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Morocco Overland: From the Atlas to the Sahara - 4WD, Motorcycle, Van, Mountain Bike

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  #1  
Old 24 Nov 2012
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Assa-Smara piste in Morocco/WS

Hi all,

Has anyone been doing the piste Assa-Smara (old Dakar piste, also described as M13 in Sahara Overland book) recently?

I would especially appreciate info regarding the condition of the route, duration and safety considering the fact that it runs close to the Polisario controled zone and the mined border...
Could recent events in Mali and Mauri have any effect on that area as well?

Is the gasoline still only available only in Assa and Smara? Any suggestions on where to camp along the route?
We are 2 motorbikers and intending to do the route on monday if anyone wants to join

cheers!
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  #2  
Old 25 Nov 2012
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I did this route in April.

There is a "new" graded piste from Lebouirat to the R103 near Assa, if you follow Chris Scott's waypoints you cannot miss it and it was in very good condition in April.

Fuel at Assa, Semara and on the Tar road from Semara to TanTan R101 at

N27 35.974 W11 37.561

The piste is sandy in places which maybe hard work on a heavy bike, but overall it's not a hard route. The biggest danger IMO is the remoteness of this area, I never saw a sole from Lebouirat until the road to Semara.

After crossing the salt plain you can head for the new tarmac at

N27 09.368 W10 53.830

instead of using the very poor road which passes Hawza if you wish.

With the new piste to Lebouirat and the tarmac road to Semara, you can get from Assa to TanTan with one night in the desert.

I would plan to camp out somewhere before the salt plain, then get back to TanTan or Laayoune the next day.

If I was there now, I would come with you for sure, I love that area.

Last edited by twenty4seven; 25 Nov 2012 at 18:36.
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  #3  
Old 25 Nov 2012
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24/7 - I'm in temporary contact with both by eMail. Main consider is gasoline. Container runs 1100gs and his companion Transalp. So 280 to 320 km with full tank. No extra petrol with them. After Semara their way goes South to Mauritania, I guess. Because they have no Carnet for motorcycle, they will have to turn back before Senegal. I already warn them for last week Keyes kidnapping.
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  #4  
Old 25 Nov 2012
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Assa to Lebouirat = 112Km

Assa to Semara = 380Km

There maybe fuel at Lebouirat, but not a fuel station, they would have to ask about.

I have not ridden a bike for years, but this piste looks hard work for a heavy bike due to the sandy sections?

Have a look Here

Matt
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  #5  
Old 25 Nov 2012
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May be a little late, and info a little old, but we rode the piste two years ago. We were on loaded DR650s, and usually got ca. 400km to a tank. We took some extra 1.5litre drink bottles full of petrol and topped up our tanks as soon as we had room for it.

Our pace was very cruisy and we did it in two and a bit days. You can camp anywhere along the way. We found a nice dry creekbed just south of the wall, near the Assa end of the piste. The next night was a random spot on the side of the piste.

Great riding and as mentioned above the only danger we encountered was the remoteness.
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  #6  
Old 26 Nov 2012
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Tnx for info 24/7. I already send Sms to Container.

Btw, nice pictures from Moroccan desert. I do not plane to visit Morocco in near future again. Further planes goes direction Pamir highway and Tibet.
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  #7  
Old 28 Nov 2012
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Guys could not reach Smara on R-103 and N-14, but they turn West not far away South from Assa. They were now on tarmac in M' Sied. Hard work on loaded bikes on sandy piste they left behind.
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  #8  
Old 28 Nov 2012
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Thanx for all the info, especially thanx to Whiskey for support and being our spokesman
We intended to do the route ass described in Sahara Overland. We had aprox 10l extra fuel in jerricans per bike which should have been enough. We had some problems following Chris Scotts directions when it comes to the first intersection zith Dakar piste. So we did most of the route to Lebouirat on a much sandier route which took more energy and time than planned.

Upon arrival to Lebouriat we considered returning back to Assa due to problems encountered with heavy bikes on sand. We managed to get some fuel in Leb and decided to continue anyway to see if the route improves. The sandier sections continued.
Somewhere between Leb and Tarf An Nous we decided to camp. Two locals on a mini motorcycles came by and told us of rally route which goes directly to Msied. We didnt find that route on our GPS topo or any map, but we decided to try it anyway the next day. The route forks away from M13 after Tarf An Nous, there is a blue mark on a stone pointing the direction (we can post the GPS coordinates later on). It was abit risky decision to embark on a route without any GPS waypoints but the direction right and we had enough fuel.

The route was getting better and better with every kilometer. Generally speaking its a fast plateau piste with some short sand intermezzos, then a short stony ascent and descent into oued which leads directly to Msied. We arrived to Msied with huge smiles on our faces, realizing we "discovered" a new route which was really a pleasure to ride...Highly recommended!
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  #9  
Old 18 Jan 2013
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On my last trip In December, out of curiosity I continued along the road from Assa to Zag until I found the start of the "new" graded piste to Lebouriat.

The first few Km of this all weather piste are a little bit rough, but it soon smooths out and could be helpful to heavy bikes.

Starts at N28 21.488 W9 22.803 green track, the red one is the old piste.

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  #10  
Old 24 Jan 2013
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The red one is the old beautiful piste.

I´ve done that piste a month ago and it only takes an hour to do the new graded piste to Leboirat.
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