Africa calling… Defra’s pet passport rules have changed

The Moors were 'ere. Lagos has a typical Moorish stronghold with the two tower things flanking the doorway, looking like it was made from rather large stone lego.

Neither of us has been to Africa. We didn’t think we could go on this trip either as we’ve got Charlie with us. DEFRA’s Pet Passport scheme only allowed us to take Charlie to certain European countries. If we’d taken him to Morocco there was a chance he’d have to go into quarantine for 6 months at the UK border. A theoretical risk, since we’ve heard of people bringing a puppy into the UK which they’ve picked up from the street in Morocco.

We heard today that our sometime travel buddies Chris and Tina (www.goalgetting.co.uk), who have their dog Loli with them, are heading over to Morocco this week. Turns out DEFRA have changed the Pet Passport scheme on 1 January 2012, so Morocco is now allowed as a destination. Ooooh, we think. Do we head over there? Our motorhome insurance company refuse to cover Morocco, but you can buy insurance at customs in Morocco. Our travel insurance covers us, as does our ADAC breakdown policy (edit: we later found ADAC don’t cover for breakdown in Morroco). So, do we do it?

In the spirit of adventure, and of taking opportunities as they arise, we’re going to head on over. It’s hardly an extreme destination it seems, as we’ve heard of loads of people who’ve done the trip. It will be different to Europe though, and I think we’re starting to find motorhoming in Europe relatively easy. We’ll chill in Eric’s villa for a few more days, then head across the Algarve, into Spain then over to Morocco for a few weeks. Woooeeee, exciting stuff!

As for today, once the pool man had been (get us), we headed off in Dave to nearby Lagos. Avoiding the Pay and Dismay charges, we drove to a new aire, emptied the tanks and parked up for free. The aire was full with 19 other vans: Germans, Brits and Swedes. Maybe even the odd Portuguese. When we came back later on, the sun was out and everyone was sat out front in their deck chairs, or wandering along this eclectic line of travellers chatting. It looked pretty cool, but we had a villa to come back to!

Other things in Lagos:

  • I had some most excellent Chicken Piri-Piri (bascially roast chicken with a spicy sauce and chips). €7.50, not bad for a tourist place.
  • We had a quick look at the slave market. Weird feeling that slaves walked through here on the way from the ship to their new owners.
  • The local fishermen get a good laugh at me trying to ballerina my way through 20cm deep water when a wave caught me and Charlie out on a breakwater.

All in all, Lagos is a pretty chilled out town, a nice place. Not Africa though, is it? Anyone know anything about Morocco?

Cheers, Jay

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11 Comments

  1. just finished reading your blog from start to finish and we loved it, we are in the process of selling our house and all, to finance a similar trip, we also have 2 dogs, so its great to read how charlie fits in. look forward to more updates, thanks paul and sarah

    • Hi Sarah. We’re sure you’ll love the travelling and doing it with a pooch (or two) is a wonderful experience. It’s amazing how having a dog brings you closer to both the locals and fellow travellers. Pls stay in touch, we’d love to hear about your experiences. Jay

  2. Definitely go to Morrocco!! I went once for 12 hours, put the car on the ferry from Algerciras across to Tangier. Just be mindful of the various insurance sellers, only go to the office at the port for for your ‘green card’ insurance, and also check if you need a vignette too for the windscreen – things might have changed, as it was 4 years ago now when i went, but a great experience, I wish I was there for longer. I will read with great interest your trip down to Casablanca which i hope you do.

    Also, when you return from Africa (always sounds so impressive when you put it like that), it is well worth a trip back via Ceuta seeing Spain in Morrocco, heard good if not quite random things about the place.

    I trust you’ll stop in at Gibraltar? Is it on the route plan (if there is one!!)

    • You should know by now Roger, there’s no route planned yet!! It’s South isn’t it, so we’ll go east for a bit then south when we see a ferry :)

      Thanks for the tips. We spoke to our insurance company and we’ll need to get insurance at the port – should be fun. Is there anywhere you haven’t been?

      Julie

  3. I went to Morocco in 1995, so things might have changed. My experience of the cities was not all that great. In Cassablanca we were stalked and on another occasion robbed on a local bus. The hassling took some getting used to too (far more aggressive than I have experienced anywhere else since). I had bad tails from travellers in Tangier too. Then again I was pretty green about traveling in that sort of place – wandering around with a big shiny new rucksack and bum bag with all my cash and passport in one place and looking like a shiny western rich boy ripe for the picking. Lesson learned. In rural areas people were lovely. So watch your backs, dress casual and don’t look too wealthy and you’ll be fine. Some stunning scenery and history to be seen. Enjoy you luck peeps!

  4. We’ve got some stopovers listed in Morocco that might be of help. Haven’t been personally but have had the feedback that apart from the begging its a great experience – look forward to following your progress :)

  5. Could always pretend u were in lagos, nigeria- defo heart o arf-ree-kah then.
    Not been to morocco, but by all accounts ‘very civilised’ – like thinking thailand is representative of asia!
    And I might even be able to visit, friend from BKK also heading there next month and was thinking o catch up with her there..

    • Hi Shiriin

      That’s good, as we’re getting old now and can’t cope with too much risk in our lives! We’re probably going to get the ferry over in early February, as we’ve still got to slowly wander across the Algarve, to Seville and down to Terifa, possibly nipping into Gibraltar while we’re at it. Let us know if you’ll be there and we could try and catch up. Hey, I know it’s not Africa to you, but it is to me, so I’m going to say it: we can catch up in Africa. Oooh yeah.

      Jay

      P.S. What’s BKK stand for?

      • I seriously thot bout going last year, but ended up in Bolivia…
        It looked like a pretty chilled out option really, good weather, varied food.
        Sure there’ll be people who see you and see dollar signs, but you’re together and have Charlie, so should be able to cope no probs.
        (BKK – Bangkok)
        Will let you know when my mate sorts out her dates…
        Nice reading up on your adventures, makes up for not finding a new job!

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