Morocco without a Fridge and other adventures

Fun, disaster and a trip of a lifetime.

Cast your mind back to the old films with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby & Dorothy Lamour in The Road To…..films of the 1950’s, if you can. Last year we did an expedition something like a camel train.

Caravan Trail

We ventured on an escorted tour with the Caravan & Camping Club to Morocco. The whole trip took almost 3 months, 6700 miles return.

All was not plain sailing however. We had a broken loo cassette in France & loss of power to the fridge, toilet flush and TV in Spain before we even boarded the ferry to go across to the water to Morocco.
It was great fun, the trip had its ups & downs but more of that later.
My wife & I are seasoned travellers with our IH tio motorhome in Europe, but Africa was deemed different and as we were apprehensive as to what to expect we decided to join a tour group..

We travelled down from the Midlands for a few days on the south coast seeing friends before taking the ferry across the channel from Poole to St Malo. The plan was for a leisurely drive down through France over the Pyrenees to Barcelona & on to meet up with our fellow travellers for the start of the tour in Cordova, southern Spain.

Disaster struck on our first morning in Spain when using the loo, the flap broke off. Having examined the problem – not to be recommended, as although we keep the outside of the cassette clean, the inside certainly was not! I’ll leave that to your imagination. Where do you find a new cassette? There are few camping shops in northern Spain, so it was back over the Pyrenees to Toulouse to start the search.
We were told by the first two dealers that a replacement flap or cassette would take at lease a fortnight to be delivered, some people are so helpful! At the next dealer just a couple of kilometres down the road we hit the jackpot, there they were, cassettes in stock on the shelves. It turned not to be quite the jackpot as the model we required was not in stock, but could be ordered and delivered within 48hours. What a difference in people attitudes. There was plenty to see around the area to cover the wait. So two days later it was over the Pyrenees again towards Barcelona in the right frame of mind to continue our adventure.

By travelling the minor road southwest through spectacular countryside and quaint villages we eventually found our way to the start of our tour of Morocco at Cordova

Touring with a group for the first time was an education.16 motorhomes & 2 caravans is a lot to manage, fortunately we had an excellent Dutch couple in command. They matched the British sense of humour to a tee, becoming an integrated part of the group. The dynamics of interactions within groups is a fascinating people watching exercise and it soon became easy to relate to the different  ‘cliques’  formed within the  overall group. We found that going with the flow was, for us, the right approach, although one ‘clique’ unfortunately had their own agenda. But that’s life, how boring if we were all the same.

Disaster strikes again. This time on waking the fridge is off and two of the 12v circuits have failed. The daytime temperatures are already well into the 80’s and it’s not the time to tour Morocco without a fridge. It’s amazing how helpful people become in such situations.

 The men all become amateur electrical experts (I don’t include myself within this group. I’m the one passing the wrong tools, suggesting ways to diagnose the problem, giving moral support & supplying the beer.) All efforts are to no avail, but it did bring the whole group together. What happens next? Two fruitless days chasing car electrical engineers and contacting the motor home manufactures for advice. They suggested many remedies over the phone, but in the end like us all came to the conclusion that nothing further could to done until our return home. Tourists have managed to visit Morocco in the past without a fridge - so could we.

 In Spain we managed to buy a cool box and a large supply of freezer blocks, (well you have to keep the wine & beer cool!) These kept us going until we managed purchased an electric cool box in Morocco and thanks to the permanent loan of a two pin razor plug and the generosity of other campers being willing to freeze the ice blocks, the holiday was saved. Thank goodness for camaraderie.

Many people have told us that they have visited Morocco, and its cities. Our reply is you may have been to Morocco but until you’ve toured around the country you haven’t really seen it. The Atlantic coast and the cities with their maze of market street souks are one thing, but living & touring in the interior is something special.
Half way through the holiday we took part in a strange Dutch ceremony
which involved sawing a log in half marking the mid point of the tour and also signalling the end of modern Morocco and venturing into the interior.

The tour took us over the water from Tarifa to Tanger. then following the Atlantic Coast, bird watching at Moulay-Bousselham, stopping at Rabat and Casablanca and on to Safi.

The blue fishing town of Essauira was one not to be missed and then on to our most southerly point, the town of Tiznit.

From there inland to Marrakech and down to Ouarzazate visiting the Atlas film studios, where Gladiator and other epics have been filmed. Then on to Zagona for a camel ride and 4x4 excursion through the desert close to the Algerian border. From there on to the Todha Gorge via Tamtattouchte, for a meal with a Berber family and a visit to ancient salt mines. Fes, Meknes and Chefchaouen were our next stops on the return trip to Tanger to catch the ferry back into Spain and eventually home.

Driving in Morocco is noisy, use of the horn appears to be mandatory and vehicles come at you from any direction whether you’re in crowded cities or on the open road, an experience which you have to get used to.

Do not drive at night it’s even worse, no street lights and holes in the road marked by large boulders.
Beware of police radar traps- we were supplied with tea when stopped by two very pleasant policemen after paying the fine!
The camping sites are generally good, although in remote areas can be a little lacking the modern amenities which you would expect in Europe.

Would we go again, yes - to an escorted tour. no to Morocco, but only because we have now ‘done’ Morocco.
Morocco was a great experience, you should try it
My final point is that there’s European time, there’s your time and there’s Moroccan time. Take your time and enjoy your trip of a lifetime.

Charles and Jen Deverill
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire