Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The desert coast

Breakfast at Hotel Mauritanie, Tiznit

Roast chicken tonight perhaps?!
Leaving Tiznit southbound

Views back towards Tiznit
Incredible changing scenery
The Guelmime side of the hill, the vegetation changes again
Entrance to Guelmim
Another coffee break
Tan Tan
The desert coast south of Tan Tan
Fond memories of this small town, with incredible fish restaurants, we thoroughly enjoyed the platter

We left Tiznit after a bit of a drama with the morning manager who had taken over from Karim at Hotel Mauritanie.  Maybe a miscommunication between the two of them, but he wanted money for breakfast which we were told was included in the room price.  We paid and headed off south towards Guelmim on a mountain road that has incredible scenery but can be extremely dangerous.  Sadly on one of the straighter parts of the road, we came across an accident, a mother who had crashed her car, her young daughter had died and there was an awful scene with a lot of Moroccans trying to help.  We offered to call for help but they had it in hand!  It haunted us for a while, makes you realise how dangerous the roads can really be!

After Guelmim the road is straight and relatively fast in the open plains, we reached Tan Tan around midday and bought a few bits and pieces to munch en route, including a sack full of tangerines!  I remembered staying in this town about 10 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!  From this point the road hugs the coast, with dramatic sand blown cliffs, a fisherman's paradise and Moroccan built housing for those from the north, the Moroccan claim to Western Sahara.  Just after Tan Tan is the imaginary border between the two 'countries' and just over that border is a town that I've stopped at on several occasions before, just to eat it's fish!  We ordered the most enormous platter, ate what we could and took the rest with us!
Franki enjoys the coffee breaks!

We finally got to Laayoune and looked around for somewhere to stay, knowing it was pricey!  Everyone kept stopping us and asking to buy the bicycles from us, including small children, but couldn't tell us of somewhere to stay!  We carried on south and got to Foum el-Oued near the port. There was at least one campsite/hotel to stay at but we weren't convinced.  Suddenly a police car showed up, lights flashing and made us pull over.  Having managed to escape any speeding tickets, we were puzzled as to what we had done wrong.  The two policemen were puzzled as to what we were up to, we asked them for somewhere to stay and were told to follow them.  They took us to the first campsite/hotel we had seen and disappeared.  The two of them returned with two other men, the price started at 200€, it dropped rapidly but not rapidly enough for us!!!  We thanked them and said we'd head south overnight, to try to loose the police.

At a major junction 2km away where there were more police collecting 'fiches' (security measure found throughout Western Sahara for foreigners passing through) we found a basic service station which had a truckers greasy spoon attached.  We decided that was the end of the road for the day, the light was failing and we were hungry and tired after 554km of driving in one day.  The cafe provided wonderful mint tea and good coffee all night, there were sofas to sleep on and Franki was safe.  Even the ladies loo had a key that I was allowed to guard all night ... we ate the remains of the fish that we also shared with a few garage cats, polished off some cheese with a glass of red wine and settled down in our ideal camping location!  So happy with this free find, I entered it on ioverlander!
Our 'escort' after not being able to find somewhere to spend the night
Fishy supper from lunch, Foum el-Oued, south of Laayoune shared with the garage cats!

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