With everyone still nervous about international travel and the fact that the Moroccan Government could close the borders at anytime again, we wanted to do something inside the borders, but still have a fantastic holiday – it has been a long time since we managed to get away together and we really needed to do something.
We had been chatting to some of our friends about doing a desert trip for quite some time but never got around to doing it, so we mentioned the idea to them and they jumped on board!
Marion and Anne were the first Expats we met when we moved here and we hit it off straight away. We have had some very funny and wonderful times with them over the years, and we seem to get ourselves into all sorts of mischief with them. They are both in their 70’s but really up for the craic!
They have just bought a new Dacia Duster Extreme so they wanted to see if it could handle some off-road work. As I have said before, never attempt anything off-road unless you are skilled and prepared, preferably in at least 2 vehicles. If you get stuck, especially in a remote place it will cost you dearly.
So after some careful route planning, I came up with a route that would take us to some of the most interesting places, some reasonable driving but trying to avoid all the major roads and some nice accommodation without breaking the bank. I also wanted to get a little off road driving in so we could test the Duster Extreme.
Our route would take us from one side of Morocco to the other, almost to the Algerian border, then north to Errachida, back towards Ouarzazate, over the mountain pass to Marrakesh, and back to the coast again at Essaouria before heading south to Agadir.
We all had limited time, so I had to set the pace to be quite challenging (more on that later!) but covering nearly 2000km in 5 days on difficult roads was pushing it a bit. I did not want to travel the same road twice, so finding alternate routes meant more driving.
This blog post and those that follow will be slightly different from my normal posts as each place we visited warrants its own post. We saw some amazing places and did so much over the 5 days, trying to pick out highlights and interesting bits would be impossible.
I wanted to set the scene for the few posts that follow and this trip. As I said these guys are hilarious, we love their energy, sense of fun, and love of life, as well as their love of vodka too, so you can guess the fun started from the first moment. We all said after the trip that none of us stopped laughing – our fellow guests at the various hotels must have wondered what the hell was going on.
For example, Anne needs to stop frequently for loo breaks, so driving off the beaten track will mean no service areas, so in preparation for the trip they bought a large bucket and an inflatable rubber ring for the “pit stops”. Well, you can imagine the laughter as this is loaded into the car!
My Sat Nav also has a reputation of trying to take “shortcuts” which ended up getting us into all sorts of problems, including taking us miles into the wilderness, adding hours to our day, only to find the actual main road was almost running parallel to our route. Then in Marrakesh, it took us into the old Medina as a shortcut – cars are banned here and we got jammed in the narrow alleys – having to pay 400dh to have a “guide” take us out.
More of these tales to follow!
Picking the best shots to post has proven so difficult – we took so many amazing pics, again that is why I want to post a blog per place.
Anyway, I hope you get the spirit of this trip already and enjoy reading about our travels.