You may have read about one of our previous adventures in LRO (July 2013). Shortly after that, a chat at the 2013 LRO Peterborough show with the LRO Adventure Club team convinced me that one of my ‘bucket list’ destinations, Morocco, was a realistic option. So, just days after a significant birthday in October 2014, we were on a ferry bound for Santander in northern Spain.
Unusually for a 4x4 tour, our group vehicles were all different: tour leaders Charles and Yvonne were in their Defender 110 TDCi; Maurus had an overland-kitted Defender 110 300Tdi; father and son Hamish and James’s Td6 Range Rover was in pretty much standard specification, with the addition of a roof rack; and last but not least there was my own modified Discovery 2 Td5.
Our tour was a ‘Mountains, Desert and Coast Safari’ and we saw all of the above: truly amazing coastlines and beaches; spectacular scenery and mountain drives over the High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Anti Atlas mountains; and of course the desert, with lots of opportunity to practise sand driving in some dunes.
Deflating tyres to pressures as low as 14psi to aid traction in sand and then re-inflating them when we reached the firmer areas all added to the fun, while kicking up some serious dust on those smooth, flat areas of desert that allowed high-speed driving, certainly presented some great photo opportunities!
Route highlights included Chefchauoen, a lovely old hillside town of blue and white buildings, the cedar forests of the north with their resident apes, and the majestic sight that is Todra Gorge. With all the available roadside parking taken by tourist coaches, our group of Land Rovers had to cross the river to park for our afternoon mint tea at the local kasbah. It just had to be done!
Zagora was where we encountered several other overland groups congregating at what is considered one of the gateways to the desert.
After a night camped among the date palms, a morning shopping trip resulted in some appropriate camel graphics to allow the Disco to fit into its new surroundings.
From here our route was less formally defined, with more sand and rocks becoming the norm leading to the west coast. Camping in the dunes at Chegaga and on the beach at Tan Tan were unforgettable experiences.
From here we turned north for the last few days of the trip. We wallowed in the luxury of a nice hotel and dinner at Taroudant before our last night at the overland campsite Relais de Marrakech. Choosing the room option to aid our early getaway in the morning, we experienced the ‘excitement’ of a taxi ride to the city centre before soaking up the atmosphere of Marrakech at night – a great finale to my first visit to this fantastic country.
Published in the September 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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