Diesel Shortage In Morocco
The Story Behind The Photo...... by Neil Hopkinson
Refuelling in Foum ZguidIn April 2009 we ran an adventure that crossed from the Atlantic coast to Lac Iriki. Most of the time was spent travelling on the tracks or crossing the desert itself. Every three days or so, our group headed north, to refuel in one of the towns that string out across the northern edge of the Sahara.
Tata is such a town and as we approached its garage on the outskirts, we could see a queue of cars, trucks and buses alongside the pumps. There was no fuel at all; it appeared that the tanker drivers all over Morocco were on strike over conditions and pay. This left us with a problem as our cars needed fuel to continue on with the adventure.
I had a chat with everyone and we distributed any spare fuel amongst them all, so that we could make the camp in the desert near, the village of Foum Zguid and there hopefully get some more fuel. Rachid is a good friend of mine who owns a cafe overlooking the square in the middle the village and knows everyone. I phoned him and he rushed around to collect as much fuel as he could, all petrol, so our Range Rovers would be able to make Mhamid and the hotel Kasbah Azalay. The only hitch was that there was no diesel for the other cars!!!
Said who was travelling with me made a phone call to his brother at the garage in Zagora which resulted in a Land Rover 110 heading off into the desert to a GPS rendezvous two days later near the sacred oasis, where it would wait for me to arrive and collect the diesel to feed our diesel powered cars so that they could also get to The Kasbah Azalay as well.
Our first fuel “pick up” was in Foum Zguid and this picture was taken while we were refuelling the Range Rovers. The buses in the background have run out of fuel and are waiting for the strike to finish. Foum Zguid was also full of French and German off road cars stranded, their occupants sitting in the cafes watching us with interest. As we fuelled and left they gave us many a jealous glance, probably wondering how we had managed to purloin such a rare and precious commodity.
Over 25 years of travelling through Morocco has led us to forge many strong friendships, which put you in good stead in such situations.