A Travellerspoint blog

Ess Oh Where Ah?

Essouiara... Windsports capital of Morocco

sunny 30 °C
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About half way down the West coast of Morocco and nearly at the end of the sealed road is a town called Essouiara. One of the windiest places in North Africa and the home of a long wide flat beach. The place is packed year round by pilgrims from all over the world who come to pay homage to the Wind elemental.

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Watersports aside though this town is full of appeal. We spent a few days camped here before pushing inland and back to Marrakech.

The last night camp was at a roadside hotel that was probably 50 years past it's hey day. But we camped in the herb garden and ate on the roof. An incredible backdrop of the Atlas mountains made even more spectacular by the lunar eclipse that happened right before our eyes just after sunset. It was incredible.

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Arriving back in Marrakech we all felt that we had really seen a good part of the country, it is a big country and while it is possible to travel completely by public transport or tours, hiring a car was by far the best way to go.

We had a few days in Marrakech with our Dutch friends before bidding them a fond farewell. Not sure when we would all be in the same country again but surer again that we would be.

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Posted by adamandmeg 18:18 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

Sitting on the beach drinkin' rocket fuel

Oh Yeah..... Safi.

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We found ourselves at a little known town called Safi, famous for two things, the phosphate mine and the pottery. With a cool Medina and the most authentic souk we found in Morocco, this town did have a surprise appeal. We even caught some of the Olympics on a local TV.

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The town itself was great but we were on a surf trip so we headed off in search of a beach. We found an incredible beach about 10 km North of town, that was actually used in a well known Pro Surfing tour and decided to camp. This beach is well known by the locals as a free camping site, as such there was very little impact of tourism.

It was Mariannes birthday so we befriended some local guys and had a party.

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Our generous host at the beach invited us home to meet the family and eat lunch. It was awesome.
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Now we have noticed something about the impact of tourism that deserves comment. Most new age hippy wanna be backpackers are in search of an authentic off the beaten track adventure, this means they are predisposed to poo poo the idea of tourism. I can understand that, if you've been to the Gold Coast in Australia you can see what tourism can do to a place, but... there are some positive effects too. Specifically I am referring to environmental advocacy. I don't want to spoil the images of this awesome place, but the lack of planning for effective waste disposal leaves a bad taste (and smell).

Among other things thrown into the water at high tide are some heavy metals.

This once secret place is still used by big name surfing tours and hopefully, in the future the increase of tourists will improve the environmental policies in the area.

Ok. I am off my soap box now, it is folded up under the bed for another day....

Now back to the story...

After Safi we headed further South to the capital of wind sports in North Western Africa.

Posted by adamandmeg 16:31 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

Play it again Sam

West to Casablanca

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Just out of Fes there is an old Roman ruin called Volubulis. This is one of the largest Roman cities remaining and is undergoing a remarkable transformation. The renovation of the site is being done in such a way so as not to hid ethe new works but rather to create a clear distinction between the new and the old. It look fantastic. Although it is a way off track, this is a must see if you are in the area.
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Then we were on our way to Casablanca

When Humphrey Bogart was here in the classic film Casablanca, everything was black and white and filled with Middle Eastern African scenes of life. Nothing has changed, except of course for a really, really big Mosque. Casablanca is

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We didn't stay long at Casablanca though, having smelt the sea air and felt the sea breeze we headed South along the coast in search of the perfect wave and some summer tans.

We expected a coastal drive following the path of wayward surfers and windsurfers cutting their way down an under developed surfcoast towards Western Africa. Well it was windy and there was some surf. but it was also well and truly discovered. It got better the further South we went though.

Posted by adamandmeg 16:05 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

That's what the desert's for

That's what the desert's for And there'll be no water No rain, no hail, no tears 'Cos it never rains in the desert Like it has where I live here

sunny 35 °C
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We left Merzouga heading North through Midelt and the flat lands of central Morocco for two days until we got to Fez, the ancient capital city.

The drive was amazing and reminded Meaghan and I of home quite a lot.
We stayed a night in Midelt, at a tourist centre with a pool and beer - very very expensive beer. But it was worth it.

Then on to Fez, a city built around a huge maze of souks.
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Fez was amazing and lived up to our expectations. The city is old and navigation through the souks is a real challenge but well worth the hours spent trying to find your way back to your hotel. There are many tours available to help you navigate through the important sights - most of which are inside the walled Medina. You can do it yourself though, with some good shoes and a but of courage...

Posted by adamandmeg 14:16 Archived in Morocco Comments (1)

the Bedouin they brought out The electric camel drum

Got his guitar picking thumb As soon as the shareef Had cleared the square They began to wail

sunny 48 °C
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Rockin the Casbah

After Ait Ben Hadou we continued through the heat and sand into the Erg Chebbi desert. This patch of sand 160 km long and 40 km wide escaped the Sahara proper and is making it's way West to the coast. It is hot and very very sandy.

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We even had a sandstorm.

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We stayed at a Riad and camped in tents (Brave but silly in the heat). The next morning we got up early and sat on a dune in the Saharan sand and caught one of the most amazing sites we have ever seen on camera sunrise and a camel caravan in the Sahara.

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This is one of the best highlights of all our travels.

Posted by adamandmeg 23:28 Archived in Morocco Comments (2)

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