Laayoune – “capital” of Western Sahara, Sahara Occidental, or just another town in Morocco. Depends which side of the fence you are on. The territory has been in the possession of the Spanish, then Mali and Mauritania claimed rights over it until the “Green march” of November 1975 when 350,000 Moroccans crossed the border to claim the oil and phosphate rich territory. The locals weren’t too pleased and engaged in 16 year guerrilla war with the invading Moroccans, under the banner of the Polisario. A ceasefire was brokered in 1991. We are safe to travel as long as we don’t go off track in the signed mine field areas!
Having filled up everything (including lunchboxes) with cheap diesel, 27p per litre, and with the flash packers having caught up with us (missed us in Agadir as Dunc went AWOL!), we managed to find the windiest campsite so far. Gale force winds and a combination of too hard and too soft ground, made it quite a game putting up tents. It died down in the evening though and most retired early.
The next few days were spent moving towards the Mauritanian border. A fantastic campsite 30km before Dhakla, right on the beach, was only spoilt by the rather large contingent of Europeans and their camper vans! At least they had beer to share!
The last night in Morocco was spent…..at the border! All valiant efforts to find a suitable bush camp before that came to nothing. Minefield signs everywhere off the road had most feeling more than a little nervous. As it happened, the border arrived much earlier than anticipated! Still, it gave us time to stash all the booze under the floor (which was then screwed down) before entering a “dry” country.
As there was a great little restaurant there we all had our final tajine, and got to watch football! The flash packers of course got rooms, and poor old Wes, got a bit disoriented in the middle of the night, and was seen wandering around looking for the toilet holding his bits. The manager became quite upset and we had to explain that Wes was a bit gone in the head! Seemed to do the trick!
Countries, like people, are loved for their failings.
F Yeats Brown from Bengal Lancer, 1930