Growing in popularity each year, this is our 3rd road tour (except for the inevitable short deviations "offroad", due to road works) around this friendly, colourful country. On your bikes you will be amazed by the spectacular scenery, while in the bazaars and souks you will enjoy the hustle and bustle, the multitude of colours and your senses will be awakened by the smells of incense and countless fresh spices.
NEW 2018! Ride to the top of "The Rock" of Gibraltar. - a winding road totally closed to public vehicles we have made a special arrangement for our tour to bike to the top!
With nearly 20 years of operating across Morocco we know the best riding roads and the places to visit and stay in.
Travelling on our fleet of top-of-the-range BMW GS1200 and GS800, the tour starts and ends in Malaga, Spain, and we have chosen a selection of good quality hotels including some converted old kasbahs. (local castles)
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR
ON ROAD: 4kms
On arrival at Malaga International airport you will be met by our representative and driven to our hotel just 5 minutes away. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea this 4* hotel offers an 18 hole golf course if you want a game, as well as spa facilities. Or why not hang out with the predominantly German tourists on the nudist beach close by!
Later in the afternoon you will be transferred to the BMW supplier’s depot where handover will be done and then we will all meet up back in the hotel’s bar for a pre-dinner drink to get to know each other and have a general briefing about what our adventure entails.
ON ROAD: 271kms
An early start today as we have the ferry and Moroccan customs to get through before we can start our bike adventure on Moroccan soil. After breakfast, we load all the luggage into the assistance vehicle and then gather round the bikes for the final quick briefing about today’s riding and then we’re off, destination the little blue town of Chefchaouen (also called Chaouen) set in the Rif Mountain area of NW Morocco.
ON ROAD: 258kms
People are always surprised at how green and fertile the northern part of Morocco is. Our first full days’ ride is a very pleasant meander through the Moroccan countryside. At this time of year, the almond trees have just started blooming as well as the many wild peach trees.
We will stop to visit the well-preserved area of Roman ruins at Volubilis, the most important archaeological site in Morocco, and protected by UNESCO. Well worth taking a guide to explain the various different areas of this ancient empire, the site was first settled and began to prosper in the 3rd century BC. We might decide to eat a quick lunch here. Leaving the ruins, we drive up through the small town of Moulay Idriss perched on a hill, where Islam first started in 789 and where the only circular minaret in Morocco is built.
Continuing our journey south we traverse the busy Imperial city of Meknes. About 50kms beyond Meknes we will turn onto a smaller road which takes us through the National Park of Ifrane and on through the unusual university town of Ifrane.
Ifrane is a real oddity in Morocco as it has been modelled on a Swiss town and looks very out of place in this North African country. Well-known for its A-line roofed houses it is a popular place for the wealthier city dwellers to come and get cool in their summers, or in winter spend weekends skiing at the resort – one of just three in Morocco - the other two being at Mischliffen and Oukmaimeden.
A further 13kms and we reach our 4* hotel, destination for the night, set in a quiet location. All this area is covered with cedar forests. Dinner in the hotel.
ON ROAD: 389kms
Continuing south from Azrou we spend the morning winding our way through the Middle Atlas Mountains. Midelt is one of the main towns in this region and is the apple growing centre of Morocco.
About 70kms on and we enter the spectacular area of the Gorges de Ziz following the Ziz river as it winds its way through the Eastern foothills of the High Atlas on its way to the desert. At the southern point the large dam Hassan Addakil was built by the previous king to supply the town of ErRachidia with unlimited water. Unfortunately, as a result, the once fertile land and the people further south have suffered due to water shortages and droughts. Er Rachidia has recently seen a lot of investment and improvements being made to it as it has become the head of the region.
We continue to the desert town of Erfoud where we turn onto the original old road, recently repaved, which leads out to the dune area of Erg Chebbi (at 184mtrs these are the highest dunes in Morocco) in Merzouga.
Our 4* hotel is an unusually decorated Kasbah style construction set in the desert with views out over the spectacular Cathedral dunes of Erg Chebbi. Spa facilities and a pool for those willing to dare! Plentiful buffet evening meal.
A lazy day to have a spa treatment; or be really energetic and walk to the top of the high dune. Camel riding and quad bikes are available to hire.
If anyone wants to try out off-road biking in the sand and dunes with tuition and guidance then we will have a few KTMs on hand for this.
Lunch will be in the hotel.
Afternoon for relaxing and maybe another go at conquering the dunes before a well earned buffet dinner.
