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-   -   First time - Morocco (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/first-time-morocco-16189)

Adrian63 11 Jul 2005 17:50

First time - Morocco
Myself and a couple of mates will travelling from the UK down through France and Spain and hopping over to Morocco then onto Dakar and back, has anyone got any suggestions on places to visit, places to avoid, also one of main concerns is fuel, is it widely available and clean?

And if you can offer any other good bits of advice or info on the area

Cheers Adrian

Matt Cartney 11 Jul 2005 19:29

As far as Morrocco goes, fuel is widely available and I had no problems with its quality. I went south/east of the Atlas rather than by the coast and loved it. The potential for exploring tracks is enormous. The 'sand sea' at Merzouga is worth a visit if just to play in the dunes. The gorges of Dades and Todra are pretty cool too.

Matt Cartney 12 Jul 2005 02:12

When are you guys going? Me and two mates are planning to be there in January/Feb.

owen2dogs 12 Jul 2005 02:22

Matt, I am planning a trip along the north east coast and then south along the same sort of route as you, I have read that the area around Ketama can be quite serious with regards to all the kif being grown and aggressive drug dealers and so forth, how was your experience in this area?

You also mentioned that fuel was abundant, is this still the case east of the atlas?
I will probably have a range of 120 miles or so between fuel stops, do you think a larger tank might be wise?

also how far south did you go? I'm hoping to travel down the east side ending in Gueguarat then back up the west coast.

Matt Cartney 12 Jul 2005 05:55

The last time I was there was in a car, but it was a citroen with a small tank. I cant remember what the distances were between petrol stations but there were so many i didn't even bother filling my jerry can 'in case'. I got to a bit north of the 'border' with the western sahara but no further south. Although I expect theres a bunch of people on this site who've done the Atlantic route and will be able to help you out on that.
I avoided the Rif for the same reason as you are wary of it, plus Bush and Blair had just invaded Iraq so there was a bit of tension. However, my experiences in Morocco were nearly all positive and would have no problem visiting the area this time. I found the further south you get the nicer and more genuine people get. The area south east of the atlas is stunning. Everything from rocky plateaus and mountains to dunes and oasis. There are numerous desert forts that are stunning. I'm sorry i cant give you names just now but i cant find my guide book!
The roads between towns are generally reasonable quality tarmac, but be careful, there are occasional massive pot holes which could do you a real mischief at 60mph. They also do this weird thing where they dig a trench 6 inches deep in lieu of a speed bump (often in front of bridges etc). They sneak up on you and I hit a couple at 50 or so and thought I'd lose the wheels off my citroen. God knows what they'd do to you on a bike. Also there are stretches of tarmac one carriageway thick. the idea is you ease over into the dirt as something approaches. The morroccans do NOT slow down for these passes!
Morroccan mechanics are ingenious (my frankenstien alternator is still going strong 50,000 miles later!) but very poorly equipped. I had to try 3 before I found one with a voltmeter and one took obvious pleasure borrowing my socket set! So take a good tool kit and dont rely on getting spares out there!
Overall, my plan this time is to be much freer with my plans. There is enormous potential for exploring. I want to explore some of the tracks you see that just suddenly veer off the main road. See where they take us.
I'll get back to you with some specific place names when I find my old guidebook!
Beer: Flag Speciale is quite nice if I remember right.
The round bread for about 5p a pop is awesome!
Also: the french company IGN do a good map.

[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 12 July 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 12 July 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 12 July 2005).]

Adrian63 12 Jul 2005 18:18

Thanks for the info, we will be travelling on bikes, not sure when we are going as yet - still got to sort a few things out yet, and leave and time off work

we intend to spend about a week in Morocco, after riding down through france and spain. as you seem to be an experienced traveller/explorer, how foar do you think we can get within a week


Matt Cartney 12 Jul 2005 19:24

You should be able to get to the border with Mauretania no problem in a week but it wont give you a huge amount of time for exploring dirt roads in Morocco, although you might manage a day or two. Chris Scotts 'Sahara Overland' has some good pistes which can be done in a day or so. Perhaps an idea would be to head straight for Dakar and see how much time you have left on the way back for exploring. If you are planning in crossing to Dakar remember to check the situation regarding crossing back north from Mauritania to Morocco as I think it might not be 'officially' possible which could cause problems! There is a travel advisory whatsit on this site regarding the Atlantic route.

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