We meet on Friday afternoon to catch the 5.15 PM cruise ferry from Portsmouth to Santander. We need to be at the check-in for at least 1hr before we sail, Russ will be waiting for you to check you in and to handout 2-way radios please fuel up before the ferry saves time when getting off the ferry. We will have a get together when on the ferry for a full briefing
Sail 5.15 PM from Portsmouth to Santander on the Brittany Ferries Cruise ship. We are on the ferry overnight, plenty of time to get together for a meal chat about your holiday, relax and enjoy the crossing, Ferry included for vehicle 2 persons, outside cabin, cabins can be up-grades on request [vehicle must be less than 5m long and 2.6m high]
Arrive in Santander, Spain regroup off the ferry and hit the road for our first night in Spain where travel to Hotel Palacio de Santa Ana Valladolid 4* for the night, the adventure starts off the ferry as we travel through the Picos mountains. Approx. 3 hrs drive 247 kilometres
It’s on the road after a good breakfast towards Salamanca and then on to Algeciras this is a long journey on mainly empty motorways with one toll near Seville 10 euros, we have all day to get there and we don’t rush, speed cameras be aware, fines come back to the UK. On arriving in Algeciras, we check into the Holiday Inn Gibraltar-Barrios for the evening with the backdrop of the Rock of Gibraltar, Russ will go to the port and buy the Spain/Morocco ferry open return tickets to save time in the morning, 8 hours driving
It’s time to catch the ferry to Tangers -Med, Morocco, we need to be at the terminal for just before 8 AM [10 mins from hotel] to make the 9 AM ferry, once off the ferry be prepared for a culture shock you are now in Africa! If you have been unable to secure insurance for Morocco in the UK we can buy 10 days insurance in the port, and you can change your money to Dirhams by cash or card. Leaving the port, we head through low rolling lush hills towards, Tetouan, and on towards Chefchaouen our overnight stop at the famous blue and white city. We stay at the Atlas Hotel with fabulous views over the city. Atlas Hotel is a hotel with a view the best in Chefchaouen it is at best a 2* Morocco hotel. We have time to wander around the souk’s and stunning blue & white streets, it’s a very bohemian place, time to chill in the evening in the square and watch the world go by, then take a taxi back to the hotel and get that night view of the city. 5 hrs driving tarmac/track
After breakfast we fuel up and hit the road to Azrou, but not before travelling through the Riff mountain range, winding our way down towards Fes, maybe taking in a roadside BBQ? Once pasted Fes, we travel through a very strange town called Ifrane it’s like someone dug up a French town and moved it to Morocco, Its hard to explain, next stop Hotel Palais des Cerisiers 4* this time someone moved a hotel from France to Morocco , its rather good with the best menu and wines! 6 to 8 hours driving approx. tarmac
It’s time to start exploring! As we travel passed Disney style Morocco! And into the Forest de Cedres, which has some rather large monkeys at the roadside not to be touched and you must pay to have a photo with them. From here it all starts to change as we travel over the Moyen Atlas mountain range towards Ar-Rachidia and across to the French-owned Auberge/Campsite, for great food and a night in a Bedouin tent [shower toilet block clean and tidy] you have a proper bed and electric in your tent, you will also get to me Miss Rekkam the pretties donkey in the world, please be aware you are now entering the desert region and things start to change! 8 hours driving approx. tarmac
After pancakes for breakfast we fuel up and head off into the desert driving through dried out riverbeds, or maybe not? Through sand dunes, passed Bedouin nomads making there living in the desert and moving home as and when they need to. Over miles of desert landscape, even passed French Foreign Legion deserted forts. At times we will be running past amazing waterfalls when in flood over the cliff edges, then along the Algerian border getting in and out of Military checkpoints with soldiers asking for gift a cigarette or some sweets, a pen? Today you will see Erg Chebbi loom out of the ground it’s a staggering sight you will never forget, as we skirt around this massive sand dune we roll into the desert town of Rissani to stay at Riad Lghiam it could be time to try the pool? 6 hours driving approx. sand/rock/off-road driving
After breakfast its time to fuel up and head back around Erg Chebbi for some proper sand dune driving and even maybe getting a little stuck, but its all great fun, even watching the tour guides flying about with tourists on board showing you how it should be done. Merzouge is our stop for supplies for lunch and more fuel as after lunch it’s more sand/desert driving to the desert outpost Porte de Sahara miles from anywhere we will check-in, and have our evening meal in the centre courtyard, after we have eaten we head up onto the rooftop to watch the stars come out. 6 hours approx. driving sand/rock/off-road driving/tarmac
We need an early breakfast and on the road to Zagora again running along the border over mountains and through vast plains, army checkpoints and eventually into Zagora it’s a breath-taking long day at least 8 hours driving but so so worth it! Once in Zagora we check into Auberge Chez Ali, while we are having a beer in the walled gardens or having a swim, the vehicles will be next door at the garage of Aziz who owns the famous Garage Iriki Zagora, his team will check your vehicles over grease what needs greasing and making sure your vehicle is good for the next leg. 6 to 8hrs driving approx. sand/rock/off-road driving
Its back into the desert with some excellent driving, more sand dunes, riverbeds, and dried out salt lakes, taking in Oued Draa & Lake Iriki where the Titanic is wash up! Honest. It’s a fabulous day and a tough one as we roll into Foum-Zguid for our last night on the edge of the Sahara, we will be staying in the best hotel in town Bab Rimal 6 to 8 hours drive depending on conditions sand/rock/off-roading driving
It all starts to change as we leave the desert region behind and start our road journey to Oulad Berhill at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, the Hotel Arganier d’Or is set in an orange grove with a stunning backdrop of gardens to look around, with a swimming pool as well, this is fantastic tarmac all the way watch out for camels crossing the road 6 hours approx.
Oulad Berhill to Marrakesh via the famous Tizi-n-Test mountain pass through the High Atlas Mountains, there will still be snow about and you will be able to see Mount Toubkal the highest mountain in North Africa on your right at 4167 meters high, on this leg watch out for goats in trees 8 hours driving approx. tarmac/rough track
Marrakesh Time!!! After several days of amazing driving its time to chill out and relax in Marrakesh, its time to visit the souk’s, and then watch the sun go down in the Jemaa el-Fna or just hang out by the pool and recharge your batteries and reflex on your journey, 1 day 2 nights
We need to hit the Motorway leave Marrakesh and say goodbye to the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara, this is a toll road, with lots of speed traps !, the tolls are not expensive and the motorway excellent and little traffic apart from around Casablanca, we are aiming for the 3 PM ferry from Tangers-Med to Algeciras and our hotel Holiday Inn
Travel from Algeciras to Salamanca a 400 miles drive to the jewel in the crown for our last evening of the holiday, it’s a very special place to end your adventure, It’s a time to party in the Plaza Mayor square. Everyone who visits cannot wait to come back it’s that good, Our Hotel for our last evening will be Hotel Parador Salamanca.
We have plenty of time to travel from Salamanca to Santander even time to have another wander around this historic city, before heading off on the last leg to catch the 8 PM ferry to Portsmouth.