houses we have seen in most of the countryside. Like everywhere in the world there are the rich and the poor, it just seems in this country the gap is extremely large.
We stopped for the evening in a hotel -- Motel -- campground just north of Asilah, we are close to the ocean but cannot see it, and close to the motorway and we can hear it. The GPS cordinance of the campground are N 35° 31.718 W 5° 59.848
We are very happy with the way in which we have seen Morocco, we travelled 5100 km in this country and really have had no problems at any point.
We have passed through it must be well over 100 police checkpoints, and none of them have been interested in us, as something to stop, we have been waived on at each location. Occasionally when we have stopped to ask for information, we have been surprised at the quality of English spoken by one of the officers on duty and I've been delighted to talk to us, and are most interested in what we think of their country.
I remember the introduction that Ray Smith gave us on the tour, he said that the tour guide would be probably at the back of the group, but occasionally we would note him speeding past, and that was because he was aware of a police roadblock ahead, and he was going ahead to make sure the tour got through un-interrupted. Well with our experience of the police roadblocks that sounds a lot like Bulls##t to me!
See the map of our travel in Morocco at Map
See what happened to us with Desert Detours at Desert Detours
See lots of information about how easy travelling thro Morocco by motorhome
Friday, May 27
This morning we drove the 30 odd kilometres into Tangier, and we passed quite a few tickets selling booths for the ferry we stopped at one of them, very friendly guy, quoted us in euros came to €185, we of course had a return ticket, as when we bought the tour we bought a return ticket, however Desert Detours told us that all of the return tickets that were issued on that day, had to be reissued, and we would pick up our replacement ticket at the first campground, leaving the old ticket of there and that would have meant we had exited through the same port that we entered.
After my experience with Ray Smith, and when he proved he could not keep his word, I really did not trust him, particularly in his introduction to the tour when he spoke of people smuggling marijuana out of the country, he talked about the sniffer dogs, and how he has seen the Morocco customs, totally dismantle a car looking for drugs.
Now it became a matter, was I prepared to take the risk and exit through the port that Ray Smith thought I was going to exit, and could I trust him not to talk to Morocco customs, with a nod and a wink, there is this guy coming from New Zealand, I kicked off the tour because he is buying so much marijuana!
Well no normal person would do this, but I'm afraid I no longer treated Ray Smith as a normal person, so we decided to exit through Tangier and pay a single ticket, and consider this to be cheap, when I consider what may have happened. Am I being overcautious? Well I'll never know but at least we back on Spanish soil with no problems.
However getting to the port was very interesting, we went round in circles a couple of times until we finally saw the sea, drove to that, then followed the seafront around to the wharf. We did notice a few signs on the way pointing towards Le Port, so with the combination of all those we eventually arrived where we were meant to be. Just in case GPS cordinance may help you be made a note of these numbers while were at the port N 35° 47.323 W 5° 48.247, and good luck!
Then it was a matter of going through passport control, they almost did not let Luda in because they looked at last year's Schengen visa, so I had to find this year's one for them, and they were happy.
Then it was a matter of exporting the motorhome, they did not seem to be a spot for this and I found one guy, in uniform, busy talking to another Moroccan, and I interrupted him, he took the papers from me, ask me where the vehicle was, I pointed it out to him, he carried on the conversation with his friend, they moved inside the building, still talking, others came along, he took their papers, was he carried on his conversation, and eventually he stamped them all, and gave me the white copy back.
Again like the entry, there was no major hassle or intellectual discussion required to go through passport control or vehicle export, this was another point that Ray Smith painted a very difficult beak picture.
When we are told to line up in another line, and this was for the vehicle to be x-rayed, they do them three at a time and of course you stand outside the vehicle well away, and the machine is mounted on a large Volvo truck, which is driven by an electric motor backwards and forwards a length of about three vehicles.
All three must have passed because we given a piece of paper then told to drive back the way we have come, then another inspector came and looked at the piece of paper, Tapped the motorhome body with the handle of the screwdriver, like he knew what he was doing, and then passed us, giving us the piece of paper telling us to pass that on to the police at the boat.
We then drove on hundred or so metres to were the people were lining up for the fast ferry and eventually that arrived, vehicles came off, it is our turn to go on, passport out again for the police, they took the little piece of paper, and had all sorts of scribbles on it, he went to the rear driver's side and looked underneath the vehicle, obviously could not find anything so we came back and we were allowed to go on the boat.
Coming off the boat in Morocco we scratched our rear tail, going on the boat the staff looked for this possibility and brought out a couple of small ramps for the back wheels to run over to give is that little extra bit of height, and we drove on without a problem. We drove right forward to the front of the boat and parked.
An uneventful crossing, what can you say, 35 minutes, no restaurant, then it was back down to the motorhome, and we sat in it while we watched everybody else drive off the boat, it was our turn, to back the full length of the boat and back off the boat down the ramp, no problems with the tail in Spain!
We changed the Garmin maps from Morocco over to Europe and programmed the Garmin to go towards Madrid and that got us out of the city.
We then started heading towards Seville and eventually stopped at a service parking area on the toll road, for the night.
Who should travel on a group tours to Morocco?
I am very much aware that there are many English motor-homers who have never travelled outside England and a nervous of driving on the other side of the road. A lot of these people probably consider the first travelling experience in Europe perhaps should be with a group, and I would agree with them if the group started at Dover.
Desert Detours meeting point is at Algeciras Spain, so this novice motorhomer would have to cross over to France on the ferry, find his way all the way through France, then on through Spain, to the bottom of Spain, driving over 2000 km through countries that do not speak English as a first language, find camping grounds or overnight parking spots for at least five or six nights, quite frankly by the time they get to Algeciras they will no longer be a novice.
If they are capable all of getting to Algeciras to join a group tour they are capable of travelling all-round Morocco providing they have done a little bit of homework and giving a good map and a camping guide. This will cost considerably less than being ferried around Morocco like a herd of sheep from one city to the other, with the minimum amount of information being supplied by the tour leaders, and listening to their horror stories of what happens to you if you travel by yourself.
They don't tell you that 150,000 motorhomes visit Morocco each year, a very small fraction of this number are in a tour so thousands travelled this country without any problems, however on with our tour for 2011
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