Morocco: A tale of Sand, Snow and 1001 Nighttime Photos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Huffduff, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

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    Great Start, looking forward to the rest of it.

    Two days on a ferry sounds rough. Did you consider riding to Algeciras and jetting across from there?

    Thanks for the terrific pics.
    #21
  2. Huffduff

    Huffduff Adventurer

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    Yes, but that would mean riding 2000km of highway (in winterweather). That would also take at least 2 days and then there's the crossing to Africa in addition. In the end I decided it's better to sit on the ferry and read a book, than droning along the highway.
    #22
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  3. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

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    Right on. And even though the crossing is fairly short you'd still have the multiple hours of loading the ferry.

    Really enjoying your report. I'll shut up and let you get on with it :lurk
    #23
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  4. marcopolo66

    marcopolo66 n00b

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    I’ve just booked ferry ticket from Savona (cheaper than from Genoa), so in a month I am going to do more or less similar route. Ferry arrives in Tanger Med late in the night so I’d like to wait in the port until daybreak. Have you been to passengers terminal? Do you think there is suitable place to kill the time for the rest of the night until dawn? Probably will have some more questions if you don’t mind.

    Great report, please continue.
    #24
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  5. Huffduff

    Huffduff Adventurer

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    Nice, have fun!

    I'm not sure if there's a passenger Terminal in Tanger Med, I haven't seen one, but I might have missed it. I also arrived late and left the port around 22:00 but rode for about 50 km and found a camp site close to the village of Cabo Negro.
    #25
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  6. rattis

    rattis Long timer

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    Brilliant, I'm in
    #26
  7. Huffduff

    Huffduff Adventurer

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    A primer on how to make olive oil

    ...or how chance encounters can result in some of the best travel memories. This episode is less about riding and more about one of these events that unfold only if you abandon plans and embrace coincidence.

    Anyway, I started the day in Midelt with the intent of crossing the Atlas and riding towards the dunefields of Erg Chebbi. The morning was bitter cold (later I got told Midelt is the coldest town in Morocco) and I followed the main road southwards. The road was nice with sweeping curves, following a river, which had a carved a spectacular canyon.

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    An almost dry riverbed and a small village somewhere in the Atlas.

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    I stopped by the side of the road, trying to capture the scenery with the river providing the water of live for a few palm trees in the otherwise dry and hostile environment.

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    When this guy, Said, came along. We started to talk (he spoke a very good german, which was quite a surprise to me) and soon I found myself invited to his village.

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    This place was the first stop, traditional olive oil production, complete with a mule driving the millstone to mash the olives. Note the rag on its left eye to prevent it from realizing it's walking in circles.

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    The raw material, delivered by the local farmer families.

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    After mashing, the olives are placed in a basket and get pressed. There are channels in the ground to collect the outflowing water/oil mixture in a barrel in the ground. The barrel is then left overnight to let the oil and water separate (oil on top, water below).

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    The finished product, we got to taste it with a piece of bread.

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    The next stop in Said's village, he also wanted to show me the kasbah, a fortified central part of a village. From the outside, only the gate and walls with small windows can be seen ...

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    ... on the inside there are houses, open plazas and narrow alleyways.

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    Inside the gatehouse. Now it's just a crumbling ruin, but in earlier days it was a communal and commercial center.

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    These intricate paintings on the roof in one of the houses gives a glimpse how the homes of the people might have looked like.

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    A view from the roofs over the river and fields.

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    A watchtower on a nearby peak. In the case of an attack, the farmers and semi-nomadic animal herders could take shelter in the kasbah.

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    Boy in front of the kasbah.

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    After the tour, I was invited to one of Said's friends for the obligatory tea.

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    Inside one of the villagers home. Again I was served tea and bread with olive oil. Note the way he's serving the tea, with the teapot high up, the tea cools down while in the air. Often the tea is poured several times back and forth between the glass and the pot.
    #27
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  8. BearWoods

    BearWoods Been here awhile

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    Great stuff, I dig the night shots especially. They really ad a different dimension to photography, and are a welcome addition on your adventure ride! Thanks for sharing.
    #28
  9. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    your most recent post is very interesting. I'm glad you went with the moment, the story and pictures are compelling reading.
    #29
  10. dante_alighieri

    dante_alighieri Been here awhile

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    Great photos and great trip!!
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  11. G&T

    G&T Adventurer

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    Lovely Huff Duff. We have plans to ride from UK to Morocco via France & Spain in September. Will definitely check out more of your ride report. Mrs T is on the back so I think we may end up in Riads rather than tents :jack
    #31
  12. Frostguiding

