Ceuta

Ceuta is a Spanish territory situated on the north coast of Africa. It is bordered by Morocco, and is a port city offering entry to the African continent from Europe. I decided to go there as a stepping stone from Spain into Africa travelling by motorbike.

There is a ferry from Algeciras on the Spanish coast across the Mediterranean to the city. I had read this made the passage into Morocco easier with a bike. As you leave Algeciras you get a very good view of Gibraltar to your port bow and on a clear day you can see the African coast and mountains of Morocco as you cross the straights.

In some ways Ceuta has parallels with Gibraltar – being owned by a foreign power some distance from the territory. They both have histories of colonial occupation, Ceuta belonging to a number of colonizers, most recently the Portuguese who ceded the territory to the Spanish in the 1600’s.

It has quite a small area of only 7 square miles and arriving by ferry it would only take a short drive to the border with Morocco.

There are also direct ferries from Spain to Morocco, and these might be alternative routes to Africa for you from Spain.

While being quite small, it does have a number of attractions to see while visiting. There are some small beaches, a museum, a park, a fort and a couple of small mountains. For me though it was a stopping place on my way further into the desert, though in fact I would only get as far as the border due to paperwork issues.

If you are visiting the south of Spain though and just want to step foot on African soil, the journey across the Straights of Gibraltar is a fun trip, and makes an interesting day out or you could stay for a weekend to explore Ceuta more.

For me, it was my first sight of Africa, and made me keen to explore the continent more in the future. It offered a taste of Spain in a more exotic African setting with the city getting more beautiful as night started to fall.

Morocco is busy developing the land around Ceuta though and Ceuta’s tourism industry may suffer as a result. Probably somewhere to see sooner rather than later.

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