Camping in Morocco

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Camping in Morocco

Postby aerovolito » 31 Jan 2013, 22:40

Hi All,

I'm 4 weeks into an 8 week stay in Morocco with my Westy and my dog. I only meant to go as far as Portugal and did no planning for Morocco whatsoever but I have to say, It's a been a fantastic experience so far and if anyone is considering it as a destination this year, I can definitely recommend it.

So far I've been as far south as Tan Tan, as far east as Merzouga (and the Erg Chebbi) and crossed the High Atlas twice! Once in sunshine and scorching temps, then ten days later following the snow plough!

I know that lots on here have done the trip already...and lots has been written, but I have been really surprised by how easy it is and how beautiful (mostly) the country is.

So, if anyone wants to pick my brains while the experience is still fresh, please feel free.
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby keith » 31 Jan 2013, 22:49

Green with envy...
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby Bowton Lad » 02 Feb 2013, 16:06

aerovolito wrote:Hi All,

I'm 4 weeks into an 8 week stay in Morocco with my Westy and my dog. I only meant to go as far as Portugal and did no planning for Morocco whatsoever ......



If you didn't actually plan on going to Morocco, what have you done about vehicle insurance & breakdown cover for that country?
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby jed the spread » 02 Feb 2013, 16:56

Bowton Lad wrote:
aerovolito wrote:Hi All,

I'm 4 weeks into an 8 week stay in Morocco with my Westy and my dog. I only meant to go as far as Portugal and did no planning for Morocco whatsoever ......



If you didn't actually plan on going to Morocco, what have you done about vehicle insurance & breakdown cover for that country?


ADAC covers you for a tow home and you buy compulsory insurance on arrival for £30 and que up for 4 hours or pay £40 and have it done in 5 minutes by "employing" a runner who has an "arrangement" with the border officials. You do have to hand over your pass ports to someone you have never met before and that would be a bit worrying by all accounts, but that is if your going the old Indiana Jones Spain/Morroc route for the authentic experience, I believe the new fangled hover craft direct route is quick and easy.

Get some pictures up aerovolito, we are heading down there later this year :ok

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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby aerovolito » 02 Feb 2013, 20:42

I bought my 'green card' insurance just outside the Ceuta border gates (on the Maroc side). There are a couple of booths, one exchanging euros for dirham and the other selling insurance. I bought a 30 day green card for 90 euros (standard fixed price). I then decided to stay longer and was about to buy another month from a AXA agent in Ourzazate but ended up re-negotiating with my uk insurer for a green card at 30 pounds and 30 days. All really simple. I have had a ding...almost inevitable with the appalling standard of driving. In true Maroc style, we settled for cash at the roadside. Unfortunately at Moroccan rates...but it's just metal and paint I keep reminding myself!

Breakdown insurance? Haven't got any. I figured worst way would be pay to have it towed to Ceuta - which is Spain and therefore covered by my RAC. I don't have medical insurance either so I've looked into ADAC membership (figuring I've pushed my luck for 5 weeks). Their 'Plus' package provides recovery and medical. They even have an office here. Hospital visits for minor ailments (food poisoning, stitches etc) are best settled in cash as it's cheap.

So far my van's had an oil leak, water leak and fuel leak. All were easily fixed at the roadside - but I realise I've probably been lucky as I've crossed the High Atlas twice, done lots of 'Piste' driving and managed to wallop more than my fair share of man sized potholes!

It's all been worth it though as this country has some of the most spectacular scenery within easy driving distance. It also has some of the smoothest tarmac I've driven on - you just never quite know where you will find it! And you don't need 4 wheel drive as 90% of piste is drivable in a regular car (Peugeot 504 being the weapon of choice for the desert warrior!).

Jed, I'll put photos on soon. Where are you planning to head? I went as far south as Tan Tan - it all got a bit desolate after that. I went east as far as Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi. 4-wheel drivers seem to prefer the dunes at M'Hamid.
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby jed the spread » 03 Feb 2013, 16:18

We will probably drive down the east side of the atlas to the big dunes via the gorges, across the Atlas then up the coast. We have a map with lots of the pistes marked on them and I put eight or so places I have found online that look interesting on the map. I have given the map to V-lux who is adding eight or so places he fancies and he will give the map to Syncroand101 and he will put on eight places and we will join up all the places and that will be our route.
Did you do the 300km piste that runs next to the Algerian boarder and cross into it for a short while?

Really looking forward to the pictures, there is a good group of mechanics in Zagora from what I have been sent but you probably left there a while ago anyway. How you doing for punctures?

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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby aerovolito » 03 Feb 2013, 21:07

I haven't done too much piste driving - only to reach wild camping spots that were far enough from the road to feel 'wild'. To be honest, I don't want to risk my van anymore than I need to. It's lowered, stiffened and sits on low profile tyres. Luckily (touch wood) I've not had a puncture. I had a few leaks - mainly caused by vibration and some panel damage caused by a careless Moroccan in a bull-bar equipped Land-Cruiser! That was a fun day!!

