The company we are travelling with is called Desert Detours, run by an Englishman, Ray and his wife, Debbie. Rendezvous was at a service area not far from our embarcation point in Algeciras. The ferry to Morocco was at 0800 hours the following morning.
Our convoy of nine camper vans – led by two Desert Detours vehicles – left the service area at 0645. It was still dark and raining heavily as we sped down the motorway to the port but we arrived in good time. Before too long we were checked in and lined up waiting to board the ferry to Ceuta (sounds like scooter without the “c” – i.e. “soo-ter”). The ferry loading was hectic, we were overrun with 60 colourful vehicles from the Netherlands on the Amsterdam to Dakkar rally. By 0830 hours most of our travelling companions had boarded but we were still waiting on the quay. Without warning, the ferry drew up its loading ramp and quickly departed for Morocco, leaving three of our vehicles behind in Spain! Time of the next ferry? 12 noon. So we had to wait on the quay for another four hours before we eventually boarded the next ferry for Morocco – a short voyage of just over an hour.
First task in Morocco was to fill up with fuel at half the price of the UK. “Desert Detours Ray” (“DD Ray” ) waited behind for us so he could escort us through the border crossing, Spain to Morocco. This was quite scary experience, the area was heaving with humanity, people and cars everywhere. It was hard to tell who were officials and who were just there to grab your passport and disappear forever. We parked up our vehicles and then had to walk the hundred metres to the border control area with our passports and vehicle documents. We joined one queue to get our passports cleared at one booth, then we had to queue at another booth to get vehicle clearance. We then were able to return to our vehicles and drive through the swirling masses of people and baggage before presenting our accrued documents to the officials who would check our paperwork before allowing us to travel on into Morocco.
Our destination was an hour’s drive away. The campsite was OK but, when I asked another camper how the toilets rated on a scale of one to ten – she gave them a score of two. When I went to look, I felt she was being over-generous; and this was one of the better camp sites. DD Ray said we were very likely to get a tummy bug however careful we were. How slimming is that! There was a knock on the door the following morning and there was a man delivering our morning freshly baked bread.