Adventures Booking

Now booking for our popular adventure running from the 23rd April 6th 2018. This incredible adventure a mix of campsites and lodges and is a journey across awesome landscapes where you will see desert elephants, giraffes and possibly Lion. This adventure will cost from £4100 per car (includes hire 4x4) with two tents so a family of four to five can enjoy this adventure.
[More]
This adventure is running between August 13th to 27th 2018 and will cost £2300 per car. The route is a wonderful mix of forest tracks, river crossings and sandy beaches.
[More]
Impala Support Range Rover on Plage BlancheDates 23rd October to 9th November 2017 and will cost £2650 per car. This new adventure in Morocco follows some of the infamous Legionnaires routes across the Moroccan Sahara. The reconnaissance went extremly well and has resulted in a varied and very interesting route across the east of Morocco. [More]
 

News

14 Nov 2016
Desert RatThe Desert Rat (ancienus sasius) [More]
8 Dec 2014
Sunset over lakeWild camp in Spain [More]
3 Dec 2014
Discovery on a duneBack from Morocco [More]
 

August 2005 - Marrakech Taxi

Taxis are a very useful and convenient form of transport. Here in Great Britain we use them in cities to get to work or take the strain out of driving in the intensely heavy city traffic and the drivers are very knowledgeable knowing all the back streets and of course they enjoy the cut and thrust of city driving to the full. Those of us who are responsible also use Taxis after a working lunch or after a party when copious amounts of alcohol have unwittingly been consumed just to ensure that we do not fall foul of the police.

What on Earth is Neil rambling on about I here you say, obviously the sun has got to him, you know “mad dogs and English men………………..” All will be revealed below!

I am going to tell you a tale about Les Grande Taxis in Morocco. When we stay at Le Coq Hardi Hotel near Ait Ourir it is only 34Km from that jewel of a city Marrakech. Marrakech is a city of incredible beauty from the royal gardens to the swell of humanity that swarms through the Medina. It has to be seen to be believed. The best way to visit is to take a Grande Taxi from the hotel that will drop you of in the heart of the Place D’Fna, where you can walk and soak up the atmosphere. It is perfectly feasible to drive there but parking is always difficult and you can find yourself wedged in narrow streets between people, mopeds, horses and market stalls. This results in quite a difficult, if not impossible time trying to extricate you and your Land Rover, you could spend the rest of your life trying to get out!!

Last September I had the pleasure of travelling with some of my clients in a Grand Taxi to Marrakech. During the morning we had had a pleasant drive of 100Km or so from the Cascades D’Ouzoud (a Magnificent Waterfall) to the Hotel Le Coq Hardi and over lunch under the shade of some olive trees some of our group decided that they would like to visit Marrakech that afternoon. I arranged with Karim (the hotel owner) to order a taxi for the afternoons adventure.

Now the group that I was travelling to Marrakech with were enjoying their holiday immensely and jovial banter was the order of the day. The road running past the hotel was the main road south although it was no busier than a B road in a quiet part of England. Almost without exception every car and lorry that passed by either belched black smoke, that would have been the envy of a world war two destroyer captain or made mechanical noises that pointed to the demise of either engine or transmission or both!!. To someone from Europe this is always a shock but here the mechanics have an incredible skill that enables them to keep these vehicles working, a skill lost to most in Europe.

The taxis arrived in a cloud of dust, each cars interior festooned with trinkets and a carpeted dash. Both drivers leapt out and greeted us warmly and within seconds we were all safely ensconced in each car.

The first thing that you will notice is a lack of seatbelts and that the doors do not always fit well, but the engine bursts readily into life and a couple of clonks later the car is reversing back into the main road. With Arabic music roaring out of crackling speakers the Medina’s heady atmosphere beckons.

Everyone joked about the roughness of the car. Each time Ahmed (our driver) changed gear (a complicated task involving lots of left foot work with synchronised gear stick pushing) it was met with a cheer. Every lift of the right foot and the car filled with a diff howl of such proportions that surely the crown wheel would be seen bouncing down the road ahead of us at any moment.

As we crossed the bridge over the stony waterless river the road was reasonably clear. 50cc mopeds, Lorries with wobbling wheels and sagging springs were to come. My clients had not an inkling of the excitement and fear that would unfold around us.The taxi I was in was second in line, this caused a lot of playful fist waving and banter between the cars. Our taxi driver took this as a signal to catch and overtake the other car, which he did on a blind bend with a lorry coming the other way. We missed the lorry easily with a deft swerve onto the dust at the side of the road. The occupants of the car that I was in went very quiet after swearing a little, well actually a lot. “This is normal” I told them followed by “You will get used to it” Paul replied from the front “es’a bloody maniac!!!”

It was very quiet now in the car, actually deathly so as we raced across a bridge only wide enough for one vehicle. Everyone was quiet because only seconds before we had overtaken a green fiat and of course there was a lorry coming onto the bridge in the opposite direction.Things settled down somewhat as the outskirts of Marrakech hove into view. The cut and thrust of driving here is fun. Mopeds, horse’s with rickety carts attached and pedestrians all vie for position with cars and Lorries at speeds that are safe and it’s actually very exhilarating and a lot of fun.

We arrived without further incident. And my slightly bewildered clients were disgorged into the mass of humanity that is the Place D’Fna to enjoy a few hours in amongst the water sellers, snake charmers, story tellers and open air theatres to name just a few of the attractions.

We had agreed to meet the Taxi at the rank near the Medina for the journey back. I was last at the stand and was met with anxious looks and a barrage of questions as to the journey back to the hotel. I neglected to say anything about the standard of lighting on Moroccan cars. In Morocco you are allowed to travel without lights if you do not go above 5 mph and I have seen cars in the south of the country driving with the passenger leaning out of the window with a torch!!. It is actually perfectly safe because there is no volume of traffic and you can travel 100 Km and see no one when travelling at night in the south.

We were not in the south yet.

The journey back to the hotel was one of complete excitement, it was a blur of overtaking against the brightness of badly adjusted headlights from vehicles approaching from the other direction. One of the highlights was a manoeuvre involving a heavily laden van with passengers hanging off the sides and back, we scythed past the rear door and the man hanging on had to bend his body in towards the van so that we missed him and at the same time the van swerved, braking hard to stop to pick up another passenger. At one point we were vying for position with a moped, lorry and a car for a rightful place on the road. All of the way home my clients said very little, only uttering forth intakes of breath and a little nervous laughter.

We made it back unscathed to Le Coq Hardi and all was well. I think that everyone was glad to be driving their own cars which gave them at least some semblance of control of their destiny.