Got a Facebook message from my friend Jan in Germany to say he was on his way over to the UK with his girlfriend Jenny, Martin and Sahara of Tigerexped.de. When he asked if we I wanted to meet up for teat I couldn’t resist throwing a day off and showing them one of our favourite wild camping spots. We did plan on doing some more off road driving but the weather turned bad with really heavy rain so the guys got kitted out in new boots and the girls got new coats to deal with the UK summer weather instead!
Just a quick video this time to see where we ended up.
We get asked all the time about what gear we use while camping. For us camping just isn’t camping without a real fire and to be able to cook outside is a real bonus. One thing that can make things a bit uncomfortable on longer trips is having a fire in a raised fire pit like the BushPig and having all the smoke blow in the side door of the van, especially if the awning is out. Having a fire under the cover of an awning out of the rain while being outside until now has been a bit of a no go for us especially when on a trip when you only have a few items of clothes and you want to make them last. You really don’t realise how much your clothes and hair can smell like woodsmoke until you go into a supermarket or something for supplies and you soon realise how much you pong! On this weekend trip we are using our trusty stove that can be found right here if you are interested in finding out more about it.
We have recently upgrade our awning set up to the ARB with the CampervanCulture.com fitting kit. We ditched the Fiamma simply because on the F35 pro there are to many plastic parts and 85% had failed in one way or another. Sure You can buy replacement parts for them but they are extremely expensive and not viable when you consider the value of your damaged awning and how much it would cost to repair the parts that are broken. We looked hard at the ARB and there just simply wasn’t anything around that worked correctly to connect the ARB to a T25/T3/Vanagon. You can find bastardised Fiamma brackets around that are bent, re drilled etc in an attempt to make them do but we found them to sit to close to the top of the sliding door so the door catches the bag/zip, they sat to low so the add on rooms for the ARB were to saggy on 2wd vans and you had to hunch over to walk underneath them. The sides of a Westfalia roof would still catch the rubber trim and they also rattled from the feedback we read about and that is enough to drive anyone nuts. Fitting roof rack brackets was especially hit and miss so we took all of this info on board and custom made out own fitting bracket sets so we could offer a complete ARB awning set and a range of add on rooms for the vans we drive on our web shop right here. We then approached ARB wholesale and they loved what we had done and allowed us to stock ARB products (ARB are an Australian company) and buy in stock to have here at CVC HQ here in the UK for quick dispatch. Being an ARB stockist is quite a selective process and we are really happy to be part of this right now as it allows us to bridge the gap of Camper van and overland travel gear. We have all had to put up with plastic or nylon made products for years as camper van owners and our goal is to change this with all of the products we stock.
Camping lighting has been another thing we haven’t been able to settle on now for a few years as lots of lighting set ups are either extremely power hungry or require batteries or fuel. This seams crazy when you have such a big battery bank in the vehicle so we are now settled on our CVC magnetic light bar kits here.
The campsite we used this time is Osney Lodge Farm. It’s a great cheap place that is close to home and very near London Gatwick Airport, ideal if flying into to UK. It is big enough to tuck yourself away if you want some quiet time or if you have kit just park up at the top of the meadow near the trees where the kids all hang out and play nicely. http://www.osneylodgefarm.co.uk
This is one of the first videos we ever made a few years ago when CampervanCulture.com was just a couple of mates goofing around in our 4×4 VW Syncro camper vans. We put it onto Youtube but due to some copyright issues (Yeah, Youtube can be annoying like that!) it has only been available to watch in the UK. Because Vimeo is amazing we are able to share this video with the rest of the world and this is why we now choose Vimeo to host all of the videos on our web site rather than Youtube.
Remember the best way to get updates on the videos we make via email for free is to subscribe to the CampervanCulture.com website on the right hand column of our home page.
We hope you guys and girls like it and feel free to comment.
It was time for us to part company with Alan and Harriet as they had no commitments so could hang around Morocco for a little while longer. Jed and Louise had to get Isaac back to school for February, if he wasn’t back by the 1st they would give away his place so pressure was creeping in to head north. The long journey home was still eventful and involved rescuing a young French couple that had been stuck down a long piste (dirt track) for three days with no means of getting out. This once again flagged up another situation where people heading off the main roads with no tow strap or shackles got into trouble. As always at CVC we recommend carrying a basic or fully comprehensive tow kit like the ones on our web shop. Since leaving the Souss Massa national park back in part 7 we had hit a pretty disappointing run of beaches but things soon changed for the better. With Morocco in the rear view mirror and that box firmly ticked a trip to Gibraltar was on the cards, what a hoot.
An amazing drive north across Spain with amazing sunshine followed before we hit France and our old enemy, the flood…..
This is the final instalment of the CampervanCulture.com Morrocco overland series and we have had a total blast making it. We would like to thank everyone involved that made this series what it was. Remember you can watch all parts from 1-8 anytime you like on the CampervanCulture.com trips section.
