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Morocco, spring 2010 (April 19th to May, 11th)

part 2 - from Ceuta to Beni Mellal

From Ceuta to Beni Mellal: Ceuta - Tetouan - Chefchauen - Ouazzane - Volubilis - Meknes - Azrou - Khenifra - Beni Mellal
On April 18th, around 16:30 we arrived at Algeciras, from where we took the ferry boat to Ceuta, still a Spanish dependency in North Africa. While driving along the mediterranean coast in southern Spain, the weather was terrible - thunderstorms with very heavy rains. The rain stopped when we arrived at Algeciras, but black clouds were still hanging very deep. About 7:30 p.m. we arrived in Africa and drove straight to the Moroccain border. Formalities at the border, to get all the stamps in our passports and customs for the car took about 45 minutes. Meanwhile it got dark and we looked for a hotel in Finideq. We paid 120 Dirhams for the room, about 11 Euros.

Waiting for the ferry boat in Algeciras


our ferry boat

last view to Europe

Ceuta: arrival in Africa

Werner Mayer in our first Moroccain hotel
Monday, April 19th, 2010
The morning started with a bright blue sky without clouds and moderate temperatures. Therefore we hoped for many herps within the next hours. But at our first stopps we saw, it must have rained very heavy in northern Morocco too the last days. The ground was very wet and deep. We have got very heavy shoes, full with earth and clay within a few minutes. The whole morning we could spot only a few lizards, Podarcis vaucheri and some waterfrogs, Pelophylax saharicus.
Short after noon we arrived at the Roman ancient city of Volubilis, about 30 kms north of Meknes. On the way from the parking area to to ruins, an Agama bibronii male and a large Ocellated lizard, Timon tangitanus run below dense bushes. On antique pillars there were stork nests (Ciconia ciconia). On walls and rocks of the ruins, many Teira perspicillata chabanaudi were basking, also one female of the Atlas Agamid, Agama bibronii. On a small meadow between the ruins I could spot a medium sized Moorish tortoise, Testudo graeca. A few miles south of Volubilis a small Testudo graeca was crossing the road. After I stopped to take it to a save place away from the traffic, I found a road killed paper thin Chamaeleo chamaeleon, but was unable to spot one alive in the surroundings.

landscape in the Rif mountains

habitat of Podarcis vaucheri

Podarcis vaucheri

Podarcis vaucheri

landscape between the Rif mountains and the Moyen Atlas

lunch along the road: Werner isn't sure what he will get


stork nests

Agama bibronii, female


Teira perspicillata chabanaudi

Teira perspicillata chabanaudi

Testudo graeca graeca
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
On our way to the south through the western parts of the Moyen Atlas mountain ridge, we stopped at several localities, looking good to very good for the Green Psammodromus, Psammodromus microdactylus, but without any success. Only its relative, Psammodromus algirus have been seen. After 5 or 6 stopps we started to believe others, saying this species is close to extinction or allready extinct by habitat destruction.
A 4 star hotel near Azrou wasn´t a hotel for humans only. About 10 nests of the stork were on the chimneys and on trees in the hotels garden. One stork nest was used by Bubulcus ibis too.

habitat of Psammodromus algirus and Testudo graeca

adult Testudo graeca male

subadult Psammodromus algirus

Bubulcus ibis

stork hotel

Ciconia ciconia and Bubulcus ibis

moroccain village
Between Mrirt and Khenifra we stopped at a, to me since many years well known creek. But I found only about a dozen of Spanish terapins Mauremys leprosa and no Viperine snake. But the slopes nearby had a rich lizard life. Within a few minutes we saw Agama bibronii, Chalcides polylepis, Timon tangitanus, Tarentola mauritanica.
Driving on to Beni Mellal.

habitat of Mauremys leprosa and Natrix maura

basking pair of Mauremys leprosa

Mauremys leprosa

landscape close to the creek

Chalcides polylepis is looking out from below a rock

late afternoon work: the daily report

  part 1 - Introduction: Topography, climate, zoogeography
You are here:
part 2 - from Ceuta to Beni Mellal
  part 3 - from Beni Mellal to Marrakech
  part 4 - to Oukaimeden and from Marrakech to Ouarzazate
  part 5 - around Ouarzazate
  part 6 - from the Hammada(Ouarzazate) through the Reg(Tineghir) to the Erg(Merzouga)
  part 7 - in and around the sand dunes (Merzouga and adjected areas)
  part 8 - From Merzouga to Taroudant in the Souss valley
  part 9 - western part of the Souss valley and south to the Tiznit area
  part 10 - home along the Atlantic coast, list of observed Amphibians, reptiles and birds