Welcome to Africa
Once we’d crossed on the ferry from Spain we headed straight to Asilah as we didn’t want to hang around the port areas. Warm weather and bright colours welcomed us into Morocco.
Asilah is a beautiful town full of rich history and bright murals down every quaint cobbled white and blue- washed street.
The place we stayed was run by a lovely local guy who had just set his business up- Camping Assada . A good cheap place to camp up. All through our first night and into the morning machine gun like sounds went off, not making it for the best start but definitely reminding us we are out of Europe. That morning, a local guy cycled around and tells us that it was “film americano” in case people were wondering. We went to view the film set by the port and look at the fireworks (not guns) and fancy camera rigs. So far we had only met lovely and honest people (same as most places). It was nice to be able to speak French again and made it easy for me to communicate here for the next two months.
Romans and Phoenicians- history
Mzora stone circle in northern Morocco is not popular. We drove along dusty tracks to find ourselves in a “village” with the only people in sight a small group waiting for a bus that seemed like it would never arrive by a rusty sign and a man in a shack.
The man seemed surprised but pleased to find us there and excitedly went to get a large key to unlock the gates of the fenced off stone circle in the middle of dotted houses.
We are keen on finding hidden treasures such as these, stone circles becoming a theme after our tour of Scotland (2013) and northern France (2012), and this was definitely one of the better ones- it should be well known but it seems advertising is non existent.
A lady came running up to us and offered me and my brother an orange each and proceeded to drag us into her berber house (made of rocks, scrap metal and clay bricks).
Blue walls, scrawny kittens (bottom left) and lots of carpets welcomed us;
the main attraction being the small baby which turned out why she brought us here- to look at her baby (and ultimately want money for it but she was nice anyway).
Getting into the pace of it we travelled further south near Lamarche to find the ancient city of Lixus, another ancient site hardly heard of.
Lixus, built by the Phoenicians (the first invaders of Morocco) but later inhabitied by the Romans and Berber, made for a great visit (see the van parked up below).
A young man gave us a solo tour (cheap too) of the entire site, his extensive knowledge making it all the more interesting. Because several civilisations have passed and lived here, the architecture was fascinating and fantastical, more so with the positioning atop a hill.
No tourists were there that day and I don’t think many came. The guide said they were getting ready for more tourists as you could see by the building of ticket offices etc and he was hoping to be the manager as their family were the ones who originally found the site (starting by finding a small sphinx- now in Rabat museum).
To break up our drive down the west coast we stayed in Kenitra for the night (outside Rabat) at a run down campsite, we were advised by locals not to wild camp in this area due to break ins.
The motorhome was brown from dusty roads, we soon came to realise this was going to be the look of the van for the rest of our stay in Morocco.
Although we had a bad experience, it was better than another campsite we tried which was shut but opened for us and then tried to charge us £48 even though no one was there.
Oualidia- Christmas in Morocco.
We needed a break.
A 7 night stay over Christmas (and Jedidiahs birthday) in Oualidia made for a stunning one- peaceful, an ocean and the best sunsets yet- my perfect Christmas (or perfect any day).
The campsite Laguna Park overlooked green fields; it would have reminded me of home (UK) if it wasn’t for the crashing ocean in the background.
A cold pool would be perfect for summer and the trampoline made it kid friendly too.
The people running it were extremely kind and friendly and made it a great stay. In the nearest town we could pay 1dirham (8p) per (large pieces) bread and buy loads of other food for cheap prices which was a plus and was our first introduction to great Moroccan prices. Morocco was also the cheapest place for petrol, accommodation and food on the entire trip.
Christmas in a van may sound strange or crowded to most. Don’t get me wrong- it does get crowded and we do get on each others nerves, but what family doesn’t right?
It’s the good things that count and I can tell you there’s a lot of good times. Our 2018 Christmas was spent in our van that has taken us all around Europe and will take us to more places.
It was also spent by the wild beaches of Oualidia.
We met some interesting people here, including a ‘friendly fisherman’ who tried to drag us into his shack and charge us more than an English meal for 3 cups of coffee, one thing none of us missed but amusing all the same.
The wildness, the peace and the beauty is all we need.