ON ROAD: 279kms
After breakfast we set off in a westerly direction through the small town of M’sisi to Alnif where we refuel and stop for a drink, then turn northwards and head for one of Morocco’s premiere tourist attractions – The Todra Gorge. The 14km of winding road into the gorge from the town of Tinghir takes us through many small villages, with several panoramic view points where you can stop to take photos and admire all the cultivation in the palmeraie (Oasis) below. The Palmeraie stretches some 20km from Tinghir to the gorge.
The road narrows until, crossing the river we enter the mouth of the gorge itself. Just before entering the gorge we will park up at a small cafe and have a snack lunch.
The Todra river which runs through this geological fault has formed 300m (985ft) high walls while being only 40m wide at its base and is one of the top rock climbing destinations of the world.
Leaving, we wind our way back down to the town and then a further 50kms will get us to this night’s accommodation in the town of Dades.
Tonight we will stay in a very special 4* hotel.
It has a rooftop pool with a heated jacuzzi incorporated in it; spa facilities and massages can also be arranged! Wonderful buffets to choose from for both dinner and tomorrows breakfast.
After our plentiful buffet breakfast, we refuel and then set off the 60kms up the spectacular Dades Gorge to the end of the asphalt at Msemrir. The road is a bikers dream winding backwards and forwards on itself. At the top there is a great viewpoint for photographs. It could be souk day in Msemrir, and if so this will give you a great insight into how things we would discard in Europe are recycled and made use of in Morocco. We once saw a man with a stall selling old shoe soles with holes in them!
Winding our way back down again, initially we will follow the “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs” to Ouarzazarte. Many old kasbahs (fortified houses) in different states of repair can be seen on both sides of the route. One in particular well worth visiting and where we will stop for an excellent tagine lunch, is the Kasbah Ben Moro in the small town of Skoura. Totally renovated it is now a hotel but has maintained its old-world character.
On through Ouarzazate and turn north in the direction of Marrakech. About 35kms out of the city of Ouarzazate is the turning to the Ksar (fortified town)of Ait Ben Haddou, a well-known UNESCO World Heritage site and our destination for the night. Set on a hill overlooking the Ounila River it is full of kasbahs in various states of disrepair. 8 families still remain living in the town. You can park up the bikes and then walk across the bridge and wander around the old town to the top of the hill where there is a good photo point.
ON ROAD: 181kms
Breakfast eaten and we set off along a road that could be prepared but not totally asphalted yet. 47km and we get to the spectacular old Pasha’s Palace at Telouet with it’s wonderful mosaics. Well worth paying a guide to take you around and explain the history. The countryside around here is very beautiful and we are off the beaten track.
We join up with the main N9 artery road across the High Atlas which winds up and over the high Tizi n Tichka pass at 2260m. A huge amount of major road works have been done to this route in the past 3 years to cut out what were arduous bends for the big trucks carrying their goods from north to south Morocco and beyond. The work is nearing completion but there could still be some sections being worked on. We stay on the N9 for about 80kms when we turn west and the final part of our journey we wind our way into Marrakech through the olive groves south of the city.
Refresh yourselves, get some lunch locally and go off into the souks and bazaars. Meet back in the hotel early evening and we’ll organise a caliche ride (horse and carriage) for everyone into the main square of Jemaa el Fna and evening is free time to roam, see the many sights and catch an evening meal on the square.
Our route today takes us southwards, climbing back over the High Atlas Mountains on the very twisting Tizi n Test pass. We will spend the morning skirting Mount Toubkal (4167m) the highest mountain in North Africa.
Having left the “Red City” as Marrakech is nicknamed, we bike on through quite an agricultural area until we reach Azni and Ouirgane where most of the trekking tours for Mount Toubkal start from. Then its 50kms winding along a steep sided gorge formed by the river Nfiss which can be seen far below in some places. Ascending the Tizi n Test pass, the road though generally in good repair is narrow and treacherous in places - watch out particularly for the rock falls.
ON ROAD: 255kms
Breakfast then off again, destination the Atlantic.
Our route today is on fast good roads, following south of the High Atlas. The first part of the morning’s ride will be through the very fertile Souss Valley until we get to the large popular destination of Agadir.
We will traverse the town and then take the road northwards following the glistening Atlantic Ocean until we reach Essaouira where we will have our next well-earned rest day.
Make a lunch stop on route looking out at the ocean.
Our 4* hotel is right on the seafront. Dinner in the beach restaurant.
Breakfast and then free day to do whatever you want.
With its shining lime-washed white walls the lovely old fortified coastal town of Essaouira has become known as one of Morocco's most enchanting places to visit. The atmosphere is “laid back” and the shop owners are not pushy. There is lots to see and do – walk through the bustling medina with its many bazaars and souks; climb the old ramparts with their Spanish canons still in situ: visit the old port full of small blue sardine boats where they still make big wooden fishing boats; stroll along the 7kms of beautiful beach known for water sports; a horse or camel ride along the beach or quad ride out into the dunes are just a few.
