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Into Africa. Morocco Begins

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It’s been a long time coming, and it hardly seems real. Over 5 years of planning and dreaming and working towards this day.

I book tickets for the ferry from Southern Spain to Tangier, Morocco late one afternoon. I’m setting sail early the next morning. I’ll be in Africa early the next day. Hmmm. That’s hard to take in.

A couple of last minute jobs and a dip in the ocean and I’m ready to go.

In the morning it’s two minutes to clear customs leaving Spain, and I drive the Jeep into the belly of a very modern ferry, along with about 10 other vehicles and 30 people.

africa jk aduana leaving spain 720x480

Customs on the Spain side, about to leave

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Just after clearing customs in Morocco

On the ferry my passport is stamped into Morocco, and I’m soon driving off the ferry into the customs area. Along with the other vehicles I’m held behind a large gate where my paperwork must be completed. I smile when I notice the brand new twin-turbo Porsche beside the Jeep.

A police officer has me fill out my details on a card, then sends me upstairs to get my passport registered as a driver. Once that’s done the same policeman has an extremely cursory look in the back of the Jeep. And asks me the following (in Spanish)

Any guns?
“No”.

Any drugs?
“No.”

OK.

I’m handed a small piece of paper that is the 90 day temporary permit for the Jeep in Morocco, and I’m free to drive out. All free. I park immediately and walk over to an office to buy vehicle insurance. It takes about 10 minutes, and I’m all set to drive out into Tangier.

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In Tangier at the port just after clearing customs

It’s been a while since I have driven in an undeveloped country, and it’s a shock to be thrown back so deeply into “Make It Up Driving” as I like to call it. Turn signals, stop signs, red lights and lane markings mean absolutely nothing. Go when there is space. Jam in when there is not.

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On the Northern coast of Morocco

Ahhhh, now this feels familiar!

My first country in an entirely new continent! Here we go!

-Dan

P.S. All the details for Overlanding in Morocco are now in WikiOverland: Overland Morocco Travel

19 Responses

  1. Luke says:

    Congrats on starting out on your journey. It must be so exciting to be finally there after all the planning, work and setbacks! We can’t wait to follow along with your new adventure.

  2. RickS says:

    Glad you are rolling! Really looking forward to following this adventure.

  3. That’s an adventure for sure! Good good luck and thanks for sharing.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    So exciting! I am looking forward to enjoying your adventures. :-)

  5. Big Aloha says:

    Wishing you luck on your journey…from the shores of Hawaii…Aloha!

  6. Tom says:

    Enjoy and safe travels. Africa rocks! Any help when you get to South Africa give me a shout.

  7. 205guy says:

    Congratulations Dan, on making it to Africa and getting this adventure on/off the road. I’ve been following along, grateful for all your updates–and now it’s really happening. Many years ago, I visited Marrakesh and drove a rental car to Ouarzazate (which in French is synonymous with BFE). The paved road goes over the Atlas mountains, which are beautiful, and I dreamed of getting off the paved roads as you will be able to. Have fun and thanks again for your blogging.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi,

      Thanks very much for the kind words, and I’m happy to have you along for the ride!
      Let me know if there is something specific you’d like to see photos or video of.

      -Dan

  8. Kev says:

    Hi mate sounds great if you coming to Mali Bamako make sure you pop in to the sleeping camel. Top owners back pack type of place with great people . Plus cold beers. Hope to see you and your vehicle so I can be jealous. All the best stay safe . Kev

  9. Pascal says:

    This is great! I envy you for such an achievement. Dont know where you are headed to in Africa but if you happen to pass by Kenya,give a call in Nairobi!

  10. Rus says:

    This is awesome. Congrats on making this happen. No doubt loads of planning and research. And now it’s happening. One day I’d like to make a run thru Africa. In my limited Africa research, I see countries south and east, that have no entry for vehicles that are left hand drive. Are there ways around this restriction – maybe temporary permit? Best of luck along your journey.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey Rus,

      Thanks for the kind words! Absolutely it’s been a very long time in the planning!
      When Overlanding we are only getting a “temporary” permit to drive a vehicle through a country – in no way are you “importing” it anywhere.
      So because of that, there is no country in Africa that blocks either LHD or RHD as a temporary deal.

      Also, http://wikioverland.org lists the requirements to drive through every country in the world, and it specifically mentions if LHD or RHD are permitted or not.

      I hope that helps.

      -Dan

  11. Rick Schlepphorst says:

    Hi Dan! I was curious as to how the Jeep is holding up so far. I know you wished it was lighter, but how is it doing mechanically? Any changes you would have made in some of your gear?
    Safe travels!

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Rick,

      The Jeep is doing great. I’ve moving stuff around and adapting as I go along – I made a bug net for the back and mounted another internal light so I can see in my storage bins at night.
      So far, nothing major I would change, though I’m thinking about it basically every day.
      Rest assured I will write some very detailed articles on the topic when I’ve put down a few tens of thousands of miles :)

      -Dan

  1. July 13, 2016

    […] I've driven into Tangier, Morocco. Finally, the African adventure begins! My thoughts here: http://theroadchoseme.com/into-africa-morocco-begins -Dan Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously […]

  2. September 16, 2016

    […] I've driven into Tangier, Morocco. Finally, the African adventure begins! My thoughts here: Into Africa. Morocco Begins | The road chose me -Dan This is Epic ! I can't believe i just saw this thread . As a Moroccan born and raised I […]

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