Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

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Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby kingonthrone » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:16 pm

Hey all!

So me and a couple of friends are taking a van from the UK through France/Spain/Portugal and maybe Morocco for 3 months, leaving mid to late April. Plan is to head as far south first to take advantage of the warmer climate and gradually work our way back up the length of coastline toward the UK from there.

With none of us having ever been to Morocco, we are trying to figure out some of the logistics required in crossing the water from Europe in to Africa... It would be great to have some input from anyone with experience of driving this route and any tips with regards to the crossing/costs/staying (i.e. van - side of the road job) / and recommendations as to where to head first when out the other side in to Morocco. Also stuff such as anything we should watch out for, i.e. dodgy locals, rough areas and the like! Some reading I have done makes Morocco sound sketchy, while at the same time other stuff makes it seem fine? Any light shed would be very handy!

Further to this, more generally, anyone who wishes to chip in with any interesting places and surf spots not to be missed along the way in Europe, please feel free to do so! It will be gratefully received by three wide-eyed surfers. I guess we kind of have a feel for the main touristy spots, but anything slightly lower key and off the beaten trail would be brilliant!

Cheers, Alex
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Re: Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby redboard » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:09 am

Hi Alex, drove down to the Gambia in 2007 (in the £100 car rally). We crossed from Tarifa, Spain (good waves all around there), high speed ferry only takes a couple of hours. Bought ticket day before as ferry leaves early. No hassle in Tangiers (even though we were told it can take hours to get through Customs), you will be 'befriended' by a local would will assist you with the immigration process in exchange for a few Euros (they are not working for the Customs even though they have official looking ID, but greatly speed up the process). As you leave the Port there are a row of shops selling car insurance (I doubt yours will cover you for Morocco) and dirham (local currency - you can't buy it outside Morocco). Alternatively ATMs as you drive through Tangiers. I'm sure it's the same for other Ports. Excellent 'Peage' motorway from Tangier to Casablanca, we spent our first night just north of Casablanca in a smart hotel on the beach that cost nothing. I would suggest initially stay on campsites (buy a Rough Guide), in theory you can park up anywhere but be prepared to be hassled by kids and keep an eye on your gear. I presume you'll end up in Taghazout, again you'll need to stay in the campsite as there you can no longer just park up anywhere. Try and head south of Agadir for a real taste of Morocco, heaps of empty waves and a lot less hassle. Morocco's cheap as chips, just keep an eye on your van and gear (we took it in turns to surf), especially around Taghazout. Morocco is well worth the effort, and no real hassle as long as you are streetwise. Our blog is still here: http://www.thesilversurfers.co.uk
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Re: Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby redboard » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:18 am

Forgot to say, I've never had anything stolen in Morocco but always something in Portugal! Our car was cleaned out in Lisbon (on our honeymoon). Mate had his camper completely stripped in Lagos last year when parked in quiet side street! Brother-in-law had board and wetsuit stolen from hire car at Sagres after only being in Portugal for an hour - and was then told where he could buy them back!
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Re: Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby kingonthrone » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:33 am

Cheers Redboard, there are some gems of advice there - I will research the Tarifa crossing now! + I hadn't even thought as far as trying to organise insurance for driving in Morocco!! Gambia; that is one hell of a road trip.

I knew Portugal wasn't great for car security, but your experiences definitely confirms this fact! I've had friends whose hire cars have been broken into etc out there - not cool! I think we will try and keep the van as stealth and secured as possible. i.e. exterior lock on the back doors and a van vault for all valuables inside. Although if someone really wants in, they are going to get in no matter what - lets be honest.

I am even more keen for adventuring into Morocco now. Probably will check out Taghazhout, kind of has to be done (a bit like Newquay!?!), but I prefer the sounds of further south, such as the likes of Agadir etc.

Thanks again!
Alex
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Re: Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby redboard » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:57 am

If you do get south of Agadir head for Sidi Ifni, Tan Tan Plage and if you really want to see surf empty waves, Dakhla. Good luck!
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Re: Driving to Portugal/Morocco mid-April - Advice wanted!

Postby Leedsol » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:28 pm

redboard wrote:Forgot to say, I've never had anything stolen in Morocco but always something in Portugal! Our car was cleaned out in Lisbon (on our honeymoon). Mate had his camper completely stripped in Lagos last year when parked in quiet side street! Brother-in-law had board and wetsuit stolen from hire car at Sagres after only being in Portugal for an hour - and was then told where he could buy them back!


Interesting that. I've always been lucky in Portugal and parked in central Lisbon at night in a hire car. Tend to park where there's a flow of surfers tho' in the algarve and have had no problem tho' Sagres does have a bit of a wild west feel to it and I've never spent much time there to be honest. I just don't like it there put simply.

We got our surf hostel van broke into at Panorama's when surfing Killers and all electrical goods taken. I was lucky and had stashed my phone in the seat back but everyone else lost their's. That was quite a busy lookout too so the advice to take turns surfing seems sound.

Good quiet spots south of Agadir tho'. Taghazout was so busy when I last went
You're too deep Camel..its Indo not Margaret River
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