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  #1  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Question Morocco: first timer questions

Hello there,

I've bought the book (excellent reading Chris!!) and have been reading this forum for a while now (also excellent!!)

I've got a few questions for my first time trip in october this year with the LR 90 tdi:

1) Ferries: a) when do they know there schemes for Almeria - Nador?
b) is there really no night time ferry from Almeria, saves a lot of hassle, because I would like to go directly exploring instead of searching for a camping spot in darkness. Or am I exxagerating.....?

2) Going with my co driver, it est no back-up vehicle, is that unsafe?

3) Vandalism: I read here stories about beggars and vandalism (throwing stones to cars and bikes) How likely is that considering the vehicle is a full blown off roader bar the stickers and I am a conservative driver?

4) Is there a list with remote internet cafes, because I guess in major towns there will be one?

5) Route will be: Nador - Fez - Meknez - Ouarzazate - Dades - Todra - Draa - Zagora - Routes CS Tinerhir>Nekob and Tagounite>Taouz - Merzouga - Er Rachidia - Nador ( 14 days)

a) I was wondering to take a route over the Atlas via the Plateau des Lacs: is this do-able or downright dangerous?
b) Can I wildcamp there in the mountains?
c) Will the passes be still open in october?

Thanks already experts!!

Roel Belgium
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  #2  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Hi Roel,

1. Sorry I can't help with your ferries but somebody will come along who can.

2. We too went without a backup vehicle and didn't find this too much of a problem. We managed a big tour including three of Chris's desert pistes and had a great time. On one occasion we did get pretty stuck in deep mud but we found the locals to be very helpful (not to say rather entrepreneurial) and a tractor was summoned to our rescue from a nearby village. Overall I'd say it is probably advantageous to be accompanied by another party but certainly not necessary.

Whilst staying at the Atlas du Sable Hotel in Merzouga for example, we had the opportunity of an accompanied trip into the Erg Chebbi dunes with one of hotel's Land Rovers and a guide. We didn't do it, but on reflection, I wish we had. Driving our own truck with the benefit of a 2nd vehicle and local knowledge in convoy would have been great fun. We decided instead to circumnavigate the dunes unaccompanied. As this was our first experience of driving in sand it was quite an adventure all the same.

3. Vandalism - I don't think there is anything to worry about. Parking usually comes with the option of security and it a normal to tip the parking attendant for this service whether you ask for it or not. Expect to pay about 3Dh by day and 10Dh overnight.

As for begging and hassle, you'll find it everywhere I'm afraid, usually from kids asking for stylos or bonbons. It's up to you whether you choose give in this way; we chose not to, believing that this helps perpetuate the problem. As Chris mentions in his book though, it is a probably a good idea to carry some 'thank you' items for those occasions when you've received hospitality or needed help or advice.

4. Internet cafes are common everywhere and in smaller places very easy to find. Ironically we found it harder to find them in larger cities and one occasion even paid a taxi to escort us to one.

5. Regarding your route and camping, I'll leave that to others with more experience but I doubt whether anybody will say "downright dangerous".

Have a great time.

Paul Driver
Ilkley, UK
Morocco or bust! 2008
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  #3  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roel J View Post
Hello there,

I've bought the book (excellent reading Chris!!) and have been reading this forum for a while now (also excellent!!)

I've got a few questions for my first time trip in october this year with the LR 90 tdi:

1) Ferries: a) when do they know there schemes for Almeria - Nador?
b) is there really no night time ferry from Almeria, saves a lot of hassle, because I would like to go directly exploring instead of searching for a camping spot in darkness. Or am I exxagerating.....?

2) Going with my co driver, it est no back-up vehicle, is that unsafe?

3) Vandalism: I read here stories about beggars and vandalism (throwing stones to cars and bikes) How likely is that considering the vehicle is a full blown off roader bar the stickers and I am a conservative driver?

4) Is there a list with remote internet cafes, because I guess in major towns there will be one?

5) Route will be: Nador - Fez - Meknez - Ouarzazate - Dades - Todra - Draa - Zagora - Routes CS Tinerhir>Nekob and Tagounite>Taouz - Merzouga - Er Rachidia - Nador ( 14 days)

a) I was wondering to take a route over the Atlas via the Plateau des Lacs: is this do-able or downright dangerous?
b) Can I wildcamp there in the mountains?
c) Will the passes be still open in october?

Thanks already experts!!