Eight weeks on from when we did this epic 1800 km weekend rally and I think the hang over has just worn off…
What was this weekend all about? well let our good friend Bobby Willis explain,
“My good friend and business partner Shaun Bowden died last March while we were walking in Scotland, leaving behind a young family. The Glencoe Mountain Rescue team was fundamental in his search and recovery and they risk their lives in awful conditions for 100′s of people each year.
I went back up to Glencoe a few months ago to revisit the area where the accident occurred and as we were driving along a very beautiful Glen, we saw a battered old Land Rover that was Glencoe Mountain Rescue’s vehicle. That’s when I first thought how nice it would be if there was a Bowden Land Rover roaming around the area saving lives. Since then my friends and I have made it our mission to raise money for GMR to have a bespoke 4×4 rescue vehicle.”
We didn’t personally know Shaun but we did know some of his friends so friends and friends of Shaun’s friends all became friends together on the Bowden Big Weekender 8 weeks ago. We had the amazing voice and guitar playing of Tom Dibb join us in Jed’s van then we all met up at The Heritage Motor Centre then on to The Lake District and after a few hours at a place via Muddy Porn at Drumclog it was then onto Glencoe. Over £18,000 was raised and Bobby has donated his own grey Discovery that you see in this video to Glencoe Mountain Rescue to be converted into a rescue vehicle with the money raised. Chris at Quickfist UK has since donated a quick fist pack to Glencoe Mountain Rescue through us as we are one of his main stockists and as soon as the new rescue vehicle is built CVC will be sending up one of our Trasharoos to store wet ropes and other kit.
Here is the Bowden Big Weekender web site for you all to have a look at http://bowdenbigweekender.co.uk/about/ Although this was supposed to be a one off event it was so good that it made us think if it could maybe be an annual event with more activities included over a few more days. I would think a lot of our CampervanCulture.com brethren would be very interested next year especially those from Europe to get the genuine UK experience!
It was great for the CVC team to get out and let our hair down and have a random encounter with a fellow Syncro owner who joined in for a while.
After a good few weeks driving across mountains, deserts and gorges we finally hit the coast. It was the first time since we left Spain that we saw huge numbers of Europeans. lots were in huge motorhomes and camper vans and has a less well traveled look about them. We soon left them behind when we drove along the coast off road across the Sous-Massa National Park and we were alone again. It was Jed’s 40th when we were caught up in a flash flood at the surf town of Taghazout and spent time recovering the crazy Swiss. The recovery kit we stock was put to good use once again and we helped recover stuck vehicles that were directly in the path of the flash flood. With a second wave expected due to the weather forecast it got us thinking how many people do go away without even a simple tow strap or recovery kit like the ones we sell on our web shop. We seriously recommend carrying one now, even just for weekend camping as you simply never know.
All along the coast was a pretty relaxing time with lots of wild camping cooking on the Bushpig, sand driving and good times. Get comfortable and check out part 7. The Atlantic,
After being out in the Sahara for a while we were freaked out slightly when we entered the town of Tata and civilisation. We found our second bar of the trip and enjoyed cold beers as well as pigging out on awesome street food. Tata was one of those places that on first impressions seemed un inspiring, but it actually ended up being a great town that we enjoyed visiting before heading further east to Tafraoute. We drove one of the best pistes of the trip so far through a gorge with a dry river bed and up into the mountains.
Tafraoute is an amazing place where you can wild camp right out amongst the painted rocks and rugged landscape that bring people to this area. When we arrived at the painted rocks we couldn’t make our minds up if the handiwork of the artist that started this rock painting made the landscape more interesting with his work, or if he had spoiled it. It was a fairly brave move to take on such a task but as the evening went on and we cooked dinner we were still talking about it. The discussion went on long into the night and even the next morning whilst having coffee we were still talking about it. Then it dawned on me, we had spent hours analysing the artists work and although personally I have never understood art in the past I then realised the whole point of it was to get the reaction it got from us and the hours we had talked about it.
That day we got art.
If you are interested in any of the equipment we use or our Campervan Culture branded clothing then please feel free to check out our web shop on the CampervanCulture.com web shop.
Back when we came up with the idea to make a set of adventure travel videos of a trip through Morocco and the Sahara our minds would often wander while trip planning about sand dunes and the feeling of true wilderness. In part 5 we sure got lots of it and loved every single moment of this section. We were a long way from the nearest town or even road, we had to get our water from wells and carry enough fuel for 600km as well as food and other supplies.
You will find that part 5 is longer than previous videos we have made. We have done this longer video so you guys can get to follow us along and get to know us and what we are really like. You get to see the equipment we use on trips and how we use it, everything from our cooking equipment to our recovery equipment and of course out trusty Trasharoo. We took the chance to tag an abandoned Land Rover out in the desert with some of the stickers that the companies that have shown us support gave us. So grab a seat, get comfortable and enjoy part 5.
Part 6 to follow very soon…
If you are interested in any of the equipment we use or our Campervan Culture branded clothing then please feel free to check out our web shop.
This time in part 4 we venture further into the wilderness where the roads became more demanding and the terrain starts to take it’s toll on the vehicles. Apart from us changing a prop shaft back in Fez this was the first time we had to sort out actual mechanical issues that stopped us in our tracks.
