Africa, we’re in! Martil, Morocco

Live chickens, dead chickens and fish. And lots of fruit.

We’re here: N35.62890 W5.27736 (on a campsite in Martil, in Morocco, in Africa)

Weather: overcast. Surprisingly cool for Africa. Did I say Africa. Oooh yeah baby, Aff-reek-aaahhhh!

OK, I’ll shut up about being in Africa now. It’s only Morocco after all, but it’s already very different to Europe, and we’re very excited to be here, with a month’s exploration laid out ahead of us. Quick video of a bit of our drive here:

Some things we’ve noticed so far:

  • A bloke driving the wrong way around a small roundabout towards me, smiling and waving his apologies.
  • A police checkpoint which used a chicane made from 3 stingers to make sure you slowed down. They happily waved us through.
  • There are not many dogs here, and consequently not much dog crap on the pavement. Charlie’s been pointed at a time or two.
  • We may be in a somewhat Westernised African country, and in a modern beach resort, but we’re the ethnic minority here, by a long shot.
  • I’m writing this on a 3G dongle, which cost 200Dh (about £18, including a month’s unlimited Internet access. A similar one cost an acquaintance in Spain €50, and was limited to 1GB).
  • Many of the locals are in full robes, some have pointy hats, which Ju likes and wants to buy one.
  • It’s not flat and sandy, it’s mountainous and green.
  • The loundspeaker call to prayer makes it very obvious we’re in a 99% Muslim country.
  • Camels, cows, sheep and goats all graze at the side of the roam. Apart from the camels, the others were also eating the manicured grass at the roadside.

It’s fair to say we’re relieved to have gotten in and got ourselves onto a campsite for the night. Tanger Med port has none of the hustle-factor that we’d read happens at the old Tangier port and, albeit with some confusion and use of my emergency French, we got through in only about 40 minutes. We’ll knock up some notes on the documents and who to give ’em to/when/how to get insurance etc another time.

Call to prayer number 2 kicks in, starts off with an air raid siren type wail:

Tonight the campsite restaurant calls. Not very adventurous, we know, but there’s plenty of time for adventure and Lonely Planet says it’s a gem of a place. We’re off for a tagine or two to test out Lonely Planet’s info.

Update: Dad has identified the sea creatures as Pilot Whales, a mother and calf. How wonderful is that, our ferry ticket included free whale watching!

Cheers, Jay

P.S. We’d heard customs tend to ‘confiscate’ some of your beer and wine so we stocked up well and hid some of it. The cheery fella just asked ‘anything special’, we said no and he waved us through without looking inside. We now have a most excellent beer and wine stash. Some of the locals didn’t fair so well, with HUGE stacks of whatever piled up on their vans, and having to take it all down. Unlucky guys.

5 Comments

  1. don’t forget, at all costs avoid hitting livestock, or u’ll end up buying a replacement, and who knows how much that will cost…you’ll have killed a national champion goat which was also pregnant and a prize milker…

    • Hi Bob, once we’d found the right shop, very easy. You need the Maroc Telecom shop, not a reseller (small shops sell PAYG credit and have Maroc Telecom signs up, they don’t sell the dongle). The main shops are fully blue and orange branded, the one we used was small, don’t look for a big European sized shop. Once you have found the shop, a bit of French comes in handy (ask for a 3G USB dongle without contract) but there is no paperwork, no showing of passport, no need for a local bank account etc, you hand over the cash and they hand over a box with the dongle, SIM and pass code. Ours came with unlimited bandwidth for a month from first use. Cheers, Jay

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