Category Archives: Trips

Wilderness Adventure Camping In Wales – One from the CVC archives

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.

The CVC Team

A weekend wild camping in Wales with VW Syncro vans from the CampervanCulture.com archives. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 8 – The long journey home

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.

Morocco Overland Episode 8 – The long journey home from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Shaun Bowden Big Weekender

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.

Shaun Bowden Big Weekender from London to Glencoe in Scotland. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 7 – Atlantic

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,

Morocco Overland Episode 7 – Atlantic from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 6 – Rock & Stone

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.

Morocco Overland Episode 6 – Rock & Stone from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 5 – Sahara

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.

Morocco Overland Episode 5 – Sahara from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 4 – Into the wilderness

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.

Morocco Overland Episode 4 – Into the wilderness from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 3 – Journey to Christmas

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.

Morocco E3Morocco Overland Episode 3 – Journey to Christams from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland in a T3/T25/Vanagon Syncro. (Part 2, entry to Africa)

We finally made it to Africa.

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.

Here is a link for www.campingchefchaouen.com

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.

Morocco Overland – Entry to Africa from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland in a T3/T25/Vanagon Syncro. (Part one UK and Spain)

Well here we go.

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.

Hopefully this should get your foot tapping…

Morocco part 1 from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Expedition – Chefchaouen to Fes

We left Chefchaouen heading south for Fes. None of us were sure what Fes would have in store for us as it would be the largest city that we would have encountered on our trip so far. The night previous we had used the campsite internet to have a look at what campsites are available in Fes and there are basically two main choices, the better of which was called ‘Diamante Vert’.
We were able to get a fairly good location for the campsite however you can never be sure how easy it will be to find somewhere once you actually arrive.

The journey down to Fes was a great drive with constantly changing scenery from mountains to wide open plains, many villages along the way with wonderful smells of food cooking by the roadside, of course there were the standard crazy drivers and slow trucks to deal with but once you are used to how the mayhem works it becomes fairly easy to negotiate the chaos. We happened to be traveling on market day which added a few unexpected road users into the mix, the most notable of which was a donkey and cart traffic jam near to a large market about two thirds of the way to Fes.

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Finding our way to the campsite in Fes turned out to be easier than expected, there were signposts for the camping all the way from the main roads to the site on the outskirts of the town. We followed the signs around the town but we passed by the campsite in search of a supermarket called Marjane and just before we reached our turn off much to our surprise Olly and Heidi pulled onto the road just in front of us! They were also heading for the supermarket so we parked up together and said hello. They were actually heading for the other less reputable campsite so were glad they had bumped into us and decided they would follow along to camp with us for the evening. (they were heading into Fes the next day as they had booked a hotel in the medina for a few nights over Christmas).

The campsite itself was nice and spacious with lots of trees offering shade. There were about 20 Dutch T5 owners there on a 10 day tour of Morocco, to see that amount of pristine looking near identical camper vans on any campsite would be quite strange but in the heart of Morocco it was very odd.

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We drove to the far end of the campsite and spotted a T3 that matched the description of a van we had read about on the internet a day or so earlier. A club80-90 member had posted a thread on the forum about how he had bumped into an American guy broken down on the side of the road in a yellow aircooled T3 Westfalia. It had been filled with Diesel by the guys at a garage a few kilometers away and inevitably the engine hadn’t like it very much.
We were pretty sure that it must be the one so when the owner strolled by and said hello we asked how his van was running now after being filled with Diesel, much to his surprise!
He was quite confused until we told him how we knew about his troubles! Turned out he had asked for Gasoline which the pump attendant had translated as Gasoil (Diesel), Sans Plombe was what he actually needed (Petrol).

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Later we were approached by the campsites official tour guide who offered his services for a tour of the Medina the next day. It seemed reasonable and he assured us that it wouldn’t be a retail based tour of all the local pushy carpet sellers. We took him up on the offer as we were all keen to go and see some of the historical sites of the town and be lead around the medina by someone who knows the way and can answer historical questions about the surroundings.

We collected up some fire wood from around the camp and got some embers burning, Olly and Heidi joined us for a few drinks around the fire too, telling us about the Roman ruins they had been to visit and the immense market they had been to the day before. We were feeling excited but also anxious about what our tour of the famous medina the next day would have in store.

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All of us having traveled in some quite hectic countries in Africa and Asia before we are all well accustomed to just how hectic things can be, but having never visited any city in Morocco so far the intensity of the hassle, hustle and bustle was completely unknown. All we could be sure of was that we would be visiting the leather dying tanneries that Fes is famous for, so with camera batteries put on charge and memory cards emptied ready for the day it was time for bed.

Morocco Expedition – Orce to Chefchaouen

We left Dave’s cave house full of ideas about saving money and finding a cave to live in, fantasising about a life full of olives, oranges, almonds and all the other delicious fresh produce available locally to Orce. But the draw of the desert was pulling and although six or seven weeks away seems like a long time, in the back of your mind you know time is precious so we said our goodbyes to Dave and Carole and began our journey to Algeceiras to board a ferry to Tangier Med, our entry into Africa.

Our next main port of call was to see a guy called Carlos who runs a ticket agency called ‘Viajes Normandie’ selling ferry tickets for our selected crossing. We had found Carlos via various online recommendations as being a price you can trust and it seems that the going rate is €200 for the return crossing. Feels quite expensive for a fairly short crossing, but how else are you going to get there?

We found Viajes Normandie agency quite easily, it’s also right next to a few supermarkets meaning its a good place to stock up on the little home comforts that might not be available whilst on another continent.
After a few tense moments of misunderstanding and sense of humour failure Jed had purchased his tickets for the crossing, Harriet was next and with her slightly better language skills she had purchased ours with relative ease.
We took up on the opportunity to stock our cupboards with essentials, some of which being some select items of booze….well.. you cant have a proper Christmas day without a glass of booze in your hand really can you?

Shortly before arrival on our route to Algecieras we had spotted somewhere on the beach that looked like it might make a great place to camp up for the night. We backtracked along our route and pulled into the spot to find a few other vehicles there that looked as though they might also be on their way to or from Morocco.

That evening turned out to be the warmest on the trip so far. We all sat outside to eat and conversation was unsurprisingly gravitating toward what our next day would have in store.

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Not only were we going to be entering Africa, but we had another ferry crossing ahead of us and if there’s one thing with Ferries its that you can never really know what’s going to happen. Different ports, different staff, different languages, different protocol etc etc. It all boils down into a big melting pot of ‘Not knowing what on earth is going on’. This ferry was no different.

After passing through tickets, customs and passport checks we were set free into that no mans land of ferry queuing lanes that every port has. It was a little harder than usual at Algeceiras to find your lane as it was hidden behind loads of parked lorries, but having found the way and boarded the ferry, forwards this time, we grabbed our various documents that we thought we might need and made our way up to the passenger lounge. It quickly became apparent that we needed to fill in some forms while aboard so Harriet and Louise took the filled in forms to the police counter where there was a queue tailing back a fair way already.

Approx 15 minutes later a flustered Harriet arrived back to where we were sitting ushering us off to the police desk. Unknown to Louise and Harriet each individual passenger had to be present with their respective passport. After a few tuts and moans we got what we needed and were one stage closer.

The crossing lasted around one hour, by the end of that hour i think we were all bracing ourselves for what lay in store. This time all the vehicles had to turn around whilst inside the ferry before disembarking…see what i mean about ferries?

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Passport control etc wasn’t too difficult but its worth noting that whilst on the ferry to Morocco and going the police desk onboard they stamp a number into your passport along with a stamp for the country. The stamped number needs to be filled out on your D16 vehicle importation document before you reach the people who want to check it upon arrival in Morocco.
Vehicle insurance is available in a small white hut amongst a load of others offering money exchange. The insurance isn’t cheap by any means but compulsory so we went ahead with it. Three months insurance was approx £200.

With everything ship shape we set off for our first campsite in a place called Chefchaouen roughly a couple of hours from Tangiers. If you looked on a map at the route, you also would probably think the time estimate for it was quite accurate however, once you factor in Moroccan roads and drivers you might as well double it. A mixture of complete lunatics over taking on blind bends, generally driving on both sides of the road and heavy trucks moving at 5-10kph on the steeper roads makes for interesting driving!

It was quite overcast when we arrived and some time after dark we had a couple of hours of rain, not quite what we were expecting but we were quite high up in the mountains after all. The next day the sun was out, temperatures were still quite cold though, below zero at night and not much warmer in the mornings.

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Chefchaouen is situated in the Rif mountains and the name literally translates to ‘look to the mountain’ Chef meaning ‘look’ and Chaouen being the ‘mountain’.
Its a stunning town with a mixture of white washed and deep blue walls. The medina here is not large but is a tightly packed maze of ups, downs, in’s and out’s and just enough hustle and bustle. The population here isn’t big which makes the town very pleasant to meander around.

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We met a couple called Olly and Heidi who were parked next to us in a long wheel base Sprinter with UK plates, the first we had seen in a long time. They had also just arrived in Morocco but had been in Spain and Portugal for a few months previous. They gave us a few bits of info they had found out about the town and we had the usual chats about the UK and how we were all glad to be in a slightly warmer climate. Ollie and Heidi had already been at the site for a day or so and were leaving to head south, so we said our goodbyes and wondered if we would see them again on our travels.

On our walk into the town we met a man called Mustafa who showed us the way down the hill to the medina. He took us past some of the towns famously beautiful spots on our way and took us to meet a friend of his that runs a carpet shop in the town.

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At this point we thought this might be turning into one of the many cunning ploys the Moroccan culture has developed to empty money from travellers pockets, however this turned out to be nothing like it, we were offered our first mint tea (whisky berber as they call it, it does not contain alcohol) and to our surprise the shop owner spoke perfect english.
He was very knowledgeable and a pleasure to talk with and not once did we feel pressured to buy anything in the shop. Jed, Louise and Isaac had gone off wandering so once we left the shop we headed for the main square to find a cafe, sit down, relax and after getting a taste for it, drink some more mint tea.

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In retrospect we would have all liked to have spent a bit more time in Chefchaouen and i think in the future we all will but this time we decided to leave the next morning. Christmas was looming and there was a unspoken pressure to get to somewhere warmer at least for the celebrations.