Morocco – Essaouira

Cocktails anyone?

Essaouira cocktails

Essaouira cocktails

Not quite the Rat & Parrot at the southern tip of the continent, but perfect cocktails Essaouira style.  Local oranges, Gibraltar duty free Absolut and some sparkling Perrier, with ambience created by the solar powered fairy lights.  It was Friday night after all!

Morocco – Essaouira

Oulidia - perfect beach not so perfect campsite

Oulidia – perfect beach not so perfect campsite

Managed to find the smallest road possible out of Oulidia, complete with cattle, dogs, cyclists, potholes and hundreds of donkey carts.  Village markets were in full swing, meaning that donkey cart taxis were the order of the day, transporting all sorts of wares to and from the various villages we passed through.

We then turned back to the coast, via Safi, where the wonderful green glazed tiles that cover most of the mosque roofs are fired, as well as the centre of the (very smelly) sardine industry.  We passed beautiful Kasbahs in the distance (but didn’t risk the dirt tracks to get close to them) as well as wonderful Atlantic coast vistas.

Reached Essaouira early afternoon; it certainly lives up to its windy reputation.  Set up camp (Leigh spent about an hour hammering in pegs to ensure the tent stays grounded) and then explored town on the bikes – wonderful walled town, with a souk to be explored properly in days to come and lots of kite and windsurfing places along the beach.


Caught the ferry from the sleepy port at Tarifa over to the chaos that is Tangier. It took a while to get through immigration and customs and fight off the fixers who all wanted to take us for a ride! We were relieved to make it out of the port … but the roads were even more chaotic – cars, pedestrians, cyclists, dogs and cattle all veering into the road without warning – we certainly knew we were back in Africa.

We drove a long way down the coastal road, wanting to avoid the chaos of Casablanca.  We headed to the beautiful Oualidia which meant the last 2 hours in the dark, watching like hawks for bikes without lights (the cyclists usually in black top to toe), scooters, pedestrians and animals. Oualidia is beautiful but unfortunately the “campsite” no more than a car park full of motor homes so we won’t be sticking around. After some good coffee and a catch up on the news (free wifi – hurrah!) we’ll head on to Essaouira.


Seeing as we were in the vicinity of “The Rock”, as it’s known, we decided to venture back on to British soil and explore.  It certainly was a step back in time to a world of English bobbies on the beat, red phone boxes, sun burnt Poms and fish and chips.  The cable car was closed, so we didn’t get to the top of the rock, but explored the main town with its narrow streets and beautifully tiled buildings as well as some of the numerous tunnels hewn out of the rock.  No trip to Gibraltar would be complete without the Barbary macaque monkeys, who obliged by coming down from the national park into town.

Then on to Tarifa to book ferry tickets – we set sail for Morocco tomorrow, finally!

Spain – exploring the coast north of Tarifa

After an early morning on the stand up paddle boards, we headed out in the car (to rest our legs!) north to the beautiful hilltop white stonewashed village of Vejer de la Frontera – a labyrinth of twisted narrow streets amidst the white houses and churches, perched on a rocky hilltop.  From there we went on to the coast, exploring the hippy hangout of Los Canos de Meca and stopped for a beer at Cabo de Trafalgar, which marks the site of the 1805 battle of Trafalgar.   From there we wound our way along coast through the nearby Atlantic national park and on to the faded Zahara de los Atunes.