To wild camp or not to wild camp? Morocco

We are SUCH slow learners but we are finally starting to catch on. We continue to have bad experiences at traditional campgrounds. We normally meet some nice people but looking back, the fact is that we are weird and getting weirder is making it harder and harder to stay at normal campgrounds.

These are our problems. Our truck looks weird. We look weird. We are traveling full-time. We are traveling with kids. We are traveling with extra adults that we are not related to. We are now traveling with a Moroccan friend. We invite local friends, new and old, to come and visit us. So we have memories of getting kicked out of British campgrounds because we “didn’t look right”. We have had to smuggle friends into a campground in Portugal for a BBQ party. We are continually getting in trouble for the kids not wiping out the sink well enough after washing dishes or wiping down a toilet properly. Our kids are not slobs but they are not mini old people either. No matter how many bad experiences we keep on going back.

It is not relaxing at all when we go. We normally do mountains of laundry, shower, refill the water, recharge the batteries, etc. Campgrounds are hard work for us. And, as they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. When we lived in a motorhome full-time in America we could stay quite cheaply if we were staying for a longer time and we were driving an old Winnebago. So, we stayed at our 4th motorhome park since we have been in Morocco. 4 in 2 months, not to bad, especially since we stayed at 2 for 1 nite and 1 for 2 nites and the one we stayed at longer was called a campground in only the loosest of contexts (no door, or even a curtain, on the pit toilet and no security man sitting by the gate all night). We also frequently ate and sang in the house of the man running the campground while we were there. That is another story. A good one.

So, we went to another campground in Safi. The only campground in Safi. We hung up our mountain of laundry.  Karim was not allowed to stay with us because he had lost his ID and is waiting to get it sent by his brother. A drag but fair enough, he slept in his tent elsewhere. But when Karim came in the next morning to have breakfast with us the angry man at the front made him leave. I asked is it because of the ID or because Karim is Moroccan.

No answer. We left. DUDE.

The following nite we were on our way to Marrekech and decided to wild camp instead. What a great experience. Andrew and TJ found our place. They discussed the criterea. They were privacy, hills, rocks, trees., safety. We took a Piste (donkey trail) off the main road near some hills and found a great place! Andrew was quite pleased with our 4 X 4 vehicle and took lots of pictures of the Land Rover on the hill as we left. He took no pictures of the new sedan we passed on the way out.

While we were there we met lots of amazing people from the nearby villages who gave us Leben (fermented milk) and eggs and bread and goat butter. Alana and Abi have a great story of a house they were invited into. I think we all have stories of cows trying to steal the veg we were cutting on the table, bird houses in the bushes, snake stories, little kids, generosity. All in all a great time.

Coming into Marrakesh we were again confronted with the choice of campground or not. I mean, seriously, we are going into a big medieval city, we are big, we only have addresses of campgrounds and we ARE pathetic creatures of habit. Well, we resisted and instead of trying another campground we drove into the city looking for a parking place thinking we could just leave every night. Instead we found a parking lot next to the main mosque and the souks. Great location. When we came in they said it would be 50 derams and asked if we were planning on sleeping here. Uh…. yeah. We were sent to the back lot where we are hanging with about 20 white plastics and self-builds. We are a short walk from the souks and some public toilets.

Yeah, about toilets in Morocco. Don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to know. It is kinda weird talking about it on a blog but it just needs to be said. The toilets are squat style and toilet paper is generally not used. They use water from a tap that you can find in each toilet along with a small bucket. You can buy TP here but it is expensive. To the defense of the Moroccan toilet system. Squat toilets are healthier than sitting down ones and water is much cleaner than toilet paper. Just facts that were established early in our time here. We STILL have had an extensive adjustment period but am now feeling comfortable with the Moroccan system of things in this area. Sometimes we still reach for the TP just not nearly as often.

While I am at it about getting kicked out of wild camping places in Morocco. If you are way out in the wild. Don’t worry. Just meet the neighbours, if there are any and be nice. Offer to share your meal with them or a cup of tea. We have been kicked out of one wild camping place in Morocco by the police but they were really nice and said some of the wild campers got robbed there, they haven’t been able to catch the thieves and they wanted to protect us.That isn’t so bad.

If you are looking for our great parking lot in Marrakesh and are looking for this great motorhome parking place we are under the phone tower with the storks that is behind the main mosque and the big park. The parking sign is on the main road going to the Fna place.

So to wild camp or go to a campground. I give you full permission to question me if I become a softie and go back to a campground. There are lots of alternatives to the campground for laundry and bathing and water. Yeah, swords raised, one for all and all for one. We shall wild camp!


  • Ric on February 7, 2012

    Hey guys, how is it doing. I am in Marrakesh now and when looking up Google for parking sites your blog was listed. I’ll try and find the parking place you mention. I have ended up at a campsite, my first in Morocco after nearly a month here, to the North of the city called Le Relais de Marrakech – – which you can find by heading up the N9 a few KM north until you get to the football stadium. The GPS co-ordinates on their site didn’t work for me so here is a direct google maps link..

    It’s 85Dhr per night with an extra 25Dhr for electricity. It’s certainly a nice place and well worth at least one night. Hot showers, use of the jacuzzi and swimming pool and free WiFi are all included.

    Ric. 🙂

  • admin on January 25, 2011

    Great to hear about other families on adventure. Morocco is such an amazing place. I think you did well to come in through Ceuta. If we did it again we would probably do the same. A bit of an easier transition I would imagine. Insurance is a hard one. We have found no european insurance companies that will cover us in North Africa or actually anything outside the EU. I think our insurance agent was laughing when we asked if we could add on Morocco.

  • mike on January 10, 2011

    My wife,3yr old daughter,9 month old son and I travelled in our hymer across Europe and into morroco a couple of years ago. We got as far down as Aglou plage just outside Tiznet.We wild camped most of the way down the west coast and even had our van reupholstered by mohammed ,just inside the city walls and it was a great job.Nothing but great memories of Morroco and its friendly people.We would love to drive down there again,even though we arrived through ceuta without visas or even insurance(for Morroco).This was purchased first city in .