Pleasant Valley Sunday

Merzouga 17/03/2015

This is a bit of a milestone because when we leave here we will be heading slowly homewards and our first big escapade will come to a close. But I am sure there will plenty more adventures to tell about before then.

We are in Merzouga and at a swell place called Le Petit Prince and will tell you more about that in our next blog. Here it is on the ever trusty Google map:

Todgha to Hakkou Aoufous 15/03/2015

We managed to get away around lunchtime after fixing bits and bobs, there always seems to be something that needs a tweak. In fairness, Knora Knaus appears to be far more solid than most other Homie owners we come across. My toolkit has been a godsend for an awful lot of people and we have always been happy to help. I have also been on a bit of a personal mission to help our French cousins to move away from the ‘dongle-up-a-fishing-rod-with-a-long-lead-through-a-window’ device to the slightly more elegant Mifi solution. And I am happy to report we are getting some traction on this.

There will be no movie in this blog as the journey does not warrant one and the best bits will go into our end-of-term ‘best of’ video. May we just say a big thanks to the 600 plus people who watched our last movie, we hoped you liked it. We decided to go the long way round to Merzouga by sticking on the National roads and will return by the Regional R702. We have decided not to try the N12 when leaving here as we have had reports there is a lot of Piste to negotiate and as Glammy Campies we do not want to be bounced around for an hour or two.

We stopped at Errachidia en-route at a brand new European styled supermarket. I personally love a supermarket because I can get extra portions of cereals that make the milk go choccie. We can also stock up on mince and chicken portions that helps us maintain our one day cooking, one day restaurant routine we have slipped into here in Morocco.

Tourist Tip: When travelling in Morocco be aware that the letters A and E are inter-changeable in place names. So, if using a map or SatNav try both when looking-up a destination.

Food and fuel on-board and tyres checked we headed along the N13 toward Merzouga via our overnight stop at Hakkou Aoufous. You can see the route from the Journey Menu Tab. The road takes us through the Ziz Valley. The valley is in shape if not in size a scaled down version of the rift valley of Kenya, minus the volcanos and lakes. It does have like the rift valley sheer sides to the valley and stretches for some 50Kms. The whole of the valley floor is a Palmaris fed by the fast flowing River Ziz. Here are some pictures taken at the Northern end of the valley.

Northern Ziz Valley

Northern Ziz Valley looking South

This view continued all the way until our chosen campsite.

Homie Help: There are many guides for the Homie to help them choose a suitable stopover. We have found the best one to be the Dutch based; camper Contact. It is available now in a handy App that makes it even more appealing.

Camping Hakkou Aoufous 15/03/2015 – 16/03/2015

Strange that I have just sung the praises of the CamperContact offering only to find the co-ordinates for this campsite are way off. Not to be deterred, as we had nowhere else to go we found the campsite and were very pleased we did. The place really is that over-used phrase; an oasis of calm. Tea was served on arrival, everything was pristine and worked. The location set in the Palmaris could not be faulted and the owner’s hospitability was amongst the best we have had on our travels. All in all a rather Pleasant Valley Sunday.

As we had driven a long way, for us, we went for food in the van. Wow, what a treat, the food was some of the best we have had. There is a massive difference in Morocco between home-cooked and restaurant food and if you have the choice go for the home-cooked. You will not be disappointed. Of course this may not be the case in the major cities, but until we get there we are going to stick by our home is best mantra.

We had a great night’s sleep and awoke refreshed for the final push down to Merzouga. So here a couple of pictures of the campsite we thoroughly recommend.

At the oasis

Campsite in the valley

Merzouga 16/03/ – 17/03/2015

Leaving the stopover we ignored the SatNav and took notice of the campsite man and turned left instead of right along a minor tarmacked road. All we can remember was him shouting first village and waving his arms in a loose impersonation of Don Quixote giving a loose impersonation of a Windmill. The first village came and went with no turn off, and the second, and the third. Tracy, bless, by this stage was now doing a loose impersonation of Sancho Panza and mumbling something about when I go out in the world, the world turns into a mystery before my eyes. To cut a long story short we did finally come to a village with an escape route and found our way to the main road. We had to pass through the Palmaris and cross the Ziz River in full flow on a bridge not much wider than the Van.

The river Ziz in flow

The rest of the drive was uneventful and we made good time to Merzouga. The road is populated along its entire length with either Hotels that look shut or fossil shops that look even more shut. We decided we would spend our first night or two at a Hotel with parking the Dutch couple we met at Todgha had told us about. As we approached Merzouga we were forced to stop by a chap standing in the middle of the road. He informed us of a site we could stay at that had in no particular order; WiFi, swimming pool, tap water and an American lady staying. After a quick discussion we decided the American Lady was not the deal clincher he hoped for and drove off. He was not content with that and sped past us and tried to stop us again. We drove round him as if a mini-roundabout and doubled back and took a sharp left towards our destination. Our ‘friend’ in his 4×4 now raced across the desert and managed to cut us off again. An off-road manoeuver for us this time before a swift left into the hotel to avoid the persistent fellow.

We planned to stay at the hotel Kanz Erremel for a few days before our trip into the desert but on checking the weather we changed our plans and only stayed the night. Of course this was not without incident as we managed to blow the electrics. The shower man and I now spent the next hour I the dark trying to repair the supply whilst being sniffed at by the resident stray pack of dogs until we found the problem, my bodged wiring on an adapter. Moving on.

Here are some pictures we took before the electrical embarrassment.

The dunes of Merzouga

200 Metres of sand

So finally the big day has arrived where we had off into the Sahara Desert for Three days and we will let you know what happened when we get back.

Love to all

Take care

E&T

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