Dinner back in the hotel in their beach restaurant.
Leaving the ocean after breakfast we take the main express highway to Chichaouia (keep to speed limits here as there is always at least one or two police radars and check points) where we stop to refuel and get a drink, and then carry on along the national route to Marrakech vying with the mad taxis and lorries. We will drive through the center of Marrakech where you need to watch out for the petit taxis and scooters. A lot of Insh’Allah (god willing) needed here!
Leaving the city the first 35kms we stay on the main road and then at Ait Ourir we turn in a north easterly direction and take to country roads. We are travelling in and out of the foothills of the Middle Atlas through grain and apple growing country. About 150kms from Marrakech we take a 16km diversion up to the Ouzoud Falls. Ouzoud means “the act of grinding grain” and at the top of the falls there are a dozen or sosmall mills still in use. At this time of year with the melting snow there should be a good curtain of water falling down the 110m drop. The waterfall is located at the southern end of a group of gorges formed by the El Abid River (Slaves river in Arabic)
Back down on the road a further 100kms and we reach one of many viewpoints looking down over the beautiful manmade lake of Bin El Ouidane.
Our 5* hotel is located right on the shores of the lake, with spectacular views of both the High and Middle Atlas. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage or a hammam before the evening meal.
Leaving the hotel after breakfast the first 15kms we wind our way along the lakeside until we get to the village of Ouaouizerght where we refuel.
Then the rest of today’s roads are very scenic, and wind their way over various small mountain ranges staying north of the High Atlas, traversing through the agricultural Middle Atlas, revisiting the cedar forested areas around Azrou and Ifrane where you might get to see the local inhabitants – Barbary apes – before reaching the Imperial city of Fes.
Our 4* hotel is set on a hill overlooking the medina. Fes, which is known as the Mecca of the west, is a UNESCO World heritage site and the cultural and spiritual centre of Morocco. Over 4000 families totaling more than a million people live in the medina which is home to the oldest Madrassa (learning centre/university) in the world.
Our last day on Moroccan roads, we head north, destination Tangier.
The first part is through agricultural areas with winding roads where the almond blossoms and other trees should be in full bloom as well as a great array of orange daisies lining the roads and fields.
Today we are biking through the infamous Rif mountain area. This is where the main suppliers of hash are to be found and they will be located at lots of places in taxis, cars, on motorbikes and on foot trying to sell it to you.
We will bike over 100kms along the northern Mediterranean coast of Morocco with some stunning views out to sea, before turning inland at the city of Tetouan for the final 60kms to Tangier.
Tangier is undergoing major restructuring work of the drains, road systems and squares so hopefully won’t be too difficult to work our way around the diversions to get to our 5* hotel situated right on the seafront.
ON ROAD: 165km
Leaving our hotel, we drive along the seafront to the old port of Tangier.
Having had our passports and the bike paperwork stamped it’s just a 45mins crossing to Tarifa.
Tarifa dates back to Roman times and is now a small, bustling, coastal port. Being on the southern tip of Europe it is frequently very windy and is now a major water sports destination. As a result, it has quite a hippy feel to the town with its narrow streets, white walls and ramparts.
We leave Tarifa and wind our way up the hill passing the wind farms and continue past Algeciras on to La Linea, the border town with Gibraltar, where we will meet Adrian who has kindly arranged this unique experience with which to finish our adventure – biking to the top of “The Rock”.
On a clear day, the views from here across the Straits are stunning, and North Africa looks as though it is very close. We are treated to a complimentary drink at the top then make our way back down and go for lunch in the town. Then the final 140kms back to the bike depot in Malaga, where the bikes are checked and you are then transferred to the hotel.
We meet up in the bar for a pre-dinner drink, and over dinner we are all discussing our experiences and thoughts about everything we’ve done and seen during the past two weeks.
ON ROAD: 0km
On this your final day of the tour breakfast is served as usual at the hotel, and depending on your travel arrangements you are then free to explore the local area more. Transfers to the airport on this day are included and will be arranged for you.
The assistance vehicle has limited space to carry luggage so we ask that you control what you bring. A SOFT 50liter bag should be adequate to put personal effects and clothing into for the tour. Only this bag permitted. Bear in mind you will be in biking gear most of the time so please think carefully what you bring. We would also appreciate it if you can keep the weight down. Any excess gear can be left at the hotel in Malaga and picked up at the end of the tour.
If you are interested in a place on a full tour contact SU to be put on her waiting list & be advised if a place comes free.