We have seen a lot of campers but none worth taking a photo of, these two however where a bit different, the G wagon was bought and was very well put together.
The Iveco was half built in 2010 by the owner and it was an interesting chat about the merits and costs of Michelin XZL 900r16(255/100 16) tyres he had just paid 600€ each…ouch and just how slow he had to drive on the piste…i.e. very slow or it will fall over was his remark. After selling Merlin and wondering if we should have built a later version I was happy to here even the later vehicles cannot defy the laws of physics, the Tardis was cruising like a magic carpet at 80kmh on the piste and felt refined as any Range rover should even on wanky suspension.
Millly remarked that wouldn’t it be graet on Reiger suspension… I think a decent set of FOX will be a good investment… not sure if she realised just how much Reigers cost
After a few days in the desert make a huge bacon bap like this as a morning surprise.. Forget lingerie and sexy talk.. This will do nicely , maybe the second marriage proposal on the top of the big dunes was worth it.
We left Ksar Sania not knowing when or if we will visit again with different memories of the place, we have done a lot here from family trips to mad Dutch Dakar training trips, it’s a nice place but other places and countries beckon and with more memories to make.
After a restock at the huge local market in Risanni,
Tat shop with dibdab trying to look friendly.. he was, as are all Morocans very very friendly and now they don’t hassle… well not so much.
we set of to another new to me location I didn’t know existed so close, the film set of the James Bond film….. Can you guess which one?
Bond gets off a train in the middle of nowhere with his bit of stuff and a RR silver Wraith meets him to take him to the baddies headquarters which he then destroys with the biggest explosion in cinema history (so far 2017)
A great place to camp, must remember for another visit.
There is much more too it, you will have to visit to see it :-).
So we arrived at a vastly expanded and improved Merzouga slightly deflated on one corner but still mobile.
The Ksar Sania or chez Francoise was there to greet us and we found a great place to camp with a perfect view of the biggest dune.
Decoration were put up included in mums nice little needlework to make us feel at home.
Christmas day was spent with some Dutch, French ,Czechs and Germans in the main room with a fire and some Berber music…hmmm… must remember to get the CD…I meant erase it from my memory.
Milly insisted on a trip to the top of the big dune for a Christmas day walk, I must admit pushing that throttle lever on the quad I hired was a much better decision and Milly did agree we walked back all the way and that was tough enough. we took it to the top and Milly got out her Christmas present from here to her, and I had to get on one knee and propose again, she bought a new wedding ring, another 30 years….maybe, ( see later blog post)
Milly recreated a picture from our first visit to the top of the dunes with Zoe and Chloe its not the same pissing around without the girls but it was a good effort.
Boxing day was a much quieter affair with me off to the local dibdab garage to fit two Defender front spring which by chance were pretty good match for the weight of the Tardis.
I left Milly to do her homework …
The traditional Boxing day family meal was not the same and the shit internet didn’t help with skype to the Millington family. Shame we were so far from the WiFi 🙂
Having detoured via the gorges we decided to visit some anomaly’s I had found on satellite imagery near the ‘Stairway to heaven’ and the ‘Shell house’ .We camped that night in the middle of nowhere after a hour of driving seeing no-one and on que within minutes of stopping a very neat and tidy boy on brand new bicycles turned up to watch us…Morocco will always be the same , you are never alone anywhere in Morocco 🙂
The next day we explored my waypoint called ‘EXPLORE THIS 1’ it turned out to be a celestial building, built to line up with the Orion star constellation, and was very surreal, a local guard gave us some info
and we moved onto the next ‘EXPLORE THIS 2’ waypoint was a lonely palm tree and a water well complete with leather bucket, very picturesque. ‘EXPLORE THIS 3’ was a stunning view of a vast Wadi stretching from horizon to horizon
I am not going to put photos of them in detail so you will have to come and see for your selves. ask me for the Waypoints
after this we gently continued on the nice piste towards Erfoud in the east, I was sure I knew were the track would exit and as we approached the road and I was proved right, but fate slapped us with a blown airbag!!!
