Day 17: Volubilis, Meknes and Rabat

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sun 21 Nov 2010 20:34
Day 17: Sunday 21 November. Camping Gambousias at Ech-Chiahna, 20 km south of Rabat. N33 53.234  W007 00.765  Distance driven 228 km. Total distance 2823 km.
Today dawned grey and cold but steadily got better; the sun came out, it got hotter as we approached the coast, and it didn't rain!  Before leaving I washed the Land Rover and removed all yesterday's mud.  We then drove over to see the Roman remains at Volubilis, which covered a huge area and contained some incredible mosaics in extraordinary condition after 2,000 years.
Then to Meknes and the "old" towards Rabat which didn't appear on our Tracks4Africa electronic maps and caused some confusion in route finding.  We drove through Khemisset, a scruffy ribbon town stretched out along the road, at lunch time and noticed some tagine restaurants.  As we slid into a parking spot by one of them we received a wonderful welcome and were soon tucking into our first tagine - viande de boeuf - and it was really delicious.  Served piping hot with a loaf of fresh bread it only cost Dh 38 (about £3). I ca see that these will be a regular feature!
We decided to press on to Rabat and apply for our Mauritanian and Mali visas this week. We paid the penalty for skimping on guide books and not updating our 1998 Lonely Planet Guide. We struggled through Sunday afternoon traffic on the outskirts of Rabat searching for "Camping International" on the plage at Salee, only to find that it no longer existed.  Fortunately, we had GPS co-ordinates for another site 20 km down the coast towards Casablanca, from the Great Trek South team.  Even then, it was difficult being completely unsigned. How they found it without without GPS, I'll never know.  On arrival here we met some German travellers, Jessica and Andre, who said they had been driving up and down the coast for 4 hours looking for a camp site!