We had a simple plan today, drive south past Sidi Ifni, follow the coast until we reach Plage Blanche, almost into the ‘very disputed territory of Western Sahara’. The road had other ideas. After 1½ hours driving on roads that were ‘partly under construction’, we finally come up against the end of it. It simply turns to dust and goes up the side of a very steep hill. I doubt many 4×4’s would risk it, we certainly wouldn’t. But why didn’t the powers that be let us know an hour ago? all these road workers giving us a cheery wave as we bumble by down a road to nowhere, (“there goes another one Fred, he’ll be back in half an hour…smile ‘n wave”), only to give another cheery wave as we return.
About half an hour back, we take a short-cut away from the coast, towards Guelmim, over hills and through mile after mile of cactus plants, not sure if its a crop (cactus silk?), but there seems too many to be for any other reason. Un-tethered donkeys were also plentiful in this area, as were ground squirrels. We learn later that the squirrels are caught by the local youngsters and sold at the side of the road as the base of a succulent Tagine…nice!
One of the attractions our guide described: “thermally heated pool, a natural spring supplying two pools, one for males, one for
Fatima’s females, mixed bathing in the evening, with an area for camping, attached”. Sounds idyllic, It turned out to be a swimming pool for men only, the ladies pool was closed, the male pool was full of screaming kids enjoying the afternoon, the ‘camping area’ was a very un-interesting gravel car park. We checked it out for what it was and promptly ‘did-a-U-ee’, moved on towards another listed attraction: Fort Bou-Jerif. This time the trusty (but rapidly becoming less so), guide states “romantic camping at an old French Foreign Legion fort in the middle of nowhere, attached to small hotel and extensive campsite, with rows of hot showers”. Heading in the right general direction, another hour down the ever narrowing road and the tarmac again turns to dust, are we ever going to find an attraction down here?
About face, back towards Guelmim, the hour is long, the sun is falling rapidly and we’ve been weaving down narrow rumbling roads for far too long, so it’s time to call it quits and pull into that posh hotel car park we saw back there. Bloody expensive at 180Dh (about £14) for the night (inc. EHU, no shower block) but it’s just one of those days I don’t feel like turning another wheel, we take the hit and bed down after a long day driving on unforgiving roads. If only for the scenery, it’s been worth the drive, but it’s nice to have an ending to the day, not just a hotel car park. We conceded, not every day can go as planned, then opened a litre box of Lidl’s finest vino tinto, …it didn’t last long.
Refreshed an even more determined to find something of interest south of Sidi Ifni, we head for Plage Blanche, (again) see if we can get to it from this angle. An hour down the road, my app, Maps.me suddenly decides we’re in Western Sahara and requires new maps for the region. Held to ransom by a download fix, feed me data or you will never make it out of here alive, we connect and suddenly have officially left Morocco. Another half an hour later and there it is…we’ve bloody found it! ‘Plage Blanche’ – “50km of beautiful, uninhabited beach”. Problem is, the waves tell tale on the wind down here, it’s blowing a hoolie! The beach is more grit than sand, covered in sporadic plants, there’s “No Camping” signs all over the place and an Army out-post garrison on the road in, even travel-noobs like us realise, 1+1+1= get the hell out of here. About face again, but at least we found it.
That’s the last we will see of any sea for a while. Our “planning meeting” lasted 3 minuets, we dedicate ourselves to a 200km drive north-east to Tafraout, with just a quick stop in the Marjane supermarket at Guelmim ,on-route.
Short vid of us messing about on Frankie at ‘The Painted rocks’ Tafraout. Just after the film stops we almost fall off.
Hotel Club n29.00750. w10.13995 Just west of Guelmim.
We seem to overcome the post hacking problem, thanks for your patience.
Have a great week.