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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #1  
Old 10 Mar 2009
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Firewood

So, all the major items for my trips to the Moroccan Sahara are done, now for the minor issues.

Chris suggests in his book that using available wood for campfires shouldn't really be done. Initially I intended to use spare space on the Landy to take firewood with but am wondering if customs in Spain and/or Morocco may not appreciate this. So, what's the deal with taking wood with and how available is firewood in Morocco?

Cheers,
Scott
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  #2  
Old 10 Mar 2009
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I would say in Morocco, wood is not as scarce a resource as it is in the central Sahara where a tree can be a thing to behold and a gas refill is many 100s of kms away.
Morocco has big forests up north.

The bottom line is, in the desert be moderate in burning the diminishing natural sources or bring waste wood.

Ch

I do recall something about 'charcoal smuggling' in Mk years ago. Not sure what that was about.
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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I was buying charcoal for cooking and grilling in towns and villages along the way, you find it anywhere in southern Morocco (well, maybe not as far south as Mhamid or Foum Zguid, but definitely all over Anti-Atlas). It is usually sold at local groceries in plastic bags, something like 6 Dh a kilo. Ask for "charbon" - the French for charcoal. Chances are greater in bigger towns. If you can't find it, ask at any butcher's or poultry shop or at a restaurant, they will point you in the right diriection. Sometimes you see actual firewood sold along the roadside too.
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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I did not bother with firewood when i went, but i did pick up a bag of charcoal from Spain before i crossed over.

After seeing all the women, young and old walking miles alongside pistes to collect wood, with it all bundled up on their backs, I would have felt terrible driving past and picking up all THEIR available wood in my Land Rover.

Me and the girlfriend decided there and then than we would only burn the charcoal we brought and the petrol in the coleman stove. nothing else

G
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  #5  
Old 10 Mar 2009
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If you're on the coast there's plenty of driftwood. Some of it is a little damp, but will usually burn eventually. Just bring a pack of fire lighters to help get things going.
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Old 11 Mar 2009
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Thanks for all the info! I suspect we'll just wing it then. I prefer to avoid using resources "in the wild" but if it's being sold at numerous places then that makes my life easier. It also avoids me getting whined at by people I don't understand at a border post for trying to bring a prohibited substance in the country
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Old 13 Mar 2009
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Carrying Firewood/Driftwood

If you have space between your bullbar and grille,its a good place to slot in and carry driftwood,offcuts from building carpentry,etc,etc.
Most local people in desert environs would not think much of us nicking their brushwood.
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Old 13 Mar 2009
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Supporting local economy!

Often the people who are carrying charcoal are heading off to town to sell it. Charcoal production is a classic 'coping strategy' of impoverished people, so offering to buy charcoal off people is a good way to get firewood and put cash into the pockets of some of the poorest people in the area, so it's always worth considering if you are looking for something to burn. Close to towns people sell firewood rather than charcoal (the added value of making it into charcoal isn't so important if transport distances are less)

Of course it's a good idea to keep it on the roof-rack since it's going to make a mess of anything it touches...

Tony
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Old 4 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
I do recall something about 'charcoal smuggling' in Mk years ago. Not sure what that was about.


Dunno about Maroc but further south in Kenya / Tanz / Uganda they get very jumpy if you take charcoal over borders - the hardwood forests are being illegally logged at a huge rate of knots and charcoal is therefore viewed suspiciously - esp that product bagged in carrier bags, binbags etc. Maybe the same in certain Saharan regions (though not that Ive seen)
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Old 8 May 2009
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on my Libyan trip, first night out with the guide he went off to collect some firewood - a couple of us 'helped' by disapearing in our cars and coming back with the bonnets heaving with branches.
The guide came over dune with a handful of twigs and nearly fainted when he saw us erecting our British bonfire.

Amazing to watch how skillfully they could make a really hot ember bed with just a few twigs which could burn all night, bake bread and brew up the tea.
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Old 8 May 2009
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Angry

Bring your own wood from Europe. It's that simple. Buy it cheap, stick it on the roof, feel good.

In Africa, whether you pick it up yourself, or buy it from a local, whether it is wood or charcoal - it ALL comes from a (very) limited supply. Even outside of the desert regions, it is not exactly sherwood forest out there.

Support the local economy by eating in their restaurants (and paying full price for that carpet!).

Please don't use up their necessities of life for your holiday

Leave the local wood for the locals.

Sam.
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Old 8 May 2009
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Lightbulb

A suggestion

Learn how to dig and use a Dakota Fire Hole (click me) to save using large quantities of wood. You'll be amazed how effective these are and how little resources they need to create a lot of heat.
Then add dry rocks (nice large smooth pebbles are gr8) at the bottom as these will retain the heat of your fire as a bonus and will be a pleasant treat when your cooking fire has mostly gone out.

Dry- why?
Wet/damp rocks contain water and these will explode vigorously as the water boils in them and expands...with nowhere to go except out at high velocity.
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Old 9 May 2009
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In the Tadrart we dug out old campfires for the charcoal and got enough for the evening.
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Old 9 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
In the Tadrart we dug out old campfires for the charcoal and got enough for the evening.
This is a good idea. If you're on 4 wheels and in sandy areas a lot, consider carrying a sieve. You can then make more use of the shovel you're already carrying.
Stephan
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