I found I was getting worked up about simple things like ridiculous traffic rules, so, time for a little R&R.
Moulay Bousselhem is a chilled-out little village next to the sea, within striking distance of our Morocco exit, Tanger-Med. Next to a huge estuary full of migrating birds, the chance of seeing flamingos too, a semi-clean camp site for £6 pn, the sun is shining so time to get the chairs out and pop a few tinnies. Having checked the internet, there didn’t seem to be too much for the tourist to do up here in this corner of Morocco, we’d been to Tangiers on the way in, so we just
spent a few days chilling, had a couple of walks into town, I cleaned Charlie-bus, Angie cooked up a load of ‘one-pots’ for the freezer & plans were made to ‘jump back’ over into Spain.
We took an hour and a half boat ride into the estuary on the only morning it rained. Our captain/guide seemed to know the names of all the birds out there, red-shank, green-shank, curlew, ringed plover oyster-catchers and about 2 miles away across the estuary, the ever elusive…Flamingo, well, they could have been flamingo, they were so far away it was difficult to tell. He could have gone out there and stuck painted cardboard cut-outs in the mud for all we knew, I didn’t see them move. I also seemed a bit like we were just funding his birdwatching hobby, but the boat ride was pleasant.
With fishermen delivering small loads of mixed fish onto the beach every half an hour, there was always fresh fish to be had. Entrepreneurial sorts would frequent the camp site with fish and vegetables daily. As would a flock of local sheep, grazing amongst the MoHo’s and nobody seemed to mind being surrounded by 50+ sheep for a couple of hours a day as long as they don’t eat your drying clothes.
The forecast for the week-end was grim, so we decide to make a run for the ferry on the Friday morning. Making sure we filled with water on the way out, we paid our way and hit the motorway. Two hours drive and 107Dh (£8.50) later we hit the port of Tanger-Med, where bored officials casually wave us through the booths and a vehicle X-ray machine, before you know it, we are sitting in the cafe at the rear of the ferry looking at an ever shrinking view of the northern most tip of Africa, fading into the distance.
The trip around Morocco has been fantastic. Many people we met advised us not to go, it’s dangerous. I want to make this point very clear…It’s not.
The people there are some of the nicest, friendliest, happy people we’ve met anywhere. We have felt more relaxed & safe in Morocco than we did in Spain, France & certainly GB. Sure lots want to sell you something, you’re a tourist! Your rich! You will never hide it, we have seen Germans in full length djellaba and head scaves, they stuck out like a sore thumb, but all this does is raise a chuckle from the locals, at least they bought something in Morocco. In general, we think people are honest, there will always be a few that aren’t, but religion kicks in again, dishonesty would bring shame to the family name, also the police don’t look kindly on any crime against tourists, Morocco needs tourists.
We found there’s two distinct sides to Morocco, the old original ‘we don’t see many MoHo’s around here’ towns and the new Morocco, all down the west coast. For us, if we were to plan this trip again, we wouldn’t go to the west coast at all, but spend more time in the interior. We think the best bit of Morocco is the bit that not may see, places like Mezouga, Zegora and Quarzazate and for me as the driver, the whole stretch of road between Zegora and Tiznit was, at times, breathtaking!
We will miss,
- the energetic wave and big beaming smiles from the children & mothers at the road-side.
- the donkeys pulling horrendously over-loaded carts.
- the hundreds of shepherds by the road-side, able to keep their flock off the road seemingly by the skills of psychic power.
- the traffic free endless roads meandering into the desert.
- the sheer determination to survive and “do it with a smile on your face” attitude of the typical Moroccan.
- the pointy-hooded Berber men and the big ladies who go everywhere in their dressing-gowns.
There are things we won’t miss, the poverty gap, the wild dogs and cats: lots in need of medical attention, the rubbish problem: it’s everywhere, the camp site toilets and showers!!… but the negatives are out-weighed by ten to one.
It’s a fantastic country and we feel privileged to have seen as much as we have…worts ‘n all.