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  #1  
Old 18 Dec 2013
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Return to the Western Sahara

A summary of our trip this year

After my first trip in 2011 I wanted to get back down to the Western Sahara again, but not an area I felt comfortable in as a solo vehicle. So when a friend decided to join us the route planning started. None of my gps maps have a lot of detail in the WS so a lot of trawling google earth was used. Ideally I wanted to get to Dahkla bu in reality this would be too much for my annual leave entitlement so a route less far south was devised.

3 of us took the Portsmouth to Santander ferry on the 4th October, me driving the Landcruiser and friend no2 in a £1500 Isuzu Trooper, getting into Spain we drove hard stopping for the night near Caceres. The following morning was an early start trying to get into Morocco Sunday night. A quick check on the second vehicle revealed no oil which caused some concern and a debate about it turning back or carrying on. We carried on getting to Carlos for ferry tickets for about 4pm. With tickets purchased we hit the ferry and a very smooth entry into Morocco. First night was at Hotel Deamland in Fnideq. Unfortunately the insurances boothes were closed when we arrived so the following day we popped back to get cover before driving down to El Jadida. Isuzu driver was still concerned with oil consumption and had diagnosed a worn turbo oil seal. This then evolved into a wild goose chase in Casablanca trying to find an Isuzu dealers, NEVER, EVER drive through Casa unless your insane. We finall arrived at Hotel Palais Andoulous in El jadida. We had stayed here several years ago and is a real gem. The hotel is an old merchants summer palace and fantastic zellige and stucco work is everywhere you look, plus there is/was a bar. It really needs some tlc but it's cheap and central so did us for the night. From El Jadidad it was a lovely drive along the coast to Essaouira.


P1060418 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Algerciras at night


P1060464 by Trackasylum, on Flickr
Heads, Essaouira

We've been visiting Essaouira for 13 years now and it's like a second home so we have a couple of nights here and catch up with friends. The towns still one of my favourite places in Morocco despite the tourism effects over the years.

From Essaouira we took to coast road to Agadir on our way south. A stop in Agadir for supplies at Marjane turned into a few hours when we found an Isuzu Dealers and tried to get a turbo oil seal. The staff were great but had never seen a Trooper and couldn't get parts. But they did get a Turbo specialist to pick us up and takes us back to his shop.

Aziz Aboudhak runs www.turbo-motors.net in Agadir GPS N30 25.247 W -9 34.117 gsm 06 61231904
Great guy and a fully trained and authorised Garret,KKK, IHI etc dealer well worth bookmarking if you need turbos or repairs in Morocco.

We had planned to stay the night at Fort Boujerif, but the time taking in Agadir with the Isuzu cost us a few hours so it was looking unlikely we'd get there so we decided to head to Sidi Ifni and review the situation there. Once there we decided to press on to Bou Jerif, doing 20km or so on piste in the dark. Our first off road for the trip.


P1060486 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Street Art - Fort Bou Jerif

Many of you will have guessed our next route choice by where we stayed, having been defeated by tide times in 2011 this year I really wanted to drive the Plage Blanche (route MO1 from Morocco Overland) This year the tides were perfect with low time at 12:30. After a quick visit to the old fort we set off for the beach


P1060500 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

The drive was fantastic and I'll definately do it again. The exit at Fort Aoreora was very sandy a defeated my efforts to get through so we headed up the oued a few km to an alternative route before rejoing the route as planned.


P1060542 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr


P1060552 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

That night we stayed a Ksar Tafnidilt overlooking the Draa Valley north of Tan Tan. Nice place but we got swarmed by mosquitos so camping wasn't that enjoyable
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  #2  
Old 18 Dec 2013
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From Tan Tan we took the road down to Mseid and thenn a piste running roughly south eventually meeting Route MW6 Assa to Smara, the first section wasn't fantastic but much more fun than taking the R101 to Smara

This part of Morocco still has a lot of relics from the conflicts with the Polisario


P1060587 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

The Morocco/Western Sahara Border


P1060593 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr

First Wild Camp


P1060614 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Things were nice and dry at the Lakes so spent a long time taking videos on my new Gopro


P1060645 Panorama 1 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Large herd of camels appeared out of the haze and we spent some time chatting to the owner, well more sign language and a mix of 4 languages


P1060662 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Exiting the lake via the old spanish road theres new tarmac from KM270 all the way into Smara, skirting north of Hawza and the military base. We arrived in Smara just after lunch and stocked up on supplies ready for the 2 day run across to the coast
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  #3  
Old 21 Dec 2013
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After wild camping outside Smara we had a 2 day route sw towards the border then west to the Atlantic at Boujdour. After telling my companions how remote it was we passed our first local land rover about 100km on from Smara and regulary saw herders in the distance.


