- Great African Rift Valley Expedition
- A Journey to Juba
- The All Afrika Expedition
- United Against Malaria Expedition
- Africa Outside Edge Expedition
- Boundless Southern Africa Expedition
- African Rainbow Expedition
The Mouth of the Mediterranean
“We’re still making our way up the coast of Morocco”, comes the latest news from Kingsley Holgate’s outside edge expedition received via BGAN satellite link from Tangier. “Its really a strange feeling being this close to Europe, the North Atlantic is now behind us and we’re at the mouth of the Mediterranean. Across the Straights is Gibraltar and from the harbour you can see the ferries coming and going.
The journey up the coast from Casablanca has been a great outside edge experience. Sometimes with our Landies just a metre from the top of steep cliffs that plunge down into the ocean. Rabat, the capital, is a beautiful city, an old lighthouse on the jagged edge of Africa and a walled Kasbah that used to be a pirate stronghold. High on a hill overlooking the city we visited the remains of the Hassan tower that was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. It was the Friday call to prayer and hundreds of pilgrims arrived to worship in the large open space dotted with the remains of old stone columns. Colourful royal guards on horseback man the entrances to the square and traditional water sellers in bright red costumes pose for pictures. Christiaan Bornman, our Arab speaking South African interpreter leads us up the steps to the mausoleum of Mohammed V and his son Hassan II. At the funeral of Hassan II an estimated 2 million Moroccans, many distraught with grief, flooded Rabat’s streets to say farewell to their king. We gaze down at his marble tomb in the knowledge that we’ve reached the heart of the kingdom. The road to Tangier hugs the Atlantic coast and parts of it remind us of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. It’s an area that’s been heavily influenced by Spain and Portugal with most of the Moroccan ports having fallen to either Spanish or Portuguese forces at one time or another. The Landies growl on – it’s winter in Morocco and we’re all wrapped up in scarves, jackets, longs and boots. Behind us is the heat and humidity of West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. Now it all seems strangely civilised as we cruise along the outside edge and strangely emotional as we stop at Cape Spartel for a team shot. It’s nine months ago that 347 Land Rovers escorted us out of the Cape of Good Hope, the most South Westerly point of the continent, and now we’re at this, the most North Westerly Cape. Outside the Cape Spartel lighthouse we hold up the Zulu calabash that’s carrying cold South Atlantic water from the Cape of Good Hope. If we’re successful, we’ll return to empty it back at the Cape of Good Hope, but that’s still several months and 13 countries away.