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Well, that’s my afternoon ruined, my phone’s just died. I’ve stripped it, replaced several parts from an old dead one, but the thing’s just not going to charge, it’s dead. The I phone 4s, was gifted to me from my very generous sister about 3 years ago, and has been used every day since. BBC radio streaming, maps.me-gps, pod-casts and, as it was ‘sim-unlocked’, we could drop in any sim card and get calls or data. It’s been a useful tool, but now we only have 1 mobile between us, Angie’s i6’s so we’ll have to manage internet connection and navigation with that. It also means that if the worse should happen and we get separated for any reason, we can’t get in touch with each other, that is the more serious side of only having one mobile phone.
It’s not been going all our own way just lately, last week I lost loads of photo’s from Essaouira, Iv’e still no idea how. This week my phone (and it’s photos), deceased too. On top of that, the website has been hi-jacked..twice (thanks to Robina, Chris and Paul for letting me know), I’ve changed a few settings, updated the website software and changed the password, so we’ll see if that does the trick. Ignoring the technological failures and looking on the bright side, the scenery during drive south Morocco is stunning. The ever changing landscape improves every time you come over the brow of a hill or turn a corner and the weather couldn’t be better 18-24 by day, 10-12 at night.
Pushing south along and down the western coast of Morocco, clocking up the miles as the lush green (water-logged) fields of the north , slowly turn to the odd patch of short grass, cactus and spiny brush with no evidence of recent rain. The vast orangeries have petted out, crops too has been replaced with vast areas of rolling, stony, hills covered in short spiky bush. We’ve spent a few nights just north of Agadir, a night in Tiznit and are now we are at Camp Erkounte just north of windy, sea-misty, Sidi Ifni. Perched about 150m up on a cliff, there’s a stony dirt path down to the empty (other than rubbish-strewn, mainly plastic bottles) beach.
Were at Camp Erkounte, as Moroccan campsites go, this must rate as ‘the best we’ve ever stayed in’. Clean, modern shower block with lashings of hot water, toilets with seats! Washing machines (we were too tight to use), it even has pre-erected clothes lines and a uniformed guard at the gate. It would put many sites in Spain, Portugal and even the UK to shame, all for just over a tenner per night…pity there’s no site-wide WiFi, but you can get online in the restaurant, which seems to be constantly full of French diners. There’s a bus stop on the road outside with buses in both directions, to the left Mirleft about 10km, Sidi Ifni is about 20km to the right, but we don’t need a bus, because we live in one and we’ve a secret weapon…a petrol powered, 90cc, 80 mpg, Japanese-red-rocket called Frankie and it’s at times like this were so glad we bring him along.
We think one of the best bits about Sidi Ifni is the daily fruit/veg and fish market, ramped up on a Sunday to include brick-a-brack and second hand items. We zoomed down there a few times to have a mooch around the market area, the experience is a little different to anything you will find back in the UK. All the goodies are laid out either on the back of a van or spread out on tarps on the floor. Most of the stuff’s grown by those selling it, most of it’s been picked just the day before, it’s top quality veg, only a tenth of the cost of Waitrose, and with no artificial fertilizers (donky-doo-doo may play a part but we don’t want to think about that).
The shopping method’s a bit strange too, most stuff is all the same price per kg, so you just grab a bowl and load up what you want, spuds, beans, carrots, colli etc, all get weighed together, strawberries and garlic separate. We filled a whole shopping bag full of veggies for about £4! The added punnet of strawberries, about 40p and they tase like they did when we were kids…like real strawberries! Why don’t food taste like this any more?
Most of the recent sites we’ve stayed on down this Moroccan coast, have been catering for the French long-termers, most sites are full or nearly full with very few leaving and more being squeezed into every available corner and when the site’s full, they stack ’em up outside, one out…one in. That’s not really our idea of a relaxing campsite, but this one’s a little different, maybe it’s because its in the ‘middle of nowhere’, you need either the bus or your own transport to get anywhere interesting. The site owners know this too and organise all kinds of entertainment, Morocco with a hint of Butlins. Friday afternoon ‘Concours de boules’ (Learn to play Boules), Saturday morning – a random 2 hour walk/hike through the surrounding hills, Sunday – Hire a quad bike and blast around the local countryside for a few hours, there were no shortage of takers! This afternoon there’s a training work-shop in Moroccan cookery, making an edible Tagine! Tonight we get to eat the amateurs pre-constructed Tagine’s at a collective nosh-up, a 3 course meal at £8 per head. Most of the activities are free, Quad-bikes extra. I can’t see Bingo on the list, maybe it hasn’t made it over here yet?
It’s often windy down these parts, the high cliffs funnel the Atlantic breeze down natural inlets, constantly carrying visible sheets of sea-spray with it. The sea churns, the wind blows, the sun shines and the surfers love it. We love it too, no real need to worry about dress code, this lot have seen Europeans baring pink skin for decades. Sidi Ifni was a Spanish enclave for centuries and only handed back to the Moroccans back in the late sixties, under intense pressure from the French. It’s art-deco buildings still just about hang on to neglected life, in a vertical stance, some have been tarted up…some not so much. The ‘Plaza de España’ may be a little overgrown, the surrounding buildings, bricked-up mostly, but the market’s still ‘buzzing’, young ‘dudes’ on skate-boards still pulling tricks in the car park give the place a relaxed vibe, it could almost be ‘picked-and-placed’ onto the Andalusian coastline and the locals may not notice for some time. If it was your first visit, you would be pleasantly surprised.
Terre de Ocean, Tagzout, n30.56318 w9.74028. Busy, clean, good showers. Well managed. 120Dh pn.
Camp Erkounte n29.50882 w10.06825. Quiet, clean, great shower block. 120Dh pn.