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Out of Morocco – a summary of 3 months

Posted by on April 30, 2012

Ready for our adventure, about to leave Spain for Morocco

Statistics and other damn lies

We spent a superb 84 days in Morocco. As it was our first time there, we wanted to sample a bit of everything, and we think we managed it. We spent the first 2 weeks with friends in a Toyota, and the remainder of the time traveled on our own. Both ways of traveling were good, and probably down to personal preference.

Over the 84 days, we traveled 6,057 kilometers, which sounds like a lot, but it’s the equivalent of driving 26,319 kilometers per year which is not a huge amount for a lot of people. Out of the 84 days, we had 29 days that we didn’t drive the mog at all. These days we either walked or cycled, and the bicycles proved to be a great success. This gave us an average of 110 kilometers each day we drove, with the most kilometers in one day being 231km. The least being 3km which was from the parking spot to the garage for an oil change and back again.

Fuel prices in Morocco were usually around 77 euro cent per litre, with the cheapest being 52 euro cent per litre in the south at Sidi Akhfennir. We believe further south was a little cheaper again.

Our Highs of Morocco

not in any particular order!

1. Erg Chebbi.  We loved here because it was the first taste of the sand, even if Moglander did get stuck, luckily we  had a Toyota to tow us out.  Also it is a great place to wild camp, the isolation is fabulous, the stars at night are just magical.

2. Atlas Mountains. These are beautiful mountain areas, mainly populated by Berbers who have a unique culture, dress and traditions, and what we loved about them is that they are very remote from the country’s urban life.

3. Souk Days. We loved when we arrived in a village when it was Souk Day, or even the day before, as they usually begin on the afternoon preceding the souk day.  People travel from all over the region and it usually starts early in the morning and here it is great to see people buying, selling,meeting each other, having Moroccan tea, general chit chat,bargaining and you can buy literally anything that you want.

4. Bread. No matter where you go in Morocco , even in the remotest village you can get fresh bread, freshly baked that morning and it is to die for.  In fact in some campsites that we stayed on our bread was delivered to us by a guy on a bike and a basket, the odd time they might even have a Choco-Pan (A Moroccan pastry that almost has chocolate in it) now there’s service.

5. Food.  Loved the Berber Omelettes, Kefta Tajine and also Camel Tajine, plus the very large glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.  Fruit and vegetables all very good quality and very inexpensive to buy, and shopping in the markets for these was such good fun and great experience.

6. The People.  What can I say except that they are warm, friendly and very helpful people, they can never do enough for you, and if they themselves cannot help you, they will find someone who will, and they do everything with a smile.


Robin kicking up some dust

Must do in Morocco.

These are things that we think should not be missed out on. That’s not to say they are always fun, but they are part of the experience!

1. Mint Tea.  Also called Whisky Maroccain, usually made for you when you enter into a transaction, or about to enter into one, usually unknown to yourself.

2. Campfire.  Sit around a campfire in the desert with people who have travelled more than you and exchange stories.

the campfire is the place to be at night

3. Coffee/Tea.  Stop for tea in the smallest cafe in the smallest remote village because it is here you will get the greatest reception and the biggest smile. Cappuccino may well mean a sachet of Nescafe in a cup of warm milk, but served with style!

4.  Get Lost. Yes we ran out of road, actually on two occasions, it was nearly dark, but in the cold light of day there is always a way back. When in the mountains or desert, make sure you know where you are on the map, and have a good gps system with co-ordinates, and you’ll be fine. Once you are sure you can go back, then there is not really much of a problem.

5. Shopping.  Shop with and where the locals shop, as it is here that you get the best produce at even cheaper prices. You’ll have a load of fun trying to explain what you want, and just offer a smile, and you will be amazed what folks will do to help you.

6. Djemaa el Fna, Marrakesh.  Nighttime here is not to be missed, especially the food markets, crazy but brilliant. A definite highlight for photographers.


When you get the price of the carpet, don’t blink, suck in a lot of air between your teeth and look at them as if they have 3 heads.

Must Bring to Morocco.

There are loads of websites and guidebook lists of what to bring, but there are a few things that you will have more fun with, than without. These are the items we really appreciated, or missed as the case may be.

1. Camera.  Without a doubt as the scenery is so fantastic, some days every corner you turn there is more and more to see, in fact maybe one camera is not enough, just as well we have 3 so !!!!!!!!!!!! For the camera boffins, we used a 24-70mm lens the most, and after that, the 17-40mm was the next most popular.

2. Goodies.  Bring your own favorite foods that you particularly like as you may not get them in Morocco especially if you intend to travel off the beaten track, like we did.  Beer and Wine might be important for some people, as this is very difficult to get, and if you do manage it can be expensive. There does not seem to be an issue bringing in booze through customs. Be sure to bring porridge and muesli if you like these as they are very difficult to get. Also from a female prospective make sure you have enough of your favorite body lotions, cleansers, etc as you might not be able to buy them in Morocco.