While fitting the spare I inflated it wrong and it popped it clamping ring….damm damm, luckily we were 100 metres from the tarmac, we drove a comfortable 100kms on the bump stops to Ksar Sania, Milly was happy she had arrived , I just needed to fix the damm suspension.
Today is Christmas eve we awoke to the stunning sunny view from our big window of the big dune of Erg Chebbi and the Ksar Sania in the Foreground, all was good and Milly extracted her hidden Christmas goodies to decorate the TARDIS ( not Dogger.. I have been warned again not to call him this)
How do I tell her that not only did I leave my Leatherman, head torch and phone charger at home but also her Xmas prezzy 🙁 when do I tell her now of tomorrow morning…aaaahhhh I am dead.
When you head south from Fez you will go through a town called Ifrane this is a wonderful place in the style of Austria !! The king was in residence in his hideaway and the army and police were everywhere, we looked for some Croissant but a Ski resort without snow has the feel of a seaside resort in winter, nothing was open, so we headed of into the Cedar forests by the scenic route and it is gorgeous drive, eventually finding the big weird Cedar and lots of local tourists feeding the monkeys, and the monkey even managed to feed Milly 🙂
The track through the forest are very pretty, we headed north on a fantastic track, had lunch with a shepherd and his two border collies then set of into what looked like the lost valley of the Dinosaurs, Milly was sure we would get through but hey, we are here to test out truck ….
and so after gathering a load of firewood we found a route around the big hole.. easy 🙂
The track exited into and amazing plateau high on the snowy plains, very cold and windswept,
Morocco has many faces and surprises, we tracked down the tarmac and headed for Midelt , but leaving it late to park up and taking Hobsons choice we had a night so cold in a valley so windy I woke up with a fright hearing no traffic and fearing that we had been snowing in, alas we were lucky it was just frozen everywhere including inside the camper!!!, thank god for the cab heater.
We decided against the direct route to Erg Chebbi and headed for Imilchil and the top of the Todra gorge, the valley up had just suffered some horrendous storms and most of the roads were gone it was slow going we ending up into the Todra gorge without tourists and the whole place to ourselves, lovely….
After Volubilis and a look into Roman empire we wondered down to the modern city of Fez, the walled city is very pretty and we ventured into the souk to see the tanneries, the souk is pretty standard and nothing special but wow how the leather tanneries smell, we were guided down little back ally after little back alley to as non tourist tannery and it was very genuine, the impromptu guide was not taking no ( we clearly had some skills that needed reacquiring),get stuffed as any sort of guidance, obviously he thought we would be lost and was amazed when we went straight back to the main souk even commenting ‘you are a clever man, well done’ . the years of being asked by Milly, “remember that shop we visited 20 years ago, can we go there now!! Has done me good 🙂
The campsite Diamond Vert is very impressive and of a standard that would befit any decent European Site, it even has a decent water park and very tidy rental villas, but it was the real Morocco of old we came to see and experience.
we called into see the ancient city of Volubilis and find out about the Romans in Morocco 2000 years ago, it was very nice and interesting, the best building was the hidden modernists visitor centre, a nice pice of modern work probably 1990’s would make a nice home. oh and the ruins were OK too.
For over 20 years we have drove past the blue town and always read afterwards what a nice place it is, so on this trip we had it on our list of places to see. We stayed at the camping Azilane which had an array of campers ,4×4,Vans and even an expedition truck on site ,it is just into the hills and we walked down the next day into tow, well worth the wait it is lovely, totally different from anything in Morocco with just enough tourism to make it busy but not too much that it has changed the feel of the town, a nice surprise was the little castle in the centre, although the chips and Kebab at the café overlooking the castle were disappointing the souk was very impressive.
Milly managed NOT to resist feeding the cats and became the 32 cat lady for the next half hour .