cover photo: 16:9Clue CC 2.0 Flickr
Phillip Hummel of Kudu Overland explains that it is the company’s aim is to have guests join its overland expeditions in their own 4×4 vehicles. It’s expeditions include the use of tracks and trails that stretch through spectacular scenery and landscapes of Europe and Morocco. In this feature we join Kudu on one of its recent Moroccan tours.
Disembarking from the ferry the anticipation of the adventure ahead begins to grow as we work our way out of Santander towards Salamanca for our first transit camp.
The group had awoken early In the morning in order to prepare to leave Salamanca and head towards Algeciras. Having purchased the required tickets at the port, the group board the late afternoon ferry to Tangier Med. All of the necessary vehicle paperwork is done on board the ferry and then on disembarking we drive through the border and head for a nearby camp in Tangier to enjoy our first night in Morocco.
Day 1 – We leave the camp in Tangier and head for the motorway, once on the motorway we head down the coast towards Rabat then on towards Fes then on to Guercif. This motorway is a tolled costs about £15 per vehicle. We all fill up with fuel at Guercif and then head for camp Ben Yakoub for the night. This camp is at the gateway to the Plateau Rekkam.
Day 2 – In the morning we depart Camp Ben Yakoub and find a small shop where we stock up on some provisions. Then we head for the tracks, they are very rough, stony and hard going and we spend most of the day in first and second gear. We head along the Plateau Rekkam, slowly, towards a small lake where we will wild camp for the evening, and use the provisions we stocked up on this morning for our evening meal.
Day 3 – We leave our wild camp in the morning and continue along the Plateau Rekkam, slowly. The tracks become better, as we start to enter an agricultural area, then onto rural roads before a short stint on the tar, and then we head off road again. The road is reasonably good at first but rapidly deteriorates as we cross many small rivers and gullies which we encounter all the way towards Boudnib. At Boudnib we settle into our camp for the night at Camping Rekkam.
Day 4 – We leave camp and head to a filling station to refuel. There is also a small shop nearby where we again restock our provisions. Once we are all fuelled and provisioned up, we head out of town ,soon we find ourselves crossing a very stony river bed and then on into the empty Quarter. The tracks here are reasonably fast and on flat ground with far reaching vistas. We l stop at a picturesque gorge for lunch which has views out over Algeria, before continuing on and dropping down into a Valley along the Algerian border. We pass many army watchtowers as we traverse this track. This part is very bumpy and dusty and we have to cross many river beds before stopping again for lunch in a shady palm grove, which contains a small stream running through it. After lunch the tracks start to become noticeably more sandy, as we head towards Egg Chebbi, Merzouga where we will find our campsite for this evening. We spend two nights at this campsite. And some of the group take the opportunity to go on a camel ride while here.
Day 5 – The second day at Merzouga. Today is a rest day and for those that require mechanical work done there is a local garage that Phillip has used on previous trips and recommends to the group. While here Philip also takes a morning trip out to the nearby dunes to give those drivers that would like to try some dune driving an opportunity to get used to driving in these conditions. By mid morning this group returns back to the camp for a rest.
In the afternoon we take an optional guided trip into the dunes to watch the sunset. This is an exhilarating drive where we try to get as high up the big dunes as possible, and linger there to enjoy the reward of a beautiful sunset. There is also an option for those who prefer not to drive here to take a camel ride up the dunes to see the sunset.
Day 6 – We leave behind Merzouga after filling up with fuel and head now towards Zagora. The tracks we encounter in the morning are a mixture sand, stone and riverbeds. We head towards a large wadi / river bed which we will need to cross,Philip says that this can sometimes be problematic depending on the current water levels. We found it to be ok but the area was instead very dry and dusty. We stop in Lac raider for lunch before crossing a large dried out lake which was also very dry and dusty, though Philip explained that if we had found it to be wet it would have meant a long detour. Then we are back again onto rough tracks eventually leading to tarmac which takes us to our camp for the night in Zagora.
Day 7 – We leave camp and head into Zagora town where there is a wonderful spice shop and also a fabulous trinket shop all nearby. For those requiring mechanical work there is one of the best garages in Zagora located a little further down the same street.
After fuelling up again, we head out of town on the tarmac towards Mhamid where we stop for coffee before hitting the tracks again in earnest. The tracks lead us towards Chigaga sand dunes, Phillip guides us to a secret oasis where we will have lunch.
After lunch the road becomes very rough for a while before we get to Lake Iriki. The lake is dry, and our crossing is extremely dusty, apparently if it had been wet it would be almost impassable. Once we are across the lake the tracks revert back to rough stone tracks which lead us past a military post before we enter the town of Forum Zugid where we camp for the night.
Day 8 – We leave camp and head for a filling station and some small shops to stock up again on provisions. Out on the road, we stay on tarmac road to Tata. When we leave Tata we are onto rough tracks leading into some riverbed driving. These riverbeds can be a mixture of both sand and stone, and can often be quite boulder strewn. The going is quite slow as we pass through small and remote villages, passing some amazing landscapes and ever changing rock formations. We lunch under a desert thorn before continuing again along the tracks towards Taliouine where we camp for the night.
Day 9 – Today is our final day of off-roading, we are now into the mountains driving along some differing types of tracks, some slow and rough and some a bit quicker. We end this day in Marrakech where we camp for two nights. This campsite is in the grounds of a hotel so for those who might at this stage want a little luxury, the choice is theirs where to stay.
Day – 10 Marrakech Some of us chose to explore the amazing colourful Souks of Marrakech and do some shopping, others decide to laze about at the hotel pool.
Day – 11 Today is an early start, we get back onto the motorway and head up country to catch the afternoon ferry back to Spain and then on to Tarifa where we camp for the night.
Day – 12 We leave Tarifa and head up through Spain towards Salamanca to our final transit campsite.
Day – 13 we leave Salamanca and drive up to Santander and catch the ferry back to Portsmouth. An amazing adventure in an exotic place behind us. We relax and unwind and reflect upon the experience.
You can contact Kudu Overland via its website or by phone or email
T. 01278 424153
M: 07456 668530