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

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  #1  
Old 20 Jan 2011
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First time in Morocco

Hey there!
I'm planning my 2011 summer trip, and I'd like to have some suggestions from you.

That's by and large what i have in mind:
da Tangeri, Marocco a Tangeri, Marocco - Google Maps

2 days to reach Tangier from Italy and 2 to return home.
In the middle, of course, Morrocco:
day 1: Northern zone, chefcheouen and ouazzane
day 2: Meknes and volubilis
day 3: Fes
day 4: From Fes to Errachidia (Cedars forest, Ziz valley)
day 5: Todra & Dades canyons
day 6: Telouet, Ait Benhaddou and Taorirt Kasbah.
day 7: Taroudant and Agadir (The last one is said to be too much touristic, but we have a connection there, so...)
day 8: Essaouira (A lil bit of seaside for my fiancée :\)
day 9: Marrakech
day 10: El jadida and surroundings
day 11: Rabat, Chellah
day 12: Lixus, Tangier

My doubt are the following: I left out Merzouga cause I'm planning to go there in August and i think it will be too hot down there, and there's the strong risk of wasting a day.
Am i right or should i reconsider Merzouga?

Up till now i haven't planned a stop at the Ouzoud falls, they're a little out of route, but I'd really like to go there. I won't shorten the day in Marrakech, so i have no idea on how to plan that visit.
some guess: leave out El jadida and go towards the inner land till Ouzoud then north to Casablanca (I think i'll visit only the Hassan II mosque there).
Or: instead of going to Errachidia from Fes, I go from Fes to Marrakech. No Merzouga and visit of the Tobra/Dades canyons starting from Ouarzazate instead of Errachidia.

let me know your thoughts!
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  #2  
Old 20 Jan 2011
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I have only been to Morocco once in the summer

Yes it was Hot..

If you stick to the coast it's OK, but once you cross the Atlas and start to head south east it's Hellish Hot in the summer.

If You have to go then, maybe you could start each day at first light and be in the shade before noon.
It goes without saying You will need to and and

Have Fun

Dazzer
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  #3  
Old 20 Jan 2011
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This is too ambitious, especially for August. There's far too much tarmac pounding on main roads, no rest days, no spare day(s) for problems. It seems you will be spending all of your time on the road, without much time to actually see much.

Also, in August you have to start (ideally) at dawn then stop for the night (preferably at a hotel with a pool) by 2pm at the latest. Otherwise you are in real danger of dehydration.
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  #4  
Old 20 Jan 2011
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are you sure? it's an average of only about 200 km a day.
the longest trip should be fes-errachidia and the latter (i think) should be on the atlas, so the heat could be less hellish.
which places would you consider expendable?
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  #5  
Old 21 Jan 2011
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Too hot to trot!

Tim's right. Rest days are the key otherwise it becomes an ordeal. You need to stop and smell the flowers!

I'd consider missing out Meknes/ Volubilis. Vol is pretty similar to most other Roman sites around the Med. The campsite in Meknes is closed. Meknes is more laid back but the medina in Fes is outstanding!

I'd visit Marrakech and then spend the next day chilling around Demnate and Cascades d'Ouzoud. