Day 11: 16/10/18
Location: Tazzarine (Camp Sedrar)
Disaster has struck! We have succumbed to the terrible fate of being idiotic, gullible tourists. After a nice morning of driving we entered a small village and were greeted by a local in a Land Rover who offered us a guided tour for the next few kilometres. Explaining that we had made it so far without needing help, we confidently declined, and he, just as confidently, directed us to the route – straight across a slightly muddy patch onto the road ahead.
Keen to get away from the locals who were starting to surround our cars, we took the advice, and headed straight across the most direct route to the road. Kath, driving the first car, gave it her best shot, and came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the mud, unable to move either forwards or backwards.
With hindsight, we know that the next move was exceptionally stupid, however, everyone is a genius when they have hindsight in their hands. James, confident that he would make it further than Kath (after all he was in a Land Cruiser), revved his engine and made his way into the mud aiming for the track on the other side. Low and behold, within a split second, James was also stuck. Quickly, our friendly local, who had been watching from a couple of metres away, came over to offer assistance, all for the very reasonable price of €100. Instantly we realised our mistake and kicked ourselves for falling for such an easy trick. Our feelings of idiocy were only worsened by several other groups of cars and motorbikes who sped past us onto the road ahead via the mud-free track just a few metres away from where we sat.
Had there been a nearby tree to winch ourselves from, we would have been out in minutes, however life rarely works like that and there were no suitable trees, or objects of any kind (other than our friend’s Land Rover) that we could winch ourselves from. Unphased, James and Chris came up with ideas for our escape – including digging trenches around the wheels (barefoot in mud that went half way up your calves).
Word of our troubles spread quickly: the more James and Chris dug, the more locals turned up to observe, snigger, and ‘advise’. The locals did not need a TV, they had the gullible Brits for their afternoon’s entertainment, and what a show we gave them.
After a couple of hours of digging, negotiating with our ‘friend’ and seeking help from any nearby over-landers, Chris cut his foot with the shovel. This changed our priorities very quickly – not wanting Chris to be standing in stagnant water/mud with an open wound, we relented and handed over 200 Moroccan Dirham (about £15) so that he would pull us out.
Once out, we made a sharp exit and headed to a nearby campsite that was recommended by someone who regularly toured this part of Morocco. Brahim, our host for the evening, gave us the warmest of welcomes, with water to clean our filthy cars, hot water to clean ourselves, and a delicious feast.
Day 14: 19/10/18
After an exceptionally windy night wild camping at the most Southerly point of our trip, we spent the day on another off-road route (MH14). We made our way out of the desert and towards the Atlas Mountains for the final part of the trip. As we drove through the town close to our campsite, the roads appeared to be getting narrower the further into the town we went. Being at the back of our two car convoy, and the narrower of the two cars, we figured that we wouldn’t get too concerned – as long as James and Lucy could fit through, so could we. We came to a sharp 90 degree corner, and within the time that it took for James to go around, 3 people had come out of the house on the corner looking not very happy at all.
Before I go on, it is important to take time to inform those that don’t know about the fashion trends of Morocco. The women of Morocco can regularly be seen in dressing gowns. The fluffier the better. In Morocco, a dressing gown is not a robe for using after you’ve had a bath. Oh no. Dressing gowns (with zips) are the ideal outdoor garment for when it gets a bit chilly. Throughout our stay, we had seen a wide range of dressing gown clad women, leaving us wishing that we had packed our own.
Anyway, back to the 90 degree corner. Out of the house, with very disgruntled looks on their faces, came two men and the alpha (fe)male of the group; a wrinkled woman wearing a bright pink, fluffier than you can imagine, dressing gown. She was also adorning a sack of potatoes as a hat which went down the back of her head like a veil. We did not need to speak Arabic or French to understand. Her face and body language said it all. Under no circumstances were we to go around that corner. We had no option but to reverse our way out of the village, leaving James and Lucy behind.
It didn’t take long for us to be reunited with James and Lucy – the 90 degree corner had led to a dead end, so they too reversed their way out. We followed a different road, hoping it would lead to the motorway that we could see just spitting distance from the town. The odds were not in our favour, and we hit another dead end. This time in the form of a staircase at the bottom of an exceptionally steep and narrow hill that we had just driven down. Two inches to our left was a wall, and two inches to our right, a sheer drop. Again, the dead end was proceeded by a 90 degree corner – this time too narrow for the cars to go round. This meant only one thing, reversing back up the hill that had been bad enough driving forwards down. I can’t describe this specific part of our adventure, as I had my eyes firmly shut whilst Chris navigated his way backwards up the slope. By this point, a local had taken pity on us, and three smiling men came to point us in the direction of the correct road. After a nerve racking few minutes of reversing, we got ourselves back onto the right road and made our way to our campsite for the evening.