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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Cruising on a Charente river boat

Earlier in August we spent three days aboard this lovely old Eau Claire river boat on the Charente River in France. You´ll see Spurwing tied up to the floating pontoon on the Ile de la Grenouillette with Saint Savinien on the far bank of the river.

We had driven up through Spain, escaping an exceptionally hot August down in Marbella and the cool days and nights in the Charente river valley were most refreshing. What a contrast also to the bustling noisy Costa del Sol night life. Here in France, in San Savinien, the bar owners were hurrying home at six in the evening. Back on the coast they would be sweeping out ready for a long evening ahead.

The wide and gentle Charente River winds its way inland through flat lush green countryside with line fishermen and big square eel fishing drop nets coming up on the low banks from time to time. It really is an ideal river for a relaxing river cruise holiday.

The Isle de Grenouillette nestles in a curve in the river on the edge of a recreational park with riding, boating and masses of sports activities for children. The local hairdresser recommended the nearby campsite to my wife. “They have a very good kitchen,” she said. We walked over from the boat to check it out one evening and were treated to the local line dancers entertaining the campsite guests. Again it looks like a great place for a riverside family holiday in France. Here are their contact details:

Ile Aux Loisirs
Camping and Caravanning
17350 Saint Savinien

A busy little boat rentals enterprise operated off the pontoon where we were moored, renting dinghies, electric boats, zodiacs, motor boats up to larger cruisers where nautical credentials have to be shown. Email them for details at:

Our friends don´t rent Spurwing, the Eau Claire river boat we stayed on but, if you feel that you are ready for something more exotic in terms of boat cruises perhaps even on the other side of world check out the private Phuket yacht charter they also run.

For more information about the area we stayed in and I do want to go back there next summer if not before, there is an excellent tourist office right next to the river.
Here are their contact details, they´ll look after you in more than one language!

Office de Tourisme
1, rue de Bateliers
Isle de Grenouillette
17350 Le Mung

Tel: + 33 546 902107 Email:

Their shelves are loaded with more information about sailing and river cruise rentals on the River Charente. I really recommend it if you are looking for a relaxing river holiday. See you there next year?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Horse riding in Agadir, Morocco

Tamraght is a little fishing village about 12 kms north from Agadir in southern Morocco. We were fortunate to spend a few months living near there recently.

Tamraght is well known for having some of the best surfing in Morocco. There are many surf camps of various quality, but our favorite by far is Surf Maroc. Managed buy a close knit team of very cool people they run an incredibly slick operation out of 4 locations. They also offer Roxy surf weeks and a surf yoga retreat in a fabulous villa with private pool, front line beach.

Where there is surf there are of course beaches and Tamraght has plenty to offer.

Nearly everyday from our house in Aourir (2km south of Tamraght) we would walk to the beach and spend a few hours playing with our little boy in the golden sand, splashing in the cool Atlantic waters, taking camel rides and petting the horses. Over time we built up a good rapport with Adi, the young chap in charge of these horse trips. Adi is great fun, speaks good English and has a passion for horses and horse riding. We visited his stables, Ranch Amodou Cheval, built out of traditional materials, fed the horses and drank Moroccan whisky (Moroccan mint tea, highly sweetened).

Highly impressed with their basic but very clean stables and well fed horses we decided to go

out for an early morning ride along the stunning, deserted beach between Aourir and Tamraght.

The three of us met Adi before the sun burnt off the morning mist, out side our house and climbed, rather awkwardly into the mounts.

We had selected a two hour trip, the first half of which was spent on the beach, trotting past beginner surfers being washed up, bedraggled but happy and galloping to chase the sea gulls. The second half we took a right turn and walked into the mountains, past argan trees, berber nomad camps and finally returning to the beach for the ride home.

Saddle sore but promising to take one of the more adventurous Adi offers we bade farewell.

If you should ever be Agadir or thereabouts I highly recommend giving Adi a call and organising a ride with him - you won't regret it!

Mobile: +212 662200474 or +212 670341510
Address: km13 Route d’Essaouira, Tamraght, Agadir

Ranch Amodou Cheval offers rides by the hour, day trips, 2 days trips – longer 8 days trips. Learn more visit their web site.