Taroudant to Agadir, 1 - 3 October 07

Honey Mooney HB-DVN
Flemming and Angela PEDERSEN
Wed 3 Oct 2007 20:53
It took us less than 20 minutes to fly to Agadir, but we spent two hours at the airport there. Although we hadn’t arrived from abroad, we still had to fill out the arrival forms /twice/. I suspect the second policeman we met inside the terminal didn’t trust the younger one, who came to meet us on the apron, to have done the job properly.
The Agadir to Bamako (Mali) flight is going to be a long one, about 8 hours, so we decided to fill up with Avgas to save time on the day of departure. Also, in spite of sending a fax to the civil aviation authorities in Bamako over 2 weeks ago and getting their confirmation by phone that it had been well received, we still hadn’t received their authorization for overflying and landing in the country. We therefore asked a rather reluctant official in the ‘bureau de piste’ to send a reminder to the Mali authorities by AFTN. “Two lines only, please. I am tired”, said the poor man who was suffering from lack of nourishment during Ramadan.
Our destination for the day was the Souss Massa national park by the coast about 40 kilometers south of Agadir. We had booked 3 nights at the Ksar Massa Hotel. There wasn’t much room for negotiation with Abdul, our taxi driver, as it would be a rough dirt track for the last 7 kilometres. Still, the whole trip took 1 hour 15 minutes, including a stop for fuel and a prayer in the adjacent mosque, so I (Angela) was ready to pay more than the 400 dirhams (about 40 euros) we’d agreed upon. Flemming shook his head to my suggestion, and in spite of grimaces from Abdul on the rough roads, he accepted the 400 dirhams gracefully and asked us if we’d like him to pick us up for the return ride 3 days later.
The Ksar Massa Hotel is in a spectacular setting above a wide, sweeping beach with good waves for surfers and stunning sunsets. Unfortunately there is a long line of mostly plastic rubbish at the high tide mark, not visible from the hotel grounds. The next morning we went bird spotting with the chief guide in the area, Radouin. He told us the local school is trying to educate the children to care for their environment and they ‘regularly’ go and pick up all the rubbish.
The main attraction of the Souss Massa national park is the rare bald ibis, which is increasing in numbers again thanks to the protection provided by the reserve and now number about 400 in total. Like men, the birds become balder with age. Before sunset our first evening Flemming saw a whole flock of them flying in a ‘V’ formation, so that each bird could take advantage of the lift provided by the preceding one.
Radouin took us to a nearby lagoon where we saw several species of birds such as pink flamingos, glossy ibis, spoonbills, cormorants, egrets, coots, marbled duck, grey herons and black-winged stilts. Radouin also pointed out some mongoose tracks and, with the help of the binoculars and telescope, we spotted some wild boar on the other side of the lagoon. And, at the end of our walk, Radouin found a large number of bald ibis for us, pecking about in the sand not far from the hotel.
After several unsuccessful attempts to reach the Mali civil aviation authorities over the Iridium phone, Flemming finally managed to get through. Monsieur Chulibaly gave him a clearance number, so we can relax and enjoy the rest of our stay here!
Just before sunset, we went for a walk to the local launching ramp for the fishing boats. The fishermen have set up home in caves in the cliff face, rather like the Dogon people in Mali whom we plan to see in a few days.