Tuesday, 26 February 2013

And finally.......

Back to Europe..... (Ferry Friday 1st March)


We've had a week or so at Moulay Bousellhem, getting thoroughly confused about which gulls and terns we could see.

The guidebook says that this campsite is the best place in Morocco to see African Marsh Owls who hunt in pairs over the site at dusk.....not when the Cromptons are here they don't! We've had several attempts to see them but no luck.



Looking down on the campsite from the town
Our Motorhome is parked in front of the bright
red building at the edge of the lagoon

It is a lovely spot but we've had several days of rain and very high winds and there is not a beach to walk the dogs within a comfortable distance (though we did walk them there one day) so they mostly had to make do with running around the campsite chasing tennis balls....maybe they frightened the owls away!
Yesterday, (Monday 25th February) we decided we would take a boat trip on the lagoon with a guide, the wind had died down and the sun returned so I walked up to the cafe where the rough guide says the best guide can be found and arranged the trip and agreed a price. He came to pick us up at 2.30 and we got back at 6pm having seen 30 different species and had a walk to find owls but to no avail, however he has given us the lowdown on where else we might try to find them tomorrow at dusk so we'll try again! I won't list the 30 species here but if anyone wants to know, by all means e-mail me to ask. Suffice it to say some of those we saw were, flamingos, osprey, thousands of avocets and a marsh harrier. Hassan was a very nice guy and extremely knowledgeable. A splendid afternoon.




A long way off but undoubtedly flamingos!

We are already talking about and planning coming back next winter, we have spoken to many others who have been out many times, some of whom said the same as us, took a lot of getting used to but once they had, they were hooked.


So what did we like about Morocco and what will we miss? Not in any particular order.......


  • The weather. Generally speaking we have had sunshine and warm weather for the majority of the time, we are hoping the suntans will not have faded too much by the time we get home.
  • The cost of living. General everyday foodstuffs that can be bought in local shops are cheap. It is much more expensive to shop in the Marjane supermarkets but occasionally, for certain items (e.g.wine and beer which is very expensive here and unobtainable anywhere else) it is essential to have the occasional trek round a supermarket but they are few and far between. Diesel is 8.5 dirhams a litre, that's about 62pence!
  • The bread. Bought fresh every day and available everywhere the Moroccan round loaves are a delight, unsalted, hand made, different textures and max 2 dirhams each (less than 20p)
  • The souks. Despite my initial shock and feeling out of my depth I grew to love shopping for fruit veg and spices on the souks. Again, prices are very low, usually 10 dirhams (about 70p) max for a kilo of whatever you want, you pick up a bowl, (washing up size) and go around the stall mixing whatever you want and then it's weighed all together. Usually the stallholder will throw a couple of extra fruits in, giving you a generous measure.
  • The smells and sounds. There is an all pervading smell in Morocco that I shall miss greatly, it's everywhere, even my hands smell of it, presumably it's in the water, another of those mysteries....it's not unpleasant or rancid, I didn't like it at first but now I will miss it, same as the call to prayer which differs everywhere we go. The one here is very musical and lyrical and thankfully it doesn't go on all night like it has in some places, or if it does I don't hear it. Nigel says he doesn't notice the smell....I've always said he "smells" worse than me...ha ha!
  • The ever changing scenery. From pounding surf on endless beaches on the Atlantic coast, to sand dunes in the desert, the hammada of the stony desert, the oases and palmeries, the High and Anti Atlas mountains, the granite bowl of Tafraoute, the endless argan plantations.......it's been a feast for the senses.
  • Friendly people. Unless we're being harassed to buy something, the majority of the people we have come across have been very friendly and helpful. The children especially always wave as we pass, you'd think they'd tire of it given the thousands of motorhomes here!
  • The sparkling light. Very little air pollution giving clear contrasts for photography and wonderful sunsets


  • The night skies. Again, clear and bright, millions of stars and planets to be seen.
  • The birds. We aren't twitchers by any means but we do like to look for birds that we haven't seen before. Our list of "firsts" this holiday includes: Bulbuls, white crowned wheatear, black wheatear, great grey shrike, sardinian warblers, fan tailed warblers, bald ibis, purple herons, audouins gulls, caspian terns, slender billed gulls, mediterranean gulls, cattle and little egrets. (We've seen egrets before but never in these numbers.)
  • The motorways. Smooth and straight and not busy. Delightful after bouncing around on pot holes for a few weeks!
  • The doughnuts. Nigel says I have to add this! We only found them in two places but they were delicious.
Photograph courtesy of google images

  • The strawberries. Plentiful, sweet and delicious. We've bought kilos of them, never more than 10 dirhams (approx 70p) a kilo.
Mmmmmmm

And some things we won't miss........

  • The rubbish.....our first impressions were only too true, the further south we have gone and in the less densely populated areas it is a little better.  We have not got used to it, never will: it still offends us greatly but you kind of learn to accept that this is Morocco and this is how it is. I did challenge some children I saw dropping litter in one town, they picked it up but probably dropped it again as soon as I was gone! Some campsites are relatively clean and bins are numerous and emptied frequently. And in some larger towns we have seen road sweepers frequently. We gave the guardian at Sidi Kaouki a tip as he was always cleaning and brushing up and seemed to take a pride in keeping the place spick and span.
  • The roads and bad drivers. I've already said plenty about this, many of the roads are in a very poor state and very uncomfortable to travel on. Some of the driving we have witnessed has been horrendous and dangerous.
  • The hard sell. Worse in some areas than others but in many places it is impossible to look at anything, less still pick anything up without being press ganged into buying it.
  • Lack of maintenance everywhere. There is an absence of the concept of maintenance everywhere. Piles of rubble greet you on the approach to every hamlet, buildings half finished and abandoned and resorts that are relatively recently  built, probably in the seventies just a shoddy shambles whereas regular maintenance would have kept them much more presentable.
  • Cold plates. We haven't eaten out a great deal but with just one exception when we ate in a "posh" hotel on Christmas Eve with the family, food (that is sometimes only lukewarm itself) is served on cold plates. Not good!

You may be wondering with this tale of woe why we are even considering coming back....well the fors far outweigh the againsts and you only have to look at some of the photos on our previous pages to appreciate why and there is much more to see and discover.

How could we possibly not want more of this......?


Or this.....??

Or this.........???

Or this...........????

Or this.............?????

3 comments:

Julie said...

What an adventure! Have you fixed your dates for your next visit? x

Jan Gale said...

Cant help commenting as your graphic explanations and Pics of everywhere you go is FAB !! Thanks Maggie and Nigel !! xxx

Margaret L Crompton said...

Thanks for the feedback, Julie.....no not yet!!!!