Day 29: Zagora

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Fri 3 Dec 2010 19:24
Day 29: Friday 3 December 2010.  Camping Les Jardins, Zagora, Morocco. N30 19.755 W005 49.950  Distance driven 132 km.
We had a very peaceful night out in the desert all on our own but I suspect our presence was well known.  One vehicle came past our campsite in the dark, just before we went to bed but didn't stop.  When we set off this morning we passed an auberge 5 km away and the owner, Hassan, seemed to know we had been camping nearby. You can't hide in the desert!
Last night I spent an hour under the Land Rover greasing the four universal joints in the prop shaft and the two shaft sliding joints.  I guess I should have done them before as they were quite dry. I think tomorrow I'll have to spend some more time on routine maintenance, checking oil levels in the gearbox and differentials and cleaning the air cleaner filter after all this dust. Jenny gave the inside of the vehicle a thorough clean last night but it is full of dust again today.
Just after setting off we saw a desert fox streaking across our track but that has been the extent of the wildlife in the desert.  Yesterday we did see a newly born camel, only an hour or so old and barely able to get on its feet.
We drove about 125 km of "piste" of varying degrees of roughness but no soft sand today and we averaged a slightly faster speed than yesterday.  At times we were even in 4th gear and doing 80 kph!  We were passed by two locals in a very smart Land Cruiser travelling very fast and never saw them again.  We saw one or two trucks on other tracks and we had just stopped for lunch when a truck appeared carrying a JCB digger. It was a regular truck, not a low-loader, and it staggered over the very rough track in low gear, swinging wildly from side to side with its high centre of gravity.  We figured if he could get through, we could!
We eventually emerged on the tarmac just south of Zagora, after travelling about 230 km off-road, and found our way to Camping les Jardins, an attractive camp site on the outskirts of the town in a large walled compound surrounded by gardens.  It has hot showers, Wi-Fi and a restaurant so we have just had a delightful meal and sent our laundry away with the owner to do it at his house!