While driving along a desert highway we got our first sighting of camels and with that we pulled over to get a closer look. We met some Berber people who took us down an ancient underground canal that was used to take water from the mountains into the desert oasis. Part of this trip was to be an educational experience for 8 year old Isaac and this turned out to be a very valuable geography lesson about the true Morocco for him. After surfacing from below the desert we had tea with the Berbers (something we had started to get used to every time we met one of these very hospitable people) and as we were about to say our good bye’s Alan and Jed noticed a small group of 4×4’s heading off the road and into the open desert. When they asked the Berber, “Where are the 4×4’s heading?” his answer was “Voth”. We had read a little about the work of “Voth” before we had left but could not find exactly where they would be online. We soon realised why as we set off into the desert to take a look for ourselves….
As the days went on we went from desert to gorges to mountains with truly amazing driving and wild camping. New years eve was spent around the Roadii Grill where we had one of our big cook ups after buying a kilo of some kind of animal hung up in a hut at the side of the road. After that we went much higher and more remote and that will take us into part 5 and the Black Rock Desert, but for now kick back and come drive with us…
If you are interested in any of the equipment we use or our Campervan Culture branded clothing then please feel free to check out our web shop.
Having spent time heading down through Europe and crossing into Africa in parts one and two, it was time to get off the roads and into the wilderness. Christmas was fast approaching and after driving off road for over 120 miles we found “the spot” for the big day. In part three we experience varied landscapes that were amazing to drive through and camp in. We go from Fes to the mountains and into massive cedar forests and snow capped mountain roads, then down into the start of some of the desert areas and into the palmeries at the source of the River Ziz.
And yep, we bagged the obligatory Moroccan carpet with a little help from our friends at Smiley Bobs.
So here is part three for you guys and please feel free to leave a comment.
First stop was the amazing town of Chefchaouen. We were blown away with just how amazing this place was and how cool the people the people were that we met there. It was our first stay at a campsite so far and we stayed at the only campsite just up the hill from Chefchaouen town. It’s a pretty basic campsite by European standards with cracked sinks and dodgy looking plumbing but they do have hot showers and that makes it a good campsite by Moroccan standards. There is free camping to be had across the road at the football field next to the hotel, it looked like a popular spot for fellow overlanders.
Having acclimatised in Chefchaouen we ventured south and onto Fez. The drive was a learning experience and we soon realised that the donkey was still a main means of travel for lots of Moroccans and road miles took double the time by European standards. You have to adapt your driving style a fair bit because if you drive correctly you would probably cause an accident.
We opted to stay at www.diamantvert.ma while in Fez, it was a really nice campsite that has just had a whole load of money spent on it and has good wifi. We opted to take a guide from Diamante Vert and we had a great day wandering around the city. This is the first time any of us had ever employed someone to show us around a place and it has to be said it was really worth while. We got taken through tiny doorways and into court yards that we would have definitely missed had we ventured out solo.
With Chefchaouen and Fez done and dusted it was time to head out into the wilds and off road but you will have to wait for part three so stay tuned and keep following.
This is the first video in a series of videos we will be making of our recent trip from the UK to The Sahara Desert. We set off Friday 13th of December 2013 (Yeah I know but we are not superstitious! (yet)) after a busy year at CampervanCulture.com looking for adventure. We were invited by CampervanCulture.com subscriber Dave (AKA Orcecaveman or Dave L Orcecaveman) to call in on him in the south of Spain on the way down to North Africa. Dave told us he lived in a cave house in a place called Orce and he owned a VW Syncro like us and was keen to meet us. Orce was a couple of hours off route and after Alan and Jed spoke for a while about who would actually choose to live in a cave it has to be said we did have our reservations. I can’t remember who said it but one of us said, “When will we actually get an offer like this again?” so we agreed to go, after all we were looking for adventure right!
So we set off to Poole and got the LD Lines ferry to Santander on what turned out to be a vomit comet. It was 28 hours of the roughest seas any of the crew had ever sailed in with plates being smashed and what ever wasn’t screwed or stuck down developing a mind of its own and moving around the ship like it was possessed. To be fair to the LD lines staff and the actual ship they were both very nice with really clean cabins and at £267 each way it is a total bargain, its just the ship is too small for the rough as hell Bay Of Biscay in January. Saying that a few weeks later we met an English couple who were on the Brittany Ferries super dooper cruise liner style ferry with stabilizers that left 4 days after us and they got dropped off in Brest, France and left to make their own way down to Spain as the big ferry thought it was too dangerous after hitting “The Horn Of France”. Anyway… with that little mission out of the way we hit sunny Spain and after an amazing over night wild camp near Madrid we found the crazy guy who lives in a cave.
We would like to dedicate this first video to Dave and Carole, two of the most genuinely nice people you could ever meet. It’s refreshing to meet people this cool and after spending some time with them you know they deserve the amazing life style they chose because they are just so bloody nice… We left Orce with three new good friends, Dave Carol & Chuck (the dog). We are now the sort of people who would want to live in a cave house, they are amazing.