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Thinking about a trip including a stint in Morocco.

Is it easy enough to get in? Do you need any paperwork.

Good places to go? Will I get my bike nicked?

Cheers
 

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I went to Morocco last April on my TransAlp. Portsmouth to Spain then down to Tariffa.
Morocco and back in two weeks April 09. I really enjoyed the trip and hope to back again this May.

I wasn't mugged,robbed,poisoned but did get lost, fell off my bike and got rid of a tout by claiming my EEC Health insurance card was a Police Warrent card.....lucky he couldn't read.

Below is an extract from a magazine article I was working on.

Good luck.




My Honda TransAlp and Camel trade….going wrong

22nd April 2009

I scrambled along the coast to make sure I am on time for the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander.
The ferry was much larger than I thought it ought to be. It looked more like a cruise liner. All the
bikes were loaded deep into the bowls of the ship which meant that we were the last group of
passengers to get off. I met a group of internet bikers on the boat who were going off round
northern Spain and touring the Pyrenees. We sat down to talk. I think that some of the group were
under the impression they might never see alcohol again and while on the ship Spain had taken the
pledge and become a dry country. They proceeded in helpless quest to drink the ship dry…they
failed. It wasn’t the normal spirits that brought a halt to their quest but ouzo. A disgusting Greek
drink which smells like aniseed balls and after three miniature bottles induces sea sickness on a calm
sea.

There I was in proud possession of the oldest bike on the ship. I had bought the Honda Transalp last
year having recently passed my bike test. I had decided after years of riding mopeds and small 125 cc
bikes that having to repeat the CBT test every two years and at cost of £80 that I would “bite the
bullet” and take the soding test.

I have a natural aversion to most tests. I took the test four times. I failed first time for not checking
over my shoulder when approaching a round-a-about…..and forgetting to turn off the blinking
indicator. I failed next time as CBT had expired by two days; I failed again for failing to display a
correctly aligned L plate. In fact for failures 2 and 3 I didn’t even ride the bike during the test. I had to
ride 40 miles in gale force winds and fog just to get to the centre……surely they could have passed
me on this basis. On the fourth test I finally passed. At the age of 52, my first exam since leaving
school, apart from those at the doctors which I did not want to pass.





Honda TransAlp 1993 £800 bike off ebay

(50,000 miles on the clock and still going strong).


I studied the pictures on eBay and set a distance of 25 miles for the purchase of a larger machine.
This was my criteria for buying a bike. There was a Honda TransAlp at Exmouth. I liked the name as I
go skiing and it had a faint Alpine feel. I bought it for £700 and carefully set off home making sure


Portsmouth

This is serious stuff. I had grandly announced to all and sundry my interntions to set off for Morocco.
Short of going into hiding for two weeks I had blackmailed myself into the position of no return. I
had bought two maps of Morocco and Spain. I had been to Morocco thirty years ago and thought
then a bit of a **** hole. Growing older I just thought it might have changed.

We docked at Santander at lunchtime. The ship was slowly cleared of all cars and passengers and all
the bikers were held back like naughty children. At last we were allowed to leave. I shot off seeing
the one sign that said Motorway….or words to that effect. One hour later after a delightful tour of
parts of Santander, its Suburbs and public amenities. I was lost. I had made the mistake of following
another British bike that seemed to know where he was going. After 40 minutes of carefully
following him I pulled level at the red light and after a brief conversation discovered that he had
about as much clue of the route out as blind man looking for the light switch!



Spain

The Honda Transalp was going well….. to well and seemed to drink petrol in huge quantities which
would have been ok for I assumed that there would be adequate petrol stations on the main road as
I drove down through Spain. There are signs saying that there is petrol but mostly I had to drive off
the main road to find the station and then try to find my way back to the motorway which sometime
entailed a pleasant excursion, through empty Spanish villages with just the occasional lost cow and
chicken for company. The drive down Spain took two days. The TransAlp had a comfortable cruising
speed of 70mph but any faster and I had a bad hair day. I had also bought myself a cheap Ipod to
break the mononotony of the journey, because the roar of the wind and my booming exhaust
(lacking a baffler). It would have entailed me hiring Led Zeppelin’s amplification system and towing it
behind on a trailer.

Tafiffa is a laid back surfing town with a high speed connection to Tangiers. I bought my ticket from
the office and in my haste to pay I had punched in wrong pass code for the credit card, which was
now locked and barred. I paid cash. Then a short dash across the straits and arrived in Tangier. The
crossing had taken a mere 40 minutes of which twenty was occupied by queuing to get my passport
stamped by a Moroccan official on the ferry. The next two hundred yards to officially enter Morocco
would take two hours and relieve me of about £110.

