Author Topic: Morocco  (Read 1059 times)

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RussH

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Morocco
« on: October 20, 2017, 08:02:01 PM »
Tangier Med :D
Morocco.
Yay, we're here :D

Arrived in Tangier Med around 6pm. Too late really given how soon it goes dark this far south but it was a very painless entry. Far less hassle than Ceuta. Still confusing of course. Just when you think youre nearly done the customs guy sends you back to the Police to get your CIN number validated. The CIN is the Police number in your passport, who knows it's purpose but it's obviously important.

So off I go in search of a Police man. I ask a guy in a hi via jacket, he takes me over to a booth that looks shut. Blinds all firmly closed, no sign of life. He VERY gingerly taps the glass......nothing. I can tell he really doesn't want to try again, or be within a 100m of here.

He has another go, and REALLY reluctantly a 3rd attempt.
Some movement. The door opens the width of a hand and, well a hand appears out of the darkness. I hand over my passport. The door slams shut without a word and my helper in the Hi Vis pretty much runs away.

5 minutes pass, the door opens, the width of a hand, and my passport reappears. No words exchanged, who knows what goes on inside that darkened booth :roll: . Back to the customs guy, who goes back to his PC.

I'm instructed to stay by the van. It would appear that their IT systems are actually quite integrated. 5 minutes later and he's back we're good to go. There is another check point which I've observed other travellers being stopped at a 100m up the road, but he's busy on his mobile so the barrier lifts and we really are on our way.

So onwards to Asilah for the night. Asilah looks good but it's chucking it down with rain and it's been a long day so and early night.

I'd stocked up on red wine before we left Spain. A 5 litre box, should be enough for a day or two.

Shame it's bloody Sherry, doh :roll: explains why it's 15% proof.

So day 3 and it's stopped raining :lol:
Somewhere in the Atlas mountains now, slept in a car park in Meknes last night. 4 euros and you get a 24hr guardian. Apart from the sideways rain we had a good night's sleep.
A little easy off road stuff tomorrow, close to the Cirque de Jaffar, but not that route. Too tough.

I'll try and post some photos when we get some decent Wi-Fi



FAT XJ

Re: Morocco
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 11:44:59 PM »
Tangier Med :D
Morocco.
Yay, we're here :D

Arrived in Tangier Med around 6pm. Too late really given how soon it goes dark this far south but it was a very painless entry. Far less hassle than Ceuta. Still confusing of course. Just when you think youre nearly done the customs guy sends you back to the Police to get your CIN number validated. The CIN is the Police number in your passport, who knows it's purpose but it's obviously important.

So off I go in search of a Police man. I ask a guy in a hi via jacket, he takes me over to a booth that looks shut. Blinds all firmly closed, no sign of life. He VERY gingerly taps the glass......nothing. I can tell he really doesn't want to try again, or be within a 100m of here.

He has another go, and REALLY reluctantly a 3rd attempt.
Some movement. The door opens the width of a hand and, well a hand appears out of the darkness. I hand over my passport. The door slams shut without a word and my helper in the Hi Vis pretty much runs away.

5 minutes pass, the door opens, the width of a hand, and my passport reappears. No words exchanged, who knows what goes on inside that darkened booth :roll: . Back to the customs guy, who goes back to his PC.

I'm instructed to stay by the van. It would appear that their IT systems are actually quite integrated. 5 minutes later and he's back we're good to go. There is another check point which I've observed other travellers being stopped at a 100m up the road, but he's busy on his mobile so the barrier lifts and we really are on our way.

So onwards to Asilah for the night. Asilah looks good but it's chucking it down with rain and it's been a long day so and early night.

I'd stocked up on red wine before we left Spain. A 5 litre box, should be enough for a day or two.

Shame it's bloody Sherry, doh :roll: explains why it's 15% proof.

So day 3 and it's stopped raining
Somewhere in the Atlas mountains now, slept in a car park in Meknes last night. 4 euros and you get a 24hr guardian. Apart from the sideways rain we had a good night's sleep.
A little easy off road stuff tomorrow, close to the Cirque de Jaffar, but not that route. Too tough.

I'll try and post some photos when we get some decent Wi-Fi
We must have just missed you we are just heading back through Spain after following the roses des sables.

