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Sahara Travel ForumTopics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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I'm asking for a bit of advice and your opinions please..
A group of 6 of us are planning to travel to morocco in the summer (during August) we will all go in 1 vehicle (LWB series landy, powered by a transit 2.5L DI). We aim to come down through Spain and then do a loop through Morocco, from Fez over the mountains and into the desert before heading west to Marrakech. We will then come up the coast through Cassablanca, Rabat and cross back to Spain.
The trouble is is that none of us have the slightest scrap of experience at this sort of thing! Our mecanical skills are basic, but improving and 6 is a big group for 1 vehicle. We aim to have ~ 3weeks in Morocco but are a bit concerned that the route is ambitious (how good / bad are the roads likely to be?).
Is this plan fesible?! are we crazy to consider it?! any help is appreciated!
Finally, how much should we budget for living (eating etc..)? and how much more expensive will the cities be?
Hi, I did a 2 week Morrocco motorcycle trip in 2002 in July. The 2 weeks included driving from UK to Morrocco and back. It was a lot of riding (probably too much for my liking) but it means that your 3 full weeks in Morocco is easily doable. I went down via Fes to Erfoud and around there, then Todra etc. You can always change your plan as you go along, I did. Depends how much time you want to spend in the car. The roads are mostly pretty good to get the long distances out the way, obviously if you intend doing some pistes then expect all kinds of terrain i.e. sand, rocks etc. I suggest reading all the Morocco threads you can find, there are quite a few good ones. Budget also depends on a lot of things, but I found it very cheap. Only camped twice because auberges are very cheap. Only stayed in 1 city (Fes) and I camped there so don't know how different prices were than in the more rural areas. I spent about £600 over 14 days including petrol but it could have been quite a bit cheaper say £400, if i hadn't been suckered into buying those bloody carpets and I also spoiled myseld sometimes with food and drink.
Hope this helps.
P.S. we will also be in Morocco in August for the first leg of our UK to South Africa trip so maybe see you there!!
6 in one landrover is perfectly possible but can be quite intense. We did 18 people in two series 3 landies + one trailer round Iceland for a month. You need to be quite organised. We also went trans africa in 2001 / 2002 with just three of us in a Defender 110 and that seems fairly cramped. You need to be quite strict on how much kit every one can bring, not only because it has to fit in but also because you will have to unpack and repack it each time you want to get at anything.
Secondly get agreement on responsibility for the vehicle prior to leaving. Prior to setting off on our trans africa trip, 4 of us were going to use my Landrover. I was working on the concept that although it was my vehicle, all four of us were getting the benefit so during the trip, if anything went wrong, we would split the cost between the 4 of us to repair the vehicle. Turns out a couple of weeks before we were due to leave that three of us were working to that concept but the 4th person wasn't. She ended up not coming because of it, a somewhat difficult situation but given we had to spend £2500 on repairs during the expedition, I'm glad it was sorted out in advance and we weren't trying to sort it out in the middle of Africa. If you need buy a part to be able to get the vehicle running again in the middle of Morrocco, you don't want to be sat there with 4 saying they are going to pay and 2 saying they can't / won't / didn't realise this was part of the deal.
Other than that your trip plans sound fine. The roads / tracks aren't that hard and the Landie should have no trouble at all with them. If you haven't driven in Sand before then do some reading on techniques but its all pretty straightforward. Given that you need to get there and back, its normal to avoid extreme offroading even if you see the oportunity - you need to get the vehicle back afterwards. We are looking at shooting back down there in Dec / Jan doing a similar sort of route.
[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 06 May 2004).]
I wouldn't go near a Land Rover with 6 people in it, but that's my feeling. 3 weeks is not very long - best you all get on!
Apart from the comfort angle, your main problem is going to be weight. Sounds like a 'first trip' to the desert, you are going to have way too much stuff, and given that it is the summer you would be wise to have a fair amount of water.
If you do the maths:
6x 80kg people
40L=40kg water (a minimum given that you stay to reasonably used pistes)
6x 10kg Clothes/sleeping bags
That's almost 600kg already - you don't yet have(amongst others):
Most vehicle breakdowns are due to over-stressing components (overloading!) - overloading a Land Rover, having little space for spares/tools, and not having a mechanic is asking for an 'interesting' time.
Go for it though, much better to give it a shot than not to - but better to be forewarned.
It'll be fun at times, difficult at times, and it'll be educational from start to finish!
Thanks for your replys, encouraging because they follow the same lines that I was thinking.
I have 2 more specific questions..