The route you're taking sounds like fun. The Erg Chebbi and Dades valley (with its gorges) have been the highlight for me. If I 4-wheel drive I'd have taken in the dunes at M'hamid too. You need 4-wheel drive to reach the big ones. At Merzouga, the big (170 metre) dunes of the Erg Chebbi are reachable on foot.

I heard about some German mechanics that spend months at a time in M'hamid, fixing 4X4's that owners have broken. I wouldn't trust a Maroc mechanic I'm afraid. I won't explain, it'll be obvious enough when you get here :rofl

Couple of pics taken with the phone. Juicy ones are still in the camera - but I will post them at some point.

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First pic is at the bottom of the Todra Gorge. 2 & 3 are the road from Ait Benhaddou with the High Atlas in the background. The Kasbah there is well worth a visit and you'll likely pass it if you cross the High Atlas heading west from Ourzazate. It's been used in a dozen or so movies, including Gladiator & Lawrence of Arabia. Last pic is the food market outside the Medina in Marrakech.
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby v-lux » 04 Feb 2013, 20:44

awesome!
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby discipleofsketch » 04 Feb 2013, 21:06

+1 This is an awesome thread - more photos and stories please!
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby trentjim » 05 Feb 2013, 21:34

Awesome is indeed the word...
thanks for sharing
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby lloydy » 05 Feb 2013, 21:37

fantastic :ok
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Re: Camping in Morocco - More photos added

Postby aerovolito » 07 Feb 2013, 17:40

Hi all,

Here are a couple more pics from the trip.

Just reading back through my previous posts, I realised that I contradicted myself when I talked about the amount of 'piste' driving I've done. Up until this trip, the only 'off-roading' I've done in Mr C had been in and out of the campsites! Now, after five weeks in Maroc and driving small sections of piste every few days, I feel as though I'm ready to tackle the 'Paris - Dakar.' In reality, I've probably covered no more than a few dozen kilometres (out of 6K so far) and so I realise that I've actually done very little. The country though, has iterally thousands of miles of 'piste' and most of it is traversable in a regular two-wheel drive car (though maybe not one that is lowered and sitting on fat low-profile tyres!). Sometimes you will reach a section that needs 4-wheel drive and/or high ground clearance. This has happened a few times and is usually caused by rain washed gulleys or soft sand being blown in. If you have a Syncro, all is well. If not, you have to turn around and head back to the tarmac!

The other thing I've discovered too, is that the state of the roads is constantly changing - usually for the better in my experience. I've been warned off certain roads by other travellers, only to be told by someone that just drove it that it has either (a) just been graded, or (b) just been tarred. I've driven racetrack smooth tarmac roads that still show as sandy piste on my 'latest' Michelin map.

Jed the Spread mentioned about the border crossing in an earlier post. This was my experience. On first arrival at the border (I came via Ceuta), I met with a chaotic scene of hundreds of people and dozens of cars/campers trying to get through. The process is quite simple really, but (for me) it was complicated by the guides - who offer to help if you're willing to pay a little bribe. It's really not necessary and I found it uncomfortable - hanging around the booth waiting for my passport (with a five euro note inside) to be stamped. In the end, I ditched the 'agent/tout/hinderer' and did the rest myself - by just waiting in line. My travelling chum let the tout do the whole lot for him and it took four hours and 20 euro. I did it in 2 1/2 and spent seven euros (two for the tout - which met with a look of disgust!).

This is the start of the road from Ourzazate that runs along the Dades Valley. Nice piece of tarmac and jaw-dropping scenery.

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Kasbah at Ait Benhaddou - seen in many movies including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. I took this from the campsite out of my van! It was a simple site...but that view! Snow on the High Atlas in the background.

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Famous section of hairpins at the Dades Gorge. Never thought I'd be driving up it in my Westy!!

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Nice section of sandy piste through the Sahara. Most are like this. Lots are harder but a few are graded and great to drive on. Morocco is a safe country and offers endless opportunities for wild camping (providing you take the normal precautions). Campsites though, rarely cost more than a few pounds per night and diesel is half the UK price.

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This has been my highlight so far, the dunes of Erg Chebbi at Merzouga. This is one of the highest at 170 metres. Took me quite a while to climb it before sunrise. You can just make out a pair of Camels at the bottom and people climbing the ridge. Give you an idea of the scale.

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Not something you see everyday (at least not in Essex). And yes, they do wander across the road from time to time.

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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby tforturton » 15 Feb 2013, 14:54

Very interesting thread. I admire your courage - I worry about driving to Bristol and back....
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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby aerovolito » 20 Feb 2013, 22:40

And Voila!! Came around a bend to find this big fella by the roadside...as if to prove the point :)

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Not all the scenery is quite so pretty...
A 'roadside' dump outside Ouzoud. One of the locals got upset at my taking photos. I could understand why!

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What can I say...

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Re: Camping in Morocco

Postby fodtommo » 20 Feb 2013, 22:50

Amazing... keep em coming... if only i had no kids, no ex-wife and more money..... you are a lucky soul! :mrgreen: :D :D :D
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