P1060689 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Desert signpost


P1060722 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Standing stone in the Quartz Fields

Said hello to this little fellow


P1060758 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

This one was a cub and not at all bothered by us, Mum did her best to lead us off. Later that afternnon we saw another group in the dunes were we wild camped


P1060766 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Lunch Stop


P1060805 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Wild Camp
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  #4  
Old 16 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWarden View Post
After wild camping outside Smara we had a 2 day route sw towards the border then west to the Atlantic at Boujdour. After telling my companions how remote it was we passed our first local land rover about 100km on from Smara and regulary saw herders in the distance.


P1060689 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Desert signpost


P1060722 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Standing stone in the Quartz Fields

Said hello to this little fellow


P1060758 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

This one was a cub and not at all bothered by us, Mum did her best to lead us off. Later that afternnon we saw another group in the dunes were we wild camped


P1060766 Panorama by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Lunch Stop


P1060805 by Trackasylum, on Flickr

Wild Camp
Hello,

I am , with some friends, working for preparing a new distribution atlas of Moroccan mammals.
Do you remember, at least approximatively, the location of the picture of fenec fox?
Any other observation of Mammals is welcome too!
Thanks
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  #5  
Old 16 Jun 2014
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Hi,

Most of my photos are geolocated and if you go into the Flikr site you'll be able to see them on a map.

As well as the one in the photo we also saw another group a few hours later near the photo of the fire.

I'll post the exact GPS coordinates when I get home.
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  #6  
Old 12 Jul 2014
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realised I've left you guys hanging with the rest of the trip report!

In the mean time here's a video of the full trip
Return to the Western Sahara - YouTube
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  #7  
Old 19 Jul 2014
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A great thread, keep it coming.

nice to see some more or less standard vehicles, not festooned with sand ladders, roofracks, spotlights and more spotlights.

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  #8  
Old 20 Jul 2014
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Thanks, both trucks were standard except my landcruiser has a slight suspension lift on the rear. The trooper coped well but had several oil leaks

For almost all of our trip reliability was more important than looking cool. Only for a few kms coming back north could we have done with a little more ground clearance

Last edited by TheWarden; 21 Jul 2014 at 19:39.
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  #9  
Old 21 Jul 2014
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But, but how do you manage without checker plate and winches and snorkles and roof tents and STUFF

Love it. I like the whole anti prep thing. Buy a couple of cheap trucks with a mate and just do it. As long as your not on your own you'll be fine

Loved the video too btw
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  #10  
Old 21 Jul 2014
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Hey mine wasn't that cheap but yes much cheaper than your average overland truck. Kinda of a Long story but I've bought the same cruiser twice.

2nd time was £3750 knowing the rear axle needed work after my first trip to the WS. £300 at the local engineers and the axle has been repaired and every mount strengthened. Put some new rear shocks, Moroccan 2" Lift, some bushes on it, new diff lock actuator 2nd hand alternator and some tyres and it's done me 3 trips and a 4th this October is almost booked.

Added a CB decent stereo and a sleeping platform so probably owes me less than £5k. OK it has had repairs in Morocco every trip but I think I could sell it now for what I paid for it

The Trooper was even cheaper at about £2k but we wouldn't take one again over a Toyota 4runner or prado.
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  #11  
Old 21 Jul 2014
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Cheap is relative term!
Cheaper than one of those 30k 'must have expedition prepared' jobbies
read some of the 4*4 mags or books and you could believe its impossible to do it like you have, fine effort

Hard to go wrong with a Yota

Last edited by moggy 1968; 21 Jul 2014 at 21:23.
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  #12  
Old 21 Jul 2014
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I have got a full length roofrack now to blend into thee crowd a little more at the civilised camp sites. Picked up a new frontrunner rack £150 on fleabay.

Now it makes me want to fill it up with stuff but the standard stealth approach is nice.
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  #13  
Old 21 Jul 2014
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Evolution not revolution, it's the way ahead
Good buy that, nice price.
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