Saturday 8th February 2014
Sorry folks it has been a long time since the last posting, I said this was going to be a lazy tour and that is the way it has been.
We stayed at the very nice Auberge Camping just before Merzouga for eleven days and apart from when we had three of the five days a year when it rains we walked every day three or four miles usually, one day we ordered a taxi to take us to Rissani the nearest town the cab (Renault 5 van) took us the twenty odd miles there waited the four hours we spent walking round the market and town then took us back all for about €13.
21st January we moved on heading for Ouarzazate accross country passing the spot where we had the major blow-out last year, we intended to stop for the night at Todra Gorge where we had stayed on previous trips but they were digging the roads up so much in Tinerhir making big wide pavements and dual carriageways that we missed the turning and had gone too far by the time we realised. But we found a nice quiet market area in a village and spent a quiet night.
We intended to try the other camp site in Ouarzazate but when we got there we would have been the only camper there and it was quite a way from town so we moved on the the municiple camping we had used before which had plenty of vans but mainly French or German so still nobody to chat to.
We parked close enough to the office to pick up the wifi so as to do some research and contact the makers of our mains charger which had packed up but it turned out that the low voltage we had experienced in Spain and some places in Morocco had permanently damaged it. So we would have to rely on solar power unless we can find a car charger here. Well we rode our bikes all over the town but only found a very old 2nd,3rd or4th hand one which he wanted more than a new one would cost in Europe.
So we decided to struggle on and hope for sunny days, but in our searching we did find a really nice supermarket which wasn’t there last year and only about half a mle from the campsite. They unusually took cards which saved on our cash.
Again after eleven days we decided to move on, we had seen much more of the town this year although we still had not visited the film studios where they made Laurence of Arabia I think and quite a few of the Hollywood Western’s
We had a really nice drive across the mountains but the road got very bad for the last 50km.
We arrive at Tafraoute at about 6:30pm as it was getting dark so pulled onto what’s called the free camping area just for the night till we could see what the site was like. There were very many campers there about fifty that we could see. In the morning we found that the tribe who owned the land now charged 10dh (less than a euro) per night and they now had rubbish bins a fairly basic but usable emptying place and a water bowser comes round three or four times a week so apart from the internet all seemed ok. So we took a walk into the town and saw that the camp site was jam packed so no real chance of getting a place without shade because we needed the sun for our panels. There was a Marroc Telecom shop in town so we topped up our dongle and found it was now half price about 9euros for a month of fairly unlimited internet.
While in the town we found a good electrical shop that had a 3mt extension USB cable so as to extend the dongle to put it up on our CB ariel to get a better signal. Just on the off chance Steve asked if they had a 3G router and he did after a bit of haggling we bought it for about 27euro so now everything sorted. When it was all set up we had our own permanent internet in the van so we could listen to Radio 2 in the morning and download the daily Times and Judy could get all her art videos. So we are absolutely sorted. We are in the most idilic spot in a plateau at 1000mt above sea level surrounded by mountains,we get sun from 08:30 till 5:30pm with a very nice village that we can even buy a 3G router in, and the bread man comes every morning at about 8:30,heaven.
Gradually English Vans started coming in and so we were able to chat and socialise. The thing is, we came the European’s route basically clockwise. The Brits being a sea fairing nation usually hug the coast before venturing inland so we had basically met in the middle.
So we now have to suffer a continuous round of afternoon drinks, and evening cocktails (or Beer o’clock) as they call it! Absolutely great. We have met some really nice people.
Yesterday somebody said “We are off for a walk, coming?” Then found they were climbing the mountain behind us. It was about a 1000ft climb some on goat tracks but most climbing up over gigantic boulders. Judy made it to the top which at 70 amazed the others, she really did very well and enjoyed it immensely.
Sitting reading in the sun in the afternoon after the “walk” up a mountain friends from the Motor Caravan club we had met in Benidorm who were in Morocco for the first time went strolling past.
So a bit more socialising. The town is great very friendly negligible hassle and more or less everything we could want. Everywhere in the town are little enterprises. Many with a camper outside having some work done.
I think we will stay here for a bit longer before we head off to Agadir where we can meet up with our Moroccan friend Ismael. So we will probably not be updating for a while again.