Entering Africa - Morocco

December 09, 2016

The Pack Track entered Africa with great excitment and trepidation. There is so much to see in Africa, such different cultures to explore. But it is a challenging continent (roads, climate, poverty) and a volatile continent (conflict). We had rested enough in Europe and felt ready for the next adventure, not to mention warmer climates!

We took the Trasmediterranea ferry from Algeciras to Tangier Med. This is the slow, run-down looking ferry and coincidently the cheapest option at 77 for 2 people and 2 motorbikes.  We'd checked the prices online which indicated a cost for dogs but decided not to book online after our recent ferry debacle in England resutling in a missed ferry, additional 600km+, hotel expenses and more riding in the cold, wet, England rain. So, when we turned up to the ferry terminal in Algeciras we were happily surprised the dogs were allowed on for free and when we were on the ferry, motorbikes tied down in the parking area, the girls were allowed to sit inside the passenger area. They were angels, as usual, and sat quietly as we got our passports stamped on board.

Our first tracks in Morocco were a little overwhelming. We were swamped by people asking for money and offering services in a language we didn't understand followed by very broken English. Our comfortable stay in the UK had us complacent and out of practice but it didn't take us long to get back in the swing of travelling.

Once the excitement of the new continent settled, it was time to explore. We spent a few days in Tangier, consulted iOverlander and found a series of campsites recommended by other travelers that would take us through much of Morocco, both inland and along the coast. A favourite of ours was Meknes because it seemed to be less of a tourist so we could just blend in a bit with everyone else.

A must visit is the Medina in Asilah. Every city we visited in Morocco had a Medina which is a densely packed region of markets and homes with narrow passageways. The Medina is Asilah originated a a fortified town but its whitewash walls, blue trimmings and local wall art are a photographers heaven.

It was early December when we arrived in Morocco so two big events were head of us that required a little more planing than usual; Christmas and New Years. Being in an Islamic country we knew both would not be celebrated so we did our best to keep them special for us.

A white Christmas in Africa! Sound a little crazy well it was. Stu booked 10 nights in a hostel in the mountain town of Imlil, Morocco. We certainly had a white Christmas, we were surrounded by snow, snow which made getting our motorbikes parked at the hostel a challenge. The hostel was nice, we got a traditional breakfast every day and new guests eager to embark on hikes through the mountains. It was not so much a great place for a Christmas holiday. There was no heating, no usable internet and no kitchen. We made the most of our time in Imlil but cut the booking short to 5 nights so we could find somewhere a bit more exciting for New Years.

It was a New Years to remember. Sunny days and views of the snow capped mountains, our hotel in Marakesh was perfect for New Years. It was only us and another couple from Scotland buit the hotel owner went all out with a 3 course traditional meal, wine and some local musicians performing for us between meals.

With the silly season done and dusted it was back to riding. We spent a couple of nights in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, then about a week in Casablanca. Here we met Greg and Viki of Wheels of Morocco. They operate motorcycle tours from fully inclusive with a guide right through to hire a bike and off you go. A really family with a beautiful German Shephard called Lobo who definitely got our girls excited. We shared some delicious meals with Greg and Viki both home cooked and at the local fish markets. They helped us out a lot having a parcel delivered to their address and chasing it up at the post office. If you want to hire motorbikes in Morocco check out their webite www.wheelsofmorocco.net



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