All roads heading into the deep South begin at Agadir. That’s what our guidebook told us. We just wanted to visit the supermarket. We just can’t seem to shake off our western habits. You can take us out of Europe but you can’t take Europe out of us. Oh, but then maybe you can with Brexit. Anyway, after three weeks of not being able to drive a trolley Tim was getting withdrawal symptoms. As per usual it was a shock to get back to a large city again. Traffic, people, donkeys, carts, mopeds, tuk tuks, vans, lorries everywhere.
We swung into a large parking area behind the Marjane supermarket on the outskirts of Agadir just relieved to have got there. We’d already decided we weren’t going to stop in Agadir as the only campsite there gets the worst reviews we’ve seen so far. Out of thirty five reviews on the Park4night App only three were above two stars. So, we gave it a miss preferring to head further south to a campsite at Sidi Ouassay right behind a beach and close to the Souss Massa National Park.
We did get waylaid by a bustling market just across the road from where we’d parked. We’ve been to quite a few markets now and all are fascinating in their own way. Part of this market was a bit like a giant carboot sale except it looked like most of the sellers were camped there permanently and didn’t have any transport save for the odd donkey parked up. There must have been over a hundred sellers spread out across an area the size of a football pitch or two. Nearly everything that was for sale was laid out on tarpaulins on the ground. Everything was second, or third, or fourth or tenth hand and piled in no particular order. Backs of old television sets, old fridges and electrical items, broken tablets, phones, nuts and bolts, broken taps, odd wheels, loos, more TV remote controls than you can shake a stick at, piles of clothing, shoes in pairs and some alone, trinkets………..in short just a mass of stuff. Things we see no value in have value here. Next to the giant car boot sale there were several very narrow alleyways lined with a ramshackle assortment of shops made out of corrugated iron and recycled materials selling timber, mattresses, furniture, metal, tools, bikes, old mopeds and household goods, all of them in tall, dark, narrow, cramped spaces. We didn’t see the seafront in Agadir with its hotels, modern buildings and open spaces but it’s hard to imagine an area so different yet so close to the market we were wandering around. It gives you much to think about.
After the hustle and bustle of Agadir and a seemingly unending ribbon of buildings lining the RN1 heading south the small coastal village of Sidi Ouassay was like a ghost town.
I’m not sure if it is a holiday destination during the summer but it’s really the first place we have been to that didn’t seem to be lived in or alive with people.
Just a couple of small shops and plenty of unfinished apartments.
Maybe the money ran out. The campsite, though, was right behind the beach and had a really good sized swimming pool so we stayed four nights for a regroup and a bit of down time.
The Souss Massa National Park is nearby and we were very fortunate to see seventy or so Bald Ibis whilst taking a walk along the beach to Sidi Rabat.
The Bald Ibis is a threatened species and Morocco is apparently home to half the world’s population.
Moving further south again we headed inland for an overnight stop at Tiznit. The municipal camp site just outside the towns walls seems to be full from November to the end of February predominantly with French camping caristes but when we arrived there were plenty of spaces available.
Quite a few of the French motorhomes appeared to be spending the winter at the site but although the town is nice enough an overnight stop was enough for us before heading back to the coast to walk along the beach at Legzira to have a look at its infamous rock arch.
I have to be honest we weren’t feeling the love for the coast as much as where we had been inland. After having driven through such vast, arid, rocky landscapes for over a month the coast left us feeling a bit flat. Admittedly if I’d been at work for several weeks or months and was then just transplanted to the southern Morocco coast I’d have definitely been pretty happy to be there. As it was it was just OK! After an overnight stop in the previously Spanish enclave of Sidi Ifni it was time to head inland again.
Within a few miles of leaving the coast the landscape became much more interesting. We were back to rolling hills, open landscapes and the wind had also whipped itself up. The shiny new surfaced road towards Geulmine gave way to roadworks and some sections of piste which made for an interesting drive.
We stopped north of Geulmine at Camping La Vallée which is reached after a two kilometre drive of piste.
It’s set in a valley ( suppose the name gives that away), very quiet, has a bar serving alcohol and we were very happy to be there! When I say a bar serving alcohol it is really just a room where the French owner seems to chat to the French camping caristes over a Pastis or two. We felt like we’d just gate crashed a private party when we went into the bar at about eight in the evening. The several French camping caristes sitting together deep in discussion fell silent as soon as we walked in. Awkward. After we gave a wave, a bonjour and a comment ςa va which they returned they resumed their conversation. They don’t see many Anglais around these ‘ere parts it seems. Fifteen minutes later they all left followed shortly after by the owner. Having not seen a bar or in fact any alcohol in a public place for six weeks we were left ALONE in the bar surrounded by a different assortment of spirits. It was tempting but we drained our complementary glass of red wine and decamped back to the van.
Guelmine used to be an important trading post on the caravan route from the eleventh to the nineteenth centuries.
Now it’s known for the camel souk held every Saturday. We’d wanted to visit the souk but as we hadn’t spent as much time on the coast as originally planned we didn’t want to hang around in Guelmine for several days.
After a visit to the Marjane supermarket on the outskirts of Guelmine and an overnight stop at the infamous family run Camping Tinnougba where a very warm welcome is assured we headed back to Tiznit for another night.
Onwards then to Tafraoute, a small town set in the heart of the valley of the Anti Atlas.