African Trails Trans November 08 acquired 24 passengers collected from Malaga and Gibraltar Airports. We are, Australians (Mark (Driver), Mich, Clare, Rebecca, Robert), Americans (Carrie, Chesley, Alan), British (David, Lee, Sue, Dean), Canadian (Walter), Dutch (Andre), Irish (Ciara, Christy, Will) Japanese (Daisuke), New Zealanders (Lance, Amy), Portuguese (Josef), and South African (Renier).
We were greeted into Morocco watching a local tout (who had been helping us) get beaten up by the official parking wardens. Was a long first day, but have been having leisurely days since. Day one on the truck was a short drive, but was a good bonding exercise starting with push starting the newly christened “Ruby”. We stayed in Chefchaouen for 2 nights, where the days were spent exploring the blue washed buildings and our first medina. Carrie and Dean went nightclubbing, we laughed at Mark in his wizard suit (Jelaba), went food shopping in local markets, and discovered that our group can’t eat 7 packets of pasta.
From Chefchaouen we went to Fes, the Moroccan capital of handcrafts, where we took a guided tour of the Medina, that was very quiet as it was holy day. On the tour we saw the tanneries, a small portion of the 300 mosques in Fes, went to a natural/herbal pharmacy and got the heavy sales pitch in a 5 storied carpet shops. We declined the guided tour to the campsite and ended up camping in someone’s cauliflower paddock. We returned to Fes and spent a free morning wandering the winding narrow streets, which were full with the markets, with everything from camels heads dripping blood to slipper stalls and successfully managed to avoid being trampled by mules and donkeys.
From Fes we had another short drive to Volubillis, home of the ancient Roman ruins famous for their intricate mosaic floors. We camped in a quarry with spectacular views, and equally spectacular winds! We also had our first tent sabotage, as Will and Dean woke up sandwiched between the tent and the flysheet. Had a great fire and did a massive fire wood collection clearing the dead branches within a olive orchard, patting ourselves on the back for doing the local farmer a massive favour…….. The “boys-only” cook group did a sterling effort and took out the best meal of the trip so far, with a tasty curry. The following morning was spent exploring Volubillis, the oldest Roman Ruins in Morocco, truly amazing.
We did our biggest drive day yet, 200km, and set off for Rabat via Meknes. Mark showed off his expert driving skills and manoeuvred Ruby through an entrance having only an inch on either side of the truck. Hot showers were enjoyed by most, and backpacks were refilled with clean washing. The lazy members of the group who put their washing in to be cleaned are now financially crippled and eating dry bread for lunches, lesson learnt. Always establish the price first, and don’t believe when you are told its going to be cheap. The dry bread however, is actually extremely good and one person on the tour has since been discovered rubbing the bread on his face, enjoying its softening affect as an exfoliator……
Ruby is now fully stocked (FOOD AND SUPPLIES) and ready to go, to take us deep into the heart of Africa. Dave’s supermarket shelf stacking days have done him proud and there is no wasted space on the truck, and we are going back for more food.
It now looks as though we will be in Rabat for another 2 days to get visas sorted. It was a public holiday yesterday, so no action on the visa front.
We have now acquired our Mali Visas and Ghana and Mauritania in the pipeline, we have also had some positive news from the Angolan embassy here, that Angola is currently issuing tourist visas, but it will take 2 weeks, so we will hopefully be obtaining those further down the track.