3. Toilet Paper/Hand Cleanser.   A must to have with you at all times (especially being female) as very seldom do the toilets have such luxuries!.

4. Oil Filters and Fuel Filters. Most garages have decent supplies of oil, at least 1 spot in each town will have oil your happy with. They show you each can before opening it so you can see the seal has not been tampered with, pretty much as the restaurants show you the bottles of water. However, for unusual vehicles they may not have fuel or oil filters so bring a few of them.

5. Patience and Sense of Humor. If you don’t know why you need these, then you’ve not been there yet 🙂

6. Guide Books and Maps. Even if you find books and maps in Morocco, they will most likely be in French. Bring as good as you can get. On your gps, pre-load some decent maps – look on Chris Scott’s site for more information, and also use his books for some interesting routes. We used the Michelin map number 742, and it’s a good start. We also used the rough guide to Morocco, and found it useful, and easy to find information in, quite accurate, and the “Morocco Overland” by Chris Scott.

Places Worth a Visit.

Mountain Village

The villages in the Atlas mountains had a pretty tough time during winter.

1. Atlas Mountains. Mainly for the scenery and breathtaking views.

2. Desert. Not just the sand dunes (Which Morocco has very little of!), but the whole desert region. The peace and quiet of these areas is amazing, and because of the lack of light pollution at night, the stars are magical.

3. Tafraoute. We likes this so much, we stayed there twice. The first time for about 3 days, and again for about 4 days. Very clean, good semi-wild camping, good local restaurants, great mountain settings.

4. Chefchaouen.  Its a town of great light and colour, particularly with its whitewash and blue walls.

5. Taghazoute.  Now one of Morocco’s main surfing town, and has a great laid back vibe.

6. Ait Benhaddou. Fabulous mud built Kasbah on a hill. Very nice place to visit in the evening light.

7.  Djemaa el Fna, Marrakesh.  Musicians and storytellers converge each evening at this square, a great place to eat at night also, a must see.

8. Amtoudi.  An agadir, (granary) sits at the top of this hill reached by a zig-zag path.

9. Oualidia.  A small fishing village where you can get your fresh fish lunch BBQ’d for you on the beach.

10. Foum Assaka.  A great beach, but with a failed development of beach apartments, but has a local couple who run a beach cafe and you can wild camp right beside them, no pressure on eating there, but the food great.


I could just keep going with so many little places to visit (which we did) but I have to draw the line somewhere.  Here’s just two more Aglou-Plage and St. Kaouki.


The Lows of Morocco.

Getting lost just meant looking at the map until you were found!

1. Suicidal Drivers. They usually had more faith in the ‘mogs’ ability to avoid them than we had. They usually were driving Mercedes Benz saloons that gave them some form of superhero protection and made them invincible. In their own minds.

2. The Toilets.  Floors usually wet, sometimes no water, no soap and usually no toilet paper.

3.  Wifi.  Lack of fast wifi, but the Maroc Telecom web modems was pretty good if you were near a town, which wasn’t always the case for us, one might consider this a disadvantage of wild camping.

4. Plastic.  Way too many plastic bags and bottles, hence rubbish everywhere. It can look like it grows on trees.

5. Campsites.  Not always hot water in the showers. Sometimes the facilities are no better than wild camping, but with a bit of comfort (safe to leave chairs, shoes etc outside all night). Always very safe and welcoming.

6. Weather.  Due to the short days in Spring, usually dark by six, it was not really possible to drive after this time as it was quite difficult to see people on the side of the road, as so many people walk in Morocco.

Even though I have mentioned ‘lows’ none of the above would put be off coming back to Morocco, I would come back in a flash!


I know it’s almost the same as another shot, but I needed to prove I helped Robin dig it out of the sand

The night time sky is full of stars in the Desert

Gotta love the sunsets when we got them.

Fort Beau-Jerif – an ancient French Foreign Legion fort

Looking out over the desert made you feel very small and very humble

And the map of course! This isn’t everywhere we went, but gives a feel to the parts of the country we explored. If anyone wants some gps files (Garmin) to get hold of our routes, just drop us an email.

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We were both very sad leaving Morocco as we grew to love it very much. We do hope to return some day, but as with the star ship Enterprise “We keep on going forward as we cannot find reverse”.

Anyone who wants more specific info, just email us and we’ll help out if we can.


Sarah and Merv.

2 Responses to Out of Morocco – a summary of 3 months

  1. wastedwords

    Beautifully scribed Sarah. Believe me, your sadness at leaving Morocco will be repeated many times over the next couple of years as you travel on – neither of you will become accustomed to it and nor should you. (Can’t believe Merv knew which end of the shovel to hold by the way)!

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