Showing posts from May, 2008

Jebal Tubkal

It seems to me that no matter how badly prepared and under equipped you think you are, when it comes to the highest or most well known mountains of the world, there are always many people less prepared than yourself. So it was with Jebal Tubkal, the highest hill in the High Atlas Range. I turned up with a route description, summer sleeping bag, lightweight boots and only some idea what to expect. Others that I met had no map at all, no sleeping bag, no raincoat, and little more than tevas for there feet!

Everyone seemed to make it to the top regardless (4000m odd), with great weather, only a little snow, and some great views in spite of a little heat haze. There ceratainly was quite a crowd in all, with a number of quite large guided groups, a whole host of guided couples, and then the odd ball do-it-your-self crew, me included. For a general little movie view from the top check out, otherwise just stick with the photo, which is complete with my american …


Mauritania gives way to the north to the Western Sahara according to many older map and atlases, however in practice, Morocco starts straight away over the boarder. The old Western Sahara 'country' was occupied in the 1970’s. The reason, national resources, as apart from iron and phosphate deposits, it is an endless dessert and barren empty coastline. Along that coast though runs a single solitary high quality highway, linked a few widely spaced towns long its 1000km old length. Not much to see , but certainly an easy high speed way northwards. Arriving in Morocco was a great shock to the system with so many tourists even in this the 'off season'. The wide open streets of the new city contrasted with the narrow winding allies of the old walled city. The souks and markets were indeed a sight to behold, though the star of the show was certainly the central square at dusk. Food stands full of local dishes, fruit stands offering fresh drinks, performers and story te…

Good Men, Bad Men

There are many poeple you meet along the way when travelling, some good, some bad. Often you don't really know until after you have left them far behind.

Some of the really great people have I meet in the last few days were the other locals making their way around Maurtiania on the various forms of transport: pickups (on the back with the goats), shared taxis (think four in the back seat), an iron ore train (travel on top for free). I learnt a few things along the way, like you need your Beduin head scarfe to keep out the dust and sand, don't go off the road because of landmines, and always take twice the water you think you'll every drink and then some more.

Some of the not so nice people were also keen to help, but for a price. The boarder patrol guys were particularly unsettling, along with the taxi drivers when they know your options are very limited.

The scenery is amazing, soring cliffs on the road to the once thriving ancient city of Chengetti, the sweeping dunes of th…

Dakar Farewell

My time is up for Dakar and my last weekend was an excellent send off. Elodie has had some family relations living here as well that we have visited several times. They won a plane flight in a raffle and wondered if we would like to come along as well, and of course the one hour flight over the Dakar peninsular was spectacular. The next day we also had a second visit together to the island of Goree which is undoubtedly the jewel of Senegal, its just so peaceful and beautiful. Recommended to anyone visited western Africa.

My language skills have not really improved with my weeks trying to learn French here, and I wish that I had bought both a bike and a kayak when I first got here, but otherwise I think my time here has been a good experience. The frustration of not being fully occupied, even with the little accounting job and host of other interests which I kept up with, was something I've found hard though and will be working to avoid in the future.

The Gambia

With the successful completion of my job, along with the end of my french classes, I found myself with some time on my hands again. So the last week has been a time of exploring the southern Senegal region of Casamance, and the tiny African state of Gambia. I sailed down overnight on a large ferry, and worked my way back north overland.

The landscape is certainly a lot greener than in the north with lots of trees and gardens, and great long beaches. These usually pull the tourists, but I seem to hit the low of the low season and the all the atlantic resorts spots were deserted. So I hung out with the wildlife instead, the crocodile pool at Bakau, and a forest reserve teeming with monkeys.

I found the Gambia an intriguing place. It was one of the longest uninterrupted democracies on the continent until a coup in 1994 placed in power a man who is still at the top. The unusual thing is that he seems to have been able to win two organised elections since, along with convincing the populati…