    Frostguiding Adventurer

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    I'm not sure if there's a passenger Terminal in Tanger Med, I haven't seen one, but I might have missed it. I also arrived late and left the port around 22:00 but rode for about 50 km and found a camp site close to the village of Cabo Negro.[/QUOTE]

    There is a passenger terminal in Tanger Med, with a restaurant and even a duty free shop, but I don't know if you can get there when arriving - I've only been in it when waiting for a ferry to leave.
    Both trips I've done to Morocco I used the Genoa-Tanger ferry and just settled in for the 48 hours. Both times I booked a hotel for the first night - there's an Ibis in Fnideq which is about 25 mins way and easy to find. The Genoa ferry should arrive in daylight but it was late last time which mean riding in the dark - quite an experience after 48 hours of ferry laziness!
    #32
  13. Huffduff

    Huffduff Adventurer

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    Thanks! Yes, riads is the way to go if not camping, so much more atmospheric than bland interchangeable hotel rooms. And comparatively cheap for what you get.

    Thanks for clarifying. And a good tip with the Ibis.
    #33
  14. Huffduff

    Huffduff Adventurer

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    Desert Nights

    From the small village in the eastern part of the Atlas, I continued southwards to the famous dune field of Erg Chebbi. We all have seen dakar pilots, blazing over the dunes and carving trough the sands, dreaming of doing that ourselves. But I have to admit, I chickened out a bit here. With 210 kg of bike and sub par (or rather non-existent) skills of riding in deep sand I assumed any foray into the sand would end with me getting hopelessly stuck. So, I swallowed my pride and played the tourist for a moment.

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    I descended off my high Tenere and climbed on top of an even higher camel to spend a night in the desert. Spending a night in a Berber tent. The original Berber headcloth I have is by far the best thing to have in case of a sandstorm.

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    Speaking of sandstorms, that's what we got in the evening, so no sunset in the evening. Except for nose, ears and mouth (thanks to the ingenious berber headwrap technique) the sand got everywhere, pockets, clothes and so on. I still find grains of Sahara sand every now and then.

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    But, continuing with the theme, the best was the night. Luckily, after sunset the clouds disappeared and I had a clear night sky. I climbed the dunes at night and took some pictures of the milky way before moonrise.

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    I was about to finish and go to sleep, when I saw the sand illuminated by the moon. Creating this illusion of a dune at daylight under the night sky. This is the first of my two night time favourites I got during this trip.

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    Sunrise in the next morning, after the return from the desert, I continued towards Tinghir and the Toudra gorge.

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    Tinghir, I did not take any pictures during the ride from Erg Chebbi to Tinghir, since it was just too cold and I was rather exhausted from taking pictures last night untill almost midnight.

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    While stopping for a tea, I met this guy. He introduced me to his two camels named Jimmy Hendrix and Jonny Cash. He also wanted to trade his camels for my Tenere. But since it has 48hp (and due to the lack of horses) I would have accepted 48 camels not just 2 (not even rockstar camels).

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    Tinghir, looking north towards the Todra gorges.

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    In the Todra gorge, it's a tourist hot spot (with good reason). While the tourist usually see the entrance and then turn around, I continued to the village of Tamtetouchte

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    Some ice on the road. Climbing the valley, it got seriously cold.

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    In the village of Tamtetouchte.

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    While rolling through the village, I saw many villagers, mainly elders, wrapped in blankets huddled in the last rays of the setting sun. I found accommodation here, but I have no night sky picture here, it was just to cold.
    #34
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  15. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

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    Stunning photos. :thumb
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  16. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    inspriational stuff!
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  17. slowriding

    slowriding Dopeless Hope Fiend Supporter

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    Great photos, thanks for posting.
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  18. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    I like this thread for two reasons, firstly it is about Morocco. Secondly, the standard of the photography. Your night time photos are magic. Thanks for sharing.
    #38
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  19. btrrtlwtr

    btrrtlwtr Adventurer Super Supporter

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    great photos , shooting raw then edit ?
    #39
  20. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    A few weeks ago, we took the route Algecircas - Tanger Med, and acc. to the screens none of the ferries departed in time. We waited for 27 hours in Algecircas (bad weather) and 3 hours in Tanger Med. The locals didn't seem surprised.

    Not to ride at night is generally a good idea. We observed particularily bad potholes in the north of Marocco - with the result that I had to repair a snake bite just minutes after debarking.
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    If you don't want to book, you can at least do some research for suitable accomocations before leaving.

    Bonus tip: It's cheap and easy to get prepaid SIM cards. We paid just a few Euro for 5GB, and the connection was often much better than the complimentary internet offered in hotels or bars.
    #40
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