GET OUTTA HERE: MOROCCO

DESERT RIGHTS AND ARA­BIAN NIGHTS.

Tracks - - BITSA -

Morocco has been lur­ing trav­ellers in droves since it be­came the end ter­mi­nus of the south­bound hippy trail in the 60s. The colour­ful cities of Casablanca, Tang­ier and Mar­rakesh with their bustling med­i­nas, ex­otic souks and cheap hash proved an ir­re­sistible mag­net for the coun­ter­cul­ture tribe. In­trepid surfers stocked up and ven­tured fur­ther south, even­tu­ally find­ing a se­ries of long, reel­ing right points on the edge of the desert near Agadir. Here world-class leg burn­ers like An­chor Point quickly be­came pop­u­lar then world fa­mous. This north­ern wedge of Africa, though dry and arid, has been an idyl­lic win­ter es­cape for Euro­pean surfers ever since. The weather is warm, the swell con­sis­tent, the off­shores re­li­able and the liv­ing cheap.

For Aus­tralians the road to Morocco often be­gins in the least ex­otic coun­try on earth, Eng­land. Specif­i­cally, it starts in Mar­ket Street Is­ling­ton, where an un­of­fi­cial pop up stall for trav­el­ling vans has been hap­pen­ing since the Bea­tles had bobs. Here you’ll find wheels that also func­tion as a bed, a kitchen and a suit­case. Clapped out Kom­bis. Decked out tran­sit vans. Stately mo­torhomes. Shiny trans­porters. Some will get you to Africa and back in com­fort and style. Most won’t. But all are scented with the pheromones of es­cape and pur­suit. Drive a surf­board-laden van onto the Dover ferry with three months up your sleeve and Africa in your high beams and you will know an­tic­i­pa­tion.

Morocco is so often an ad­di­tion to the clas­sic Euro­pean surf tour it’s easy to think of it as just an­other bor­der cross­ing. It ain’t. Alight from a Tang­ier ter­mi­nal and it will be im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous you’ve swapped con­ti­nents. Cul­tur­ally, you could be on

PHOTO: BASTIEN BONNARME

A HOL­LOW DESERT DE­LIGHT IN THE LAND OF THE RIGHT HAND POINT.

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