Morocco is not exactly around the corner from Italy, but we are well connected by ferry from Genova and proves a good place to ride in March. Since we discovered Tunisia, Morocco seems to be the logical follow up for our off season riding.
This will be our first trip to Marocco and for the first time we will open the possibility to anyone who wants to join us in this adventure.
We have been studying the programme for the past few months and we have decided to seek out scenic Morocco, concentrating on the central part of the country, leaving the big cities alone and focusing on the kasbhas scattered around the Medium and High Atlas and on the smaller oasis on the verge of the Sahara and Algerian border.
Our daily average riding will be around 300km per day and we will also travel on some easy gravel roads. Nothing crazy, just some of the more scenic out of the way short tracks which cover most of Morocco.
If you have spirit of adventure, but, like us, prefer the comfort of a proper bed, warm dinner and a private bathroom in the evenings, then join us. We shall have a great time!
1 & 2: We need to cover the great distance
that separates Genova in Liguria from Tanger in Morocco. Bring a nice
book and enjoy the sailing...
3: Our first stop will be Chefchaouen. We will then sadly have to skip the
Rif and head to Fès via Oazzane on the R501. We skip the Rif for security
rasons. The northern coastline of Morocco survives on the production of hashish and the hashish vendors become very aggressive along the N2 and create unpleasant
circumstances for us riding bikes... best avoided...
Day 4: It is early March, so we have decided to avoid crossing the Atlas mountains on the way south and leave it for our way back later on in the month. We therefore head for Ifrane and Azrou. Explore some of the Cedar forrests and then take the N8 skirting the Medium Atlas on the westside. Our overnight stop will be in a small village called Afourer (310km)
Day 5: We head for Marrakesch, but before we do so, we ride around a green lake near Bin el Ouidane and then view the amazing Ouzoud waterfalls. We reach Marrakesh in the early afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to visit this important Moroccan city. (230km)
Day 6: We cross the High Atlas on the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. We also take a short detour to Telouet and stop also in Ait Benhaddou, UNESCO heritage and film set for many important films, like Lawrence of Arabia and the Gladiator. We then follow the Vallèe du Draa till we reach Zagora enjoying the continuous succession of small kasbahs and oasis. (400km)
Day 7: We have two nights in Zagora this means today is either a rest day, a 4x4 excursion on offer through our hotel, or a ride with our bikes to the outskirts of the Sahara all the way to Mhamid and back (200km)
Day 8: We run the Vallèee du Draa backwards and head for Boumalne Dades along the Vallèee du Dades along the "Way of the Kasbahs", the N10. We have a chance to view things the opposite way and stop where we couldn't on the way down. If we have time we can explore the gravel track to Tizi n' Tazazert south out of Boumalne (265km)
Day 9: Two natural gorges await, the Gorges di Dades and the Gorges du Todra. We design a fantastic 150km arch north to connect the two gorges and also climb an incredible 2700 masl (close to Stelvio pass height) pass in the process. Once we get back to the N10 at Tinerhir, we shall do the easy and fast transfer to Erfoud. (360km)
Day 10: two nights in Erfoud means a second loop ride in the desert and this time we hit the magnificent dunes in Merzouga. This is the most famous sandy desert in Marocco... we may rent quad bikes or take a 4x4 excursion. Our bikes are not able to tackle real sand in rental configuration.
Day 11: time to get back to the north and back over the High and Medium Atlas. We take the N13 all the way to Mekenes. (410km)
Day 12: we return to Tanger and need to be at the port by 3pm
Day 13 & 14: we sail back to Genova and land in Genova at 12pm on Saturday 27th March 2011.