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 04:10:12 PM »
The last two days have been epic.
Epic wow moments.
Epic. Oh please let this be over.
Epic fuel consumption. 7.5mpg🤔
Stunning landscapes.
Freaky landscapes.
Huge landscapes.
Super friendly locals, we had numerous invites for tea, which we had to turn down for reasons you'll see below.
The Epic, Oh please let this be over, well that?s the escape for the river ravine. I remember a B movie, more like a C movie I watched years ago about a Russian tank crew who got lost in Afghanistan and drove up a ravine, it didn't end well for them. For some reason I start thinking about that film And the never ending single track mountain roads with no barrier and maybe 500m drop offs. Most definitely the scariest roads we've ever been on! Marie hates these types of road. I tell her it?s aversion therapy and she should be cured by now😁
An overland tour company pulled into the campsite last night and, as you do, I got into conversation with the tour leader. She asked what our plans were and I showed her our route for today. So cutting a long story short she convinced me that we should head for here instead.
Lac de Tislit
Location: geo:32.196896,-5.6372414
She even showed me a route on the map. So off we set for gentle saunter through the Moroccan countryside. It starts off great, the only concern being we'll never arrive due to the numerous photo opportunity stops.
About an hour in the road turns into a typical gravel piste, no problem. We meet a couple of locals coming the other way who stop and via our ridiculously poor French we figure they're telling us that we're on the wrong road.
So we back track and we end up in a village with no apparent road out. We blunder around like a couple of complete tools for a while. Crossing irrigation channels that have bridges across them barely wide enough for the Sprinter. Marie has to get out and direct me across, even then the tyres are hanging off the edge.
So we end up paying a local kid on his bike 20Dh to direct us out, onto more or less the road we?d already been on.
Anyway happy days, back on tarmac. Until the road disappears into the adjacent river. As we're pondering what to do a Polish couple in a Toyota Landcruiser pulls up behind us. They crossed on the same ferry as us from Spain, small world. She runs on ahead, following the tracks in the river bed. Maybe 1km ahead the road is intact so between us we decide to press on. All good.
Unfortunately the road disappears again. It?s now a question of press on or turn around. We press on, at times it?s pretty extreme going, even the Toyota LC80 struggles. It then partially breaks, sounds like a universal joint at his rear axle is on its last legs.
We both decide to turn back, until a local farmer appears and tells us there?s only another 4km of this and then it?s tarmac. Question. Is our French sufficient to comprehend what he?s telling us, maybe it?s 40km he does point to a lump of tarmac washed down by the river as he?s explaining. It does turn out to be about 5km. 
It's maybe 7 to 10km of river bed to go back so we carry on. Marie is having a hissy fit at all this, I'm not enjoying it too much either. Has someone moved the Darian Gap to Morocco?😂
We finally get out of the ravine that seemed to go on for ever. Both of us are now beyond going ?wow look at that.....? We're still 79km from our destination, Doh!!
The scenery and terrain are stunning though, it?s difficult to describe and I doubt the photo's do it justice. They could do a Martian film here. It?s red, purple, green, white, that?s the mountains, not the vegetation. But after maybe 5hrs in that river bed we're not looking. It was bloody hot as well.
So we arrive at the lake. The Auberge/camping is like something out of the Shinning. The lady who welcomes us is lovely though. She?s cooking dinner for us right now, hopefully it?s good. I?ve eaten some dates and a few crisps whilst driving. I?m knackered, maybe that?s enough off road for now!
Marie definitely never wants to see another switch back mountain road with no barriers and a 40 year old overladen truck coming the other way! I think we were at 2,400 metres at times.
We're camped at about 2,000 metres so it?s a little chilly now the sun has gone down.

 Some stats:
Average speed 10.2kmph
Max. Speed 80.2kmph
Height gain 5,387 metres
Height loss 3,956 metres
As I say, it?s been an experience. Marrakech tomorrow. The sat nav says 5hrs, so that?ll be another 10hr day.

Now for the boring petrol head stuff.
I'm seriously impressed with the Sprinter. It struggles with ditches/axle articulation but it did it. At times it?s tricky balancing the throttle, traction control, forward momentum and the turbo boost. It works best when you can hold a constant throttle, maintaining a non damaging speed  and allowing the traction control to do it?s thing. If you lose forward momentum and you're off boost, as you are a lot of the time if you don?t want to rip the thing to bits, it can stall. It?s then tricky to get going again without giving it too much throttle/boost. Coming from a G Wagen I'm  conscious that, to me at least, the front diff and drive shafts look pretty light weight. I guess, given its commercial vehicle roots, the rear axle and half shafts are pretty robust though. Maybe that?s the reason the torque split is 65 rear 35 front? In any case I really don?t want to find the mechanical limits!
For a van though, impressive! It does drink the fuel in this type of environment though. 7.5mpg!! Overall for the 180km it?s 12mpg.