I had no sooner left the ferry than I was approached by a man resembling “Del Boy” wearing an
official sort of badge asking me for my passport and bike details, which I duly handed over. I just
assumed he was a poorly dressed customs official and in my naivety I did as he requested and pulled
out of the queue to wait and wait and wait. At last he came back beckoned me to rejoin the queue
and it slowly dawned on me this was one of the many fixers, touts, agents…..*ankers who hang
round Tangiers offering their services.

My new employee once more disappeared with all my paperwork, while I waited in line next to the
customs office. In front of this long queue and technically now in Morocco were twenty members of
the Rumanian BMW touring motorbike club which had arrived on an earlier ferry and had already
cleared customs. An official waved me forward to join the group. I did as was told and pushed my
bike over to join my new fellow bikers. The official thought I was a member of this party. How he
could confuse by battered TransAlp with all the shiny new BMW’s I do not know. I did not speak
Rumanian but after a brief helmeted nod they seemed to accept me but………..I was now in Morocco

with no paper work, no insurance and no entry visa. Suddenly my new employee ran up to me and
wanted to know what I was doing. I was not sure. In fact I didn’t have a clue….but the tubby man
from Custom’s did…he was now ranting at me for by- passing the system. I meekly pushed my bike
backwards to rejoin the queue and my new employee set about getting the necessary stamps,
signatures and paperwork for my official entry into the Kingdom of Morocco.

I was in, at last accepted officially into Morocco. I did not want to stay in Tangiers and had decided
on driving to the small coastal town of Mousslam Boussan. I proceeded to do my normal departure
of a large town by losing the main road. There is always one sign outside any ferry terminal which
states the town or destination I am after. I follow the sign and after a mile of feeling the sun rotate
from my back to my front and to my back again, realise I am once again lost, but eventually find the
road to Casablanca. There is a toll road but I decide to take the old coastal road which runs to the
side of the Atlantic with sand dunes and forest. I am in Morocco and in five hours of arriving I have
not been robbed, mugged, assaulted or sodomised by marauding Arad traders…….I am disappointed
this is not the country I was warned about. The rambling goat track I had been told to expect is now
tarmac flat even and in a better state of repair than my own country roads in Dorset.

I arrive in Moussalen Bassalan. It is a village situated on high ground overlooking a large coastal inlet
and is said to be famous for its nature reserve. The oracle (Lonely Planet Guide to Morocco) gives
three places to stay. I choose a coastal house to the back of the town because I saw its sign first. I
think the author of the guide has rose tinted glasses. The town or village is ugly, dirty with rubbish
and crap all over the place. The beach has broken glass on it and the whole place looks sad and
neglected. As I ride my bike into town I feel like the sheriff arriving into the outlaws den all eyes stop
and stare. I think this is due to the awful racket my exhaust is making but I am wearing ear plugs and
luckily cannot hear it! Two restaurant owners sensing a business deal run up to invite me to eat or
buy their restaurant. I cannot hear a word they are saying in fact they are probably telling me to turn
the engine off to stop their ears bleeding!

I drive on following the signs for the boarding house. The Riat or chalet bungalow (in English) is
perched on top of a massive sand dune overlooking the ocean. A beautiful position. A Moroccan
man wearing a grubby nightgown greets me at the door. He speaks English with public school
poshness and a face that seems to have seen too many dawns and eyes the colour of an oil refinery
sunset. He is very pleasant and I have a room over- looking the stormy, wind- blown, grey ocean and
first night in Morocco.




I travelled down to the sand dunes, and even in April there was snow on the mountains.The trip was good fun.


 

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A good read:thumbright: Got any pics you can post?
 

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If you to have any probs in Morocco i bet it will be at customs just make sure you have all origanal documents and photo copies (A guy i knew did a trip from London and was turned away at the Morocco border due to not having his origanal V5 document how gutting is that)..One other thing is due to the high level of Bikers going there now its not unheard of for riders to be charged for lots of things that are not needed so be savvy and dont just had over cash without knowing what its for!!!! :thumbup:

Morocco is also a safe country its becoming more and more European every year. Theres only a few places to be a bit careful and most storys of bandits Etc are more often than not just hyped up....I now live in a country that is listed as iffy with kidnapping' murders the normal stuff and i feel far safer here than i ever did in London

As for getting the bike stolen would you leave your bike in a any city bike bay without a lock??????? NO so take a disc lock and cable lock (Chain is to heavy for touring) and lock the thing up. Most hotels will offer safe parking or do as i do take a MSR stove and a tent and sleep under the stars!!!!!
 

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Ditto all the above. I was there last year and didn't get robbed, have my bike stolen or ripped off in any way. Only pain was the constant pestering of people trying to sell me things. I'm going back this year. Try a copy of Chris Scott's Morocco Overland. Thoroughly recommended source of info for all things Moroccan. All the info you could ever want on travelling in that part of the world including maps, suggested routes, ferries, documentation, what to do at the boarder etc. etc.
See also Morocco Overland ~ the website for the book

(I have no connection with the author, book or website)
 
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