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Impressions from Morocco

Kamel

Back in 1994, a group of some 15 2CVs from several European countries started for Morocco - coming from Portugal. In order to get used to driving on difficult terrain, they had gained some practice in the Portuguese Serra da Estrela, exploring it by the rough roads. But what Morocco would hold for them was beyond their wildest dreams...

Road-to-TinerhirThe magnificent scenery of the Atlas Mountains proved quite demanding of man and material... Roads narrowed to single-lane tarmacs, turned into tracks, continued in drained riverbeds and finally lost themselves on the stony ground...

Chefchaouen The conditions took their toll: chassis bended or broke; overweight caused severe losses in power, inattentiveness on the part of the driver (among other reasons) inevitably led to undercar dents... and countless tyres were wasted.
Fixing up some of the more serious wounds...

DirtRoadSome words about the itinerary: Coming from Ceuta (the Spanisch settlement in Africa), we headed for Chefchaouen, where we were first confronted with the Moroccan style of life (which certainly caused a sort of shock to some of us - but gradually we learnt to deal with this problem). Entering a strange new world also has its price. We crossed the Moyen Atlas and met again in Midelt, where the most difficult part of the journey began: the Cirque de Jaffar (unparalleled its beauty, but also the suffering it causes to us) opens up a tremendous panorama of the Atlas Mountains - and a tiny 2CV desperately clings to the edge of a precipice... It has long since stopped transporting us, it's rather us who have to push it on inch by inch with the utmost caution, till finally, after an endless period of time, it reaches a more solid ground again...

TislitNight has already fallen when we reach our camp at Lac Tislit - we are worn out, but happy. It is quite chilly up here... In the morning, at daylight, damages are being assessed. The Berber village of Imilchil lures nearby... and then we start off for the famous Gorges du Todra, a scenic highlight of some 14 kms. length.

Todra-SchluchtUsually not really a harmless terrain, it means quite easy driving for us, after what we had gone through before...

Todra-Schlucht-HotelOn the further end of the gorge near Tinerhir (the more touristic one, that is to say), there is a comfortable hotel offering us a nice dinner, candlelight shower, and a place to sleep on the roof terrace under a starry sky (but we prefer our 2CV, with the roof open, that's for sure).

UnterPalmenFrom Tinerhir oasis, we move on eastwards heading for Erfoud in the Moroccan part of the sandy desert. The first traces of windborne sand on the tarmac road... We wait for each other in Erfoud, and our Portuguese "organizers" wrap themselves in the oddest scarfs to protect their heads from the desert sand. After hours of waiting we start off for the desert, following the telegraph line first, but somewhere we have to turn off, and then we are left to the compass and to our guides. To top it all, a sandstorm is springing up, there it is all of a sudden, pressing the folding window of the 2CV upward with such violence that I can hardly shut it. But even with the windows shut, you can still watch the layers of sand increase steadily inside the car...

Oase Sometime or other, it is over again, we spend the night in the desert, continue our way via Merzouga to Rissani and, after another series of adventures, finally reach Zagora, the southernmost (and with 42 ° C also the hottest) point of our trip. From here, it is still "53 days to Timbuktu" (on the other edge of the Sahara) - as a famous sign says...

Marrakesch-SoukWe take one day for relaxing, before we head on to Marrakesh: meanwhile we are quite experienced in haggling, and so we take a chance in the souk; the Djemaa el Fna Square is bustling with activities, mainly in the evening and until late in the night, whereas it seems deserted during the day because of the heat. Via Fez and its Medina (old town) with its narrow lanes we head up north to the coast again - to spend a day at the seaside in Al Hoceima, before having our big farewell party at Chefchaouen (our starting point in Morocco).

 

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