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 05:36:13 PM »
Some photos

Yep, that's literally the end of the road
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 05:41:20 PM by RussH »

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 05:37:18 PM »
Another

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 05:38:31 PM »
And another. See the tyre tracks? One is hanging off the edge. At least a 500m drop off

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 05:39:43 PM »
Another

JayJay

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 10:46:22 AM »
Great photos :)

Good to hear the van held up well, surprised about the low MPG to be fair

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RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 05:47:18 PM »
Overall it's doing 24+mpg over 3500 miles on this trip. That was doing alot of 1st gear crawling. Dropping out of the atlas mountains (alot in 2nd gear downhill) the trip computer thought it was doing 155mpg😂

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 06:38:23 PM »
Nice pics Russ, Seems your planning paid off and the van is doing a sterling job  M4I
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JayJay

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2017, 06:44:04 PM »
Overall it's doing 24+mpg over 3500 miles on this trip. That was doing alot of 1st gear crawling. Dropping out of the atlas mountains (alot in 2nd gear downhill) the trip computer thought it was doing 155mpg
Ah that sounds a little better haha

Sounds heavy going to be fair!

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RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2017, 06:54:02 PM »
Nice pics Russ, Seems your planning paid off and the van is doing a sterling job  M4I
At the end of the day you need to remember it's a van :)
It's never going to be as nimble or as tough as your LC or a G Wagen, but as I say I'm impressed. I've got loads of confidence in it mechanically and it's proven itself to be competent off road. But......canbus electronics, and all those interactive sensors, that's something else ::)

neilh

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 05:30:46 PM »
Sounds like you're at least having an "experience"  TFB

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2017, 07:02:05 PM »
Yay, we made it into the Sahara
More importantly we made it out YEAHHHH

Day 1.
Foum Zagid to the dunes Erg Chigaga. I?ve got a couple of tracks imported and we attempt to follow one. The first 45km or so are OK, apart from the bloody corrugated sections (or jigglyshit as I call it). We then get to the dunes and the track is taking us through the northern section of the dunes. It looks too iffy, too much soft sand so I decide to do a detour. It?s along some of the worst tracks ever, vast expanses of rocks. It?s down to 7 to 10mph max, it seems to go on for ever. In reality it?s 25km. 8 hrs in we get to the dunes
We?re a bit knackered and just park up in the first spot we find. Gin and tonic time.
No kidding, 3 pints of gin and tonic I am drunk

Marie (who knows how) knocks up an amazing vegetable concoction, loads of chilly and smoked paprika, and to finish it off coconut milk. Really good, we're missing spicy food. Weird given that every Souk you walk around there are mountains of colourful spices for sale, but for us, Moroccan food gets a bit bland. It doesn't help that they seem to think tourists only want tagine or brochette. We know for a fact, we've had it, that Moroccan food is so much better than that but it?s sometimes a challenge to find it. It doesn't help that our French is virtually non existent of course.
Anyway after food and G and T's we're feeling very happy and chilled. As soon as it?s dark the light shoe from the stars is simply stunning. The moon hasn't risen and of course zero light pollution means that we can see the milky way in it?s full glory. LVIT

Day 2.
We?re hoping for a nice easy drive out, it?s only 59km. I?m trying to follow the same track but the gpx waypoints are too far apart. This combined with the multiple tracks visible in this part of the desert means that it?s very easy to start following the wrong one. So we're constantly back tracking to pick up the track again. So in frustration I give up on that and start navigating by the sun
What could go wrong? It?s only the Sahara  Fuck

No, not really. We just follow tracks in OsmAnd, it?s remarkably accurate. Nice easy going, smooth and flat  happy days
Until. And this sneaks up in me. We?re into soft sand dunes. I haven't prepared for this in that the tyres are only deflated to around 22psi. That?s for driving over rocks and corrugated sections, not this. But we?re committed, no option but to keep going. So, this really isn?t my style, momentum, 3k revs and hope for the best. A packet of crisps stored I a net above Marie opens and showers her in Paprika flavour, all the stuff on the dash is around our feet, who knows wants going on in the back. I just have to keep going until we find some hard ground.
As soon as we do I can stop and figure out where we are. Go back or continue? After a bit of debate we decide to press on. The Sprinter seems happier with ASR off in this. I couldn't figure out if it was the drag o the sand or the engine management reducing power or the traction control working overtime in the sections we've just been through, a little disconcerting. Marie claims the front was air borne a couple of time, who knows but I?m a little tense right now!

But we make it out. I?m seriously impressed with the Sprinter. I'm glad of the 493Nm, anything less would have been seriously stressed. The temp gauge didn't budge from 89 to 91C.
Time for a chill and a beer by a pool now. We?ve booked a hotel in Zagora

RussH

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Re: Morocco
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 09:35:21 PM »
A few photos