Roel Belgium
1) timetable are scheduled late, we was there in october 2008, there was to boat Almeria Nador and Almeria Melilla, one or the other doesn't matter is the same. Both left almeria at 11PM, we took a cabin with 2 beds, we arrived at Melilla at 7 ready to ride.
2) We was two bikes without assistance, Morocco is safe, with a LR no risk, you will find every where someone to help fix etc... don't worry be quiet
3) three time there whithout seeing this, perhaps depends on your manner
4) Internet cafe every where even small town, if they have electricity and phone of course.
5)
A) don't know le plateau des lacs
B) yes
C) Was there three time in october, no snow, but a lot of watter last time, finaly we was obliged to avoid high Atlas, seems that the snow was there last days of october, but last october weather was awefull, never seen since more than 40 years.
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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Almeria:Nador Ferries

If you look at Ferri Maroc's web site here Ferrimaroc you'll get the timetables. I should warn you that although they normally depart at 11 when we travelled this route it didn't leave until 1 am. Still arrived at 8 though. However the boat was the noisiest one I've ever travelled on and the facilities and the crew were awful-(no food, no drink except for !). The good thing though is that getting into Maroc via Nador is very easy compared to Tanger and completely hassle free. It took us 45 mins to complete everything and we were let in despite having no insurance-the insurance huts were closed it being a Sunday.
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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Hi
It was not the case for us, we took Acciona ferry company Almeria Melilla, it left almost on time 11h30 I think, it is true there was not many things to eat, but after 11PM It doesn't matter, we went sleeping immediately and really we was luky, see quiet no noise, a really good night for us.
To return we left from Nador, don't remenber exactly but not awefull at all.
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  #6  
Old 18 Mar 2009
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I had a great time on the Almeria to Mellila ferry. It was the time of Ramadan and I was sitting on the sundeck as the sun was about to set. All the families were preparing for the breaking of the fast and when the sun finally dipped below the horizon they went around everyone sharing their feast.

The border between the Spanish enclave of Mellila and the Moroccan port of Nador was something else though, with barbed wire everywhere and masses of humanity trying to get through. Not sure why though.

Tim
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
The border between the Spanish enclave of Mellila and the Moroccan port of Nador was something else though, with barbed wire everywhere and masses of humanity trying to get through. Not sure why though.

Tim
Yes, really a border, means very different on each side. When we passed through, it was raining, mud everywhere, you don't want stay there a long time, very strange atmosphere.
Wellcome in Africa.
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  #8  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Well guys, already many thanks for the answers!

Concerning the ferries: it still amazes me why everybody takes a cabin when you're traveling by day! The ferry leaves Almeria at 10.00 and arrives in the evening in Nador. So tells the website!

So what have I misread then? Are the schedules different to a couple of years back, then can I understand. To me it seems that going to Morocco is done during the night (see post Eric DN), when I read the posts here and somewhere else, but when I check the sites of the ferrycompany, it is done during day.

That's why I am specifically asking. Also, non existent is a decent camping around Nador.

That's why I would like to know how you guys do this: you disembark in the evening and then what? Riding unknown territory by night is not my cup of tea.....

Return ferry is done by night, if the website is to believe. If the inbound ferry is this also, it would be excellent!

Thanks again.

Roel

PS Cirque du Jaffar: where is this exactly plz?
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Old 19 Mar 2009
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Riding unknown territory by night is not my cup of tea...

I know what you mean but actually east Maroc is not as busy as the west and even then it's no drama - no worse than Spain.

Last time I left Beni Enzar at 18.00 and rode as far as here:
Taourirt (100km south of Nador)
Roadside Aire de Repose: N34° 24.56' W02°57.28'
A new complex on the N19/N6 junction about 50km east of Guercif. Adds up to a resto, Comarit booking office, clean ablutions and a friendly guard plus free camping round the back on grass. Handy place to head for off the evening boat but pretty noisy with trucks and trains shunting along the new railway branch line up to Nador.
Free


You will get there before 8, have a nice Orangina and brochettes frites (BYO mayo) and go to sleep with some ear plugs.

I would describe the Cirque as an amphitheatre or head of a valley below the snowy Jebel Ayachi. Out of Midelt you drive over a 2260-m pass (KM26.5) and down into the deep valley on slow, narrow tracks, crossing a stream or two. At the bottom meet the kids then head up out the other side through the trees. At a junction KM48.5 (for us 2.5 hrs drive from Midelt) you can return to Midelt. This is the "Cirque de Jaffar 'circuit'"; an easy 4x4 day out in normal weather. Or carry on 130 KM to Imilchil, a route much discussed in other posts.

Ch
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