1) what are communications like in Morocco? presumably mobile phones will work in the cities, but not really elsewhere. Do most vilages have a call box? would be nice to have some way of contacting the outside world should we break down and can't get the old girl started!
2) How rural are 'rural' areas? We are looking at the map, and there are plenty of villages along most roads, so i guess plenty of people passing? I've been looking at fantastic pictures of trucks and bikes out in the middle of nowhere, but thinking if we breakdown there then it could be weeks!!
1) there is mobile coverage in cities, but very limited coverage outside, however, far more importantly - who are you going to call? do you have your own rescue team set up to come and rescue you? Unless you have some unusual arrangement then your going to have to deal with the problem on the ground. This can be hard but your there, you have no choice but to deal with it so you just get on and get it fixed. On a Landie, Haynes manuals are pretty useful at identifying the problem for non mechanics - at least you have a better understanding of what you are dealing with.
2) Providing that you are sticking to the main tracks, then its not that remote. Providing you have water and food to last a couple of days, someone will come along. They may not be able to fix the vehicle but you are unlikely to starve and if necassary, 1-2 of you may have to go to a local town to get help - you are probably going to have to pay for this help but then thats the same in the UK. On a positive note, often, even if you have problems, they aren't necassarily going to stop you dead and you should be able to limp to a village / town.
[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 07 May 2004).]
I love morroco, but August is, in my opinion, the worst month to go there... it is a very hot country and besides that it will be filled with emmigrants from all over the europe (even the otherwise quiet and lovelly rural areas will be filled with flashy R25 turbos with french plates).
The landy is due a new set of tyres anyway and I'm thinking about what to invest in. Everywhere I look I read about how poor agressive mud tyres are for traveling in Africa. However, I do a bit of offroading in the UK and wouldn't want to forfeit their performance here by buying a set of AT's. How poorly do they perform? and would I be silly to go down there with a set of MT's fitted?
I run a set of BFG MT 265/75/16s on my Defender and I really like them in all conditions. I origonally stuck with standard sized ATs because of the ease of replacing them etc. However I was quite dissapointed with their performance in most conditions. The MTs are great and given then heavy load, being a wider tyre, the Defender sits better. They seem to spread out okay when I reduce pressure on sand and I had no problems in the desert. I went trans africa in them including through the desert and they were gave great all round performance. Obviously if you live in the desert then you would go for a less aggressive pattern but as an all round tyre, I really like the MTs and they are far more effective in other conditions.
[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 07 May 2004).]
- if you can only go in august, go in august and stick to the mountains, the're fantastic as well. don't venture out in the southern desert with only one vehicle; in that period you could die out there. it's abt 30-35 degrees in the shade ....
- about the tyres; we're just back from a 3 week belgium-belgium trip with 4 bikes and a support jeep. we started off with as good as used tyres and they lasted the whole trip greatly. we did some very rocky and sandy pistes in the south...no worries. take a second spare tyre. take a look at what tyres the locals ride on....
- if you stick to the mountains, no need for masses of spare water and food as you will be passing villages.
My comments having returned from practically the same route (Spain, Fes, Errachidia, Erfound, Sahara, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Meknes, Ceuta) on a motorbike yesterday:
1. It is a long route - during our 12 days of riding we were doing approx. 300 miles a day which was tiring, and a shame as at some places I wish I had more time to stop and explore. If you can, take more time or identify where you want to spend more time. Next time I go back I want to spend more time in the south.
2. Mobiles work fine - I have a pay as go with Virgin which according to their website doesn't work in Maroc. It was fine including in Merzouga. However it costs £1.75 a minute to talk so if you are a heavy chatter you could consider buying a SIM card from a Moroccan tele company.
3. Cost of living - some was dirt cheap (the ironically called Hotel Royal was 25 dirham = 2.5 Euros but you get what you pay for - brown sheets, and a stagnant water shower). Petrol is generally European apart from rip-off UK in price (except from Ceuta - fill your boots), but food is pretty cheap. If you are vegetarian, I hope you like bread and cheese, vegetables or cheese omelette.
4. Rural/dangerous in Merzouga - its in the middle of nowhere which to me adds to the attraction. Dangerous? If you disappear into the sands without preparation I am sure it could be, but the "town" itself is fine.
5. For a great place to stay (well I liked it) try: http://site.voila.fr/aubergederkaoua/index.html. However one moroccan said it was for Parisians! I loved it though esp lying by the pool in the heat.
6. Buy something for your stomach.
7. Have a great time.
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