Vehicles over 5 meters long and 2.65 meters high will incur a surcharge; for example, a Ford Ranger is just over 5 meters long for which an additional charge will be payable. Please ensure you refuel before boarding the ferry.
We Sail at 5.15 PM from Portsmouth to Santander on the Brittany Ferries Cruise ship. The fee is not included and will be approximately £700 depending on your vehicle and choice of cabin. We will be on the ferry overnight, so there’s plenty of time to relax and enjoy the crossing,
When we arrive in Santander, we will regroup after disembarking the ferry before setting off for the Valladolid area. We will stay here for the night in a local hotel, and the cost will be approximately £60 which is not included in the tour price. Snowstorms are frequent at this time of year through the Picos mountains, and the excitement may start here.
After breakfast, it’s onwards to Algeciras via Salamanca. It’s a long journey with one toll near Seville, which will cost approximately 10 euros. We have all day to get to our destination. There are speed cameras on the route so we don’t rush. On arriving in Algeciras, we check into the Holiday Inn Express, which will cost approximately £60 and is not included in the tour price. Russ will go to the port and buy the Spain/Morocco ferry open return tickets which is included in the tour price.
We need to be at the ferry terminal for just before 6 AM for the first sailing to Morocco. Be prepared for a culture shock when you disembark; you are now in North Africa, and it’s a different world. At Tangers Med we purchase third party vehicle insurance which will cost approximately £70 for ten days. We refuel and hit the A1 Atlantic coast road to Marrakesh. It’s a toll road and the quickest way to our destination, Le Relais du Marrakesh. This will be our first night of camping. We will go into town for that “must-have” item in the souks or chill in the Jemaa el-Fna square and watch the sun go down. Some of you may wish to hang out by the pool at the campsite where you can enjoy drinks and good food.
Into town for that last shop at the supermarket where you can purchase a sim card for your phone £10 for 10G approximately. Next stop is the Atlas Mountains via Tiz-n-Test, classed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world which was built by the French Foreign Legion. We head over the top and descend towards Taliouine where you may see goats climbing trees. We turn back into the Atlas Mountains for our first night of wild camping at 2500 meters. It will be chilly with the back-drop of the highest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toubkal. There may be a touch of morning frost, and the sunrise is magical. You will need perfect sleeping bags.
We will have breakfast watching the sunrise over the mountains and then it’s straight onto the trail along the spine of the Atlas and past deserted villages, through canyons and lush meadows. We descend and head through the Tiz-n-Bachkoum pass and drop down even further towards Foum-Zguid, where we will pick up fresh bread and supplies before heading into the desert towards Lac Iriki. Here we will wild camp again after clearing the military check-point, sweets/cigarettes help us through the post, which is a bit of a game. After setting up camp, its time to sit back around the fire with a glass of wine and watch the stars.
Soft sand, dry lake beds and rocky outcrops are today’s theme, and an abundance of tourist’s being driven along in Toyotas in convoy. Cafés, restaurants and auberges in the middle of nowhere are plentiful. Depending on progress through villages and old Foreign Legion Forts and into the Oued Draa, not too far from the Algerian border we may be wild-camping again tonight.
We travel through dunes and river beds before re-joining the road to Zagora, where we have a choice of campsite or auberge. On arriving we check in the Garage Iriki, where Aziz and his team will check our vehicles over, grease the prop shafts, blow out the air filter and generally make sure everything is as it should be. The check costs about £10, and the garage carries a large stock of Land Rover and Toyota parts. Preventive maintenance is essential on this kind of trek, so it’s well worth a visit. Next door is a brilliant Auberge Chez-Ali, which we can check into if you want a break from camping. The cost is approximately £25 per night for bed & breakfast (not included). The site also has a swimming pool and fabulous gardens. There is a campsite just down the road if you want to camp. Zagora is the town with the famous sign for Timbuctoo
With vehicles checked it’s back into the desert. The scenery changes today beyond belief as it gets mountainous with massive plateaus. We are heading towards the Erg Chebbi dunes. It’s a long day, and we will spend another night wild-camping under the stars.
Today we head towards Erg Chebbi, calling in at Porta Sahara for tea or coffee with an old friend of mine. We should arrive in Merzouga around lunchtime before were we refuel and head off into the sands dunes for the best fun in a 4×4 you will ever have. We end the day at a great campsite near Erfoud, collecting supplies from the town first.
We head for the Algerian border through river beds and along cliff faces until we reach the escarpment where you will be impressed by massive waterfalls. We then head for Rekkam Boudnib where we will be camping again. This French-owned campsite has been voted the best in Morocco by Overlanders and is a fabulous place to eat and drink with Francois the owner
We have breakfast in Boudnib (normally pancakes). We will be on tarmac all day travelling to Azrou via Ar-Rachidia. The route takes us through the Ceder Forests where handlers will be waiting with monkeys to take your cash for a photo. Our destination looks like a version of Moroccan style Disney World and is very different to anything else we have seen so far.
Today’s destinations is Chefchaouen via Ifrane and Fes. The route will take us through the Riff Mountains, again on tarmac but as we travel up through the mountains. It’s a long road trek, but it makes Thursday a short day with plenty of time to get to the port. Chefchaouen is commonly called the Blue & White City and is an extraordinary place to spend your last evening in Morocco. Make sure you have a walk around the streets, soak up the atmosphere and take plenty of photos. Tonight you have a choice of camping at a campsite overlooking the, or you can upgrade to the Atlas Hotel.
We start our journey home Tangers Med to catch the ferry back to Algeciras where we will spend the night at the Holiday Inn Express.
The destination is Salamanca. It’s a 400-mile drive to this jewel in the crown for our last evening of the holiday.
We travel from Salamanca to Santander where you will have plenty of time for sightseeing before we catch the 8 PM ferry to Portsmouth.
Time to relax on the Brittany Ferries cruise ship back home, we should arrive UK time at 8.45 PM.