From plastic fantastic Hell to Heaven in Camping La Dune

Our next stop is Sidi Ifni, a favourite seaside town for surfers. The weather is cold and grey though, and after the windswept isolation of Plage Blanche, we can’t really find any joy in this town, especially as it starts to rain again, so we move on. We miss a couple of parking spots on the cliffs and end up pulling up at a campsite instead. It doesn’t quite look like our thing, but it’s getting dark and we are tired. We get a perfunctory, if not to say slightly frosty, reception from the son of the owner. I look down the campsite to see if there is space for us in between the row upon row of ‘plastic fantastics’, as we call them – campervans kitted out with all mod-cons, looking all shiny, and mostly inhabited by retired French people who don’t even deign to say hello to you. When we want to explore the end of the campsite before committing ourselves for the night, we are told to leave the camper at the top and walk. I go down while Frank waits in the van. There is actually space there, so I call Frank to come on down. As he drives Emma down, owner’s son follows on bicycle, obviously not trusting us to register and pay? Not a good start to our stay here…

 

The next morning, we discover a number of things:

a) The coast line looks suspiciously familiar – just like home in Devon or Wales, really, including a driving rain and a sharp, cold wind.

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b) We really don’t fit in here. Everyone is up cleaning their vehicles!

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c) Even in daylight, the French don’t say hello.

We get out of here asap.

If you are wondering which campsite to avoid, here’s a link. Unless you are French with a very fancy campervan, that is!

 

Next, we are heading for a national park just South of Agadir. Along a straight and fairly busy stretch of road, we pick up a Berber woman with a couple of large bags. She is the first female to accept a lift with us. We tuck her bags in the back and she climbs into the cabin. We have no common language between us, so it’s down to my rudimentary knowledge of Berber, but we introduce ourselves to each other and find out the basic family details of how many children and where they are etc. Again and again, she apologises for not being more clever, for not speaking any other languages, for not being able to write… walou, walou, she keeps repeating – nothing, nothing, while knocking herself on the head. However, I don’t get the feeling of a stupid woman at all, on the contrary, she seems quite clever in a feisty sort of way. We joke together despite the minimal amount of shared language. She shows us where to turn off to get to her village and as it’s not a big detour, we decide to deliver her home. When we drop her, she waves me into a shop and asks me to choose some sweets or biscuits, at pains to make clear to me that this is in payment for the lift but I decline. She doesn’t owe us anything, it was a pleasure to have her company for half an hour!

Somewhere along the line, we stop to hunt for Ammlou. We’ve seen a sign for a women’s cooperative, so we are hopeful. However, it turns out not only don’t they have Ammlou, but what is supposed to be a women’s cooperative is sharply guarded over by a very unsympathetic guy who manages to create an oppressive atmosphere around him. He invites us to look at the women working but I decline. I have no interest to increase the women’s discomfort. Somehow his presence makes it be like looking at some zoo animals! We have heard about these ‘cooperatives’, ostensibly run by women but in reality reigned over by some guy. We get out of there as fast as we can.

We wend our way through one or two more little villages before we arrive at La Dune, the campsite of Sidi Rabat. In stark contrast to last night’s camping, this is a small and very familiar, relaxed camp site. Every single vehicle is unique like our Emma, mainly inhabited by families.

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We settle Emma in between two lovely families, both of whom are seasoned travellers who educate their children on the move, and for the next few days, we feel quite at home in this little community of travelling families and very friendly locals.

We instantly get swept into the camp site’s kitchen for a Berber tea and shown how to make a Moroccan-style cake and Tajine. There’s no rush to see our passports or get payment.

Sid Rabat has a very interesting coast line, with caves in a cliff and  a long sandy beach. this is how it looks from above

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However, when you get down to the beach, you find a whole different scenario:

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For photos of this chapter, including some random goat pictures, click here


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