We decided to push on today and push on we did, driving 267 miles to the Sahara desert where I am currently writing this blog.I am amazed that you can get the internet in the Sahara desert, is that progress or not?
Last night was windy! Because we are in a roof tent we feel the wind, so I woke up in the night feeling like I was in a washing machine being rattled around! I soon dropped back off to sleep though and we got up early as we knew we had a long drive ahead. We bumped into a couple of Spanish lads who we were in the queue with for the trip over to Tanger from Spain.One speaks no English so I tried to explain to him about the wind last night using the power of acting.I blew very loudly a few times whilst shaking my head from side to side, to try and explain the sound of wind and how it blew the roof tent.I am not sure he understood and I think will be giving us a wide berth from now on!
We drove a few miles from the campsite into the Cedar Forest, famous for its Barbary apes.We then took an off road track through the forest which was brilliant, Gav was in his element driving off road.We saw loads of the apes.We were a bit nervous of them at first as some were big but they were more nervous of us. All we had for them was our Carrefour apples so they dined in style, we cut up 4 of them and fed those who appeared from the trees.
My turn to drive and after driving through Midelt, we were in the anti Atlas mountains, driving on windy roads and gorges.Once I got used to it I loved it, it was really picturesque and not much traffic on the roads.We then swapped again and Gav drove us the rest of the way into the Sahara desert region towards Merzouga.With about an hour to go, we got pulled over by the police and Gav was told he was speeding! Apparently he was doing 69 kilomteres per hour in a 60 zone! Our old defender landy got done for speeding, we almost felt quite proud she had it in her!! Gav handed all his documents over to the stern faced policeman and got charged the tourist fine of 300 dirhams (about £25)The other policeman who stopped us couldn`t apologize enough, introduced himself and his colleague by first name, gave us 4 dates to eat and offered us a cigarette!
We arrived at our campsite which is on the edge of the dunes and is spectacular.There are camels a few metres away chilling and we have seen a few people heading out on camels to catch the sunset.It really feels like we are wild camping in the desert as there are dunes and sand all around us.It is now absolutely pitch back so our head torches are out and I have a scarf over my head to keep the pesky insects away. The sky is incredible, inky black with sparkling stars.The dunes are called Erg Chebbi and they reach heights of up to 160 metres.They are a shade f rose gold in the sun, changing to orange when the sun goes down.This is meant to be the best area in Morocco for spotting desert birds including desert sparrows, Egyptian night jars, desert warblers, fulvous babblers and blue cheeked bee eaters! I will take my binoculars out tomorrow to try and spot some of them.
Tomorrow we have hired a guide to take us off road, a mixture of sand and dune driving and on the pistes, all around Erg Chebbi, we can`t wait.We will have to take some air out of our tyres to drive on the sand and have a compressor to do the job.
Time to sign off now as bats are circling my head!