Tag Archives: Morocco

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.

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 Expedition – Madrid to Orce

From the Gorge near Madrid we headed South towards a place called Orce to meet up with a fellow Syncro owner and Campervan Culture subscriber Dave, we nickname him Dave the Cave, makes perfect sense as he lives in a cave but more on that later.
The journey was smooth and interesting, passing through many beautiful and mountainous regions as we knocked mile upon mile off of the journey.

We finally arrived in Orce in the early evening just after dark. Dave had said it would be difficult to find his house (no surprise there really) but he had previously sent us his address which Alan had put into his Sat Nav. Unsure as to whether the Sat Nav would actually manage to get us to Dave’s actual address we decided it would be worth a go, so we set off into the hills from Orce.

Twenty minutes later we had arrived where the Sat Nav suggested Dave’s house was, but it didn’t look much like a cave. We gave him a quick phone call and found that we weren’t in the right place, we were close but not close enough. Now that Dave knew we we’re nearby he said he’d keep an eye out for us on the road and after about 5 minutes a man leapt from the darkness out into the beams of our headlights wearing a Campervan Culture Difflock T-shirt!

We did some quick hello’s on the road and set off for Dave’s cave. One dusty dirt track later we pulled up outside and were warmly welcomed into Dave and Carole’s gorgeous dwelling. The houses in and around Orce were originally ancient farm workers homes carved into the hillside. But when the water dried up in the valley everyone left in search of better working and living conditions. Since then the cave houses have been gradually bought up by people wanting something a little bit different from the norm for a home or holiday accommodation.

IMG_0166

The idea of someone living in a cave conjures up all manner of images in your minds eye, but none of which would probably be close to the reality of these houses. From the outside they have an almost ‘Hobbit’ house feel to them in that they are a fairly normal looking house frontage, however all the rest of the property disappears into the hillside. Inside they are cosy, warm and very welcoming. Barely a straight line is to be found with the render on the walls gently smoothed into arched ceilings, original features such as a large bread oven carved into wall of what is now the bathroom (originally the kitchen in times gone by).

P1010890

Carole had prepared us a delicious feast of chicken and chorizo paella ready for when we arrived so we all sat down for the meal and swapped stories of the local area for our account of the ferry crossing over to spain. Amongst these stories was talk of a place nearby called Castril and a spectacular walk that follows a deep gorge along the path of the river that formed it.

With full stomachs and after probably a few too many Rioja’s we all left for our respective beds with thoughts of what the next day would bring.

The next morning, once the sun was up it was possible to see everything in the area surrounding us. Once again whatever it was that we might have imagined wouldn’t have come close to the reality of it. There are literally hundreds of cave style dwellings in the area, all blending subtly into the landscape with only the chimneys giving away their locations.

The town of Orce is also a stunning place with it’s large and very impressive church, well kept castle ruins and unspoiled streets with people going about their daily business. We happened to arrive on market day which provided a good mornings worth of meandering and perusing of all the produce on offer, later we headed to Galera to have a look around the most densely populated area of cave houses. There’s barely a piece of hillside without some form of house built into it, every inch of the rock faces seem to have a house frontage.

DSC_0587

P1010920

DSC_0608

Castril is positioned just on the edge of the Parque Natural Serras de Carzorla and was our place to visit. Dave took us to a walk along a gorge that he had been to many times, he asked if we were all good with heights before we set off so we wondered what was in store for us when we arrived.
The heights weren’t too bad, but we could still see why he asked. An elevated boardwalk along the cliff walls of the first half a kilometer or so of the trail, providing a stunning aspect to the steep sided gorge carved from the rock by the river below.

P1010928

P1010934

Further along a small suspension bridge has been built and tunnels have been carved through the rock face to enable the path to continue following the river as it winds it’s way along the valley floor.

P1010908

After a good wander around we made our way back to Orce to get some dinner on, sort out a few maintenance niggles with the vans and hide away from the cold night by Dave’s toasty wood burner.

DSC_0598