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Morocco - 5 March 2020 - 16 May 2020 (77 days)

Our cycle trip, Cape Town to Casablanca, began to fall apart before governments worldwide responded to Covid-19 with lockdowns. We were running out of time on our Morocco visa by the time we entered Western Sahara, so took two buses to cross the Sahara - one from Guerguerat to Dakhla, one from Dakhla to Agadir. After a few days in Agadir, we set out to cycle Morocco proper. Two days later in Taroudant, we began for the first time to realise that government response to the novel coronavirus might impact us directly - until then we had barely been aware of what was happening worldwide. Shortly thereafter the restaurants closed and just before full lockdown was imposed, we cycled back to Agadir and took up residence in an Airbnb where we stayed until two days before we were repatriated to South Africa. I did not keep up the blog during this time, but did keep in touch with family and friends via WhatsApp. Below are my WhatsApp posts…
On the last two pages of this blog, I have included an article and letter I wrote in response to #covid1984

5 March 2020
We're in Western Sahara / Morocco. We awoke to a chilly, misty morning, the wind coming from the north not east. So our run west was a little slower than hoped, but perfectly fine. When we turned north toward the border, we crossed a railway line that apparently carries the world's longest train. Between the Mauritanian border post and the Moroccan, is a strange no-man's land littered with the wrecks of cars. We had to push the bikes across uneven bedrock and through sandy patches for about 1km. There is no bedding on our beds at our hotel just north of the border. We often get a bottom sheet only, but today is a first with no sheets at all. Odd.

6 March 2020
Just a brief hi from Dakhla. We arrived by bus around 21:45. Took us some time to find a hotel. First two too expensive; next two too full; fifth option perfect at just a tad over our preferred maximum. Lots of coffee cafés open, filled with lots of men. Enjoying a cappuccino at Meraliz right on the ocean. In the dark, the city looks wealthy and healthy and completely different from anything we have seen on our trip to date. Neon lights everywhere. Will find out if this impression holds up in the light of day tomorrow. Had to set our watches back an hour so it was still dark at 07:45 this morning, Western Sahara sitting considerably west of Morocco proper.

8 March 2020
Spending our third night in Dakhla. Tomorrow night we will be hoping to get some sleep on the overnight bus to Agadir, thereby avoiding the Western Sahara altogether. From Agadir, we will cycle a slightly circuitous route to Casablanca - provided we can find a decent bike shop to effect some much needed repairs to Charl's gears and axle. The cycling will be interrupted by a visit from three friends from South Africa. We are meeting Frances, Theresa and Neil in Marrakech March 25 for several days R&R. I am sad that time has caught up with us, making it impossible to cycle the desert; Charl less so. C'est la vie.

10 March 2020
Our 20-hour bus ride from Dakhla to Agadir was made over an hour longer than advertised by a dispute between two women, apparently over seat allocation. The yelling turned to hair-pulling and police-calling and tears and a long delay. On the plus side, we got here safely, with a couple of delicious meal breaks en route. We're in an Airbnb and were thrilled when our young host could point us to a nearby bike repair shop to which Charl's bike has been consigned. Agadir is modern and wealthy; Morocco more developed and quite different from Africa south of the Sahara.


Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Dakhla
Airbnb, Agadir
Airbnb, Agadir
First msemen with peanut sauce
First msemen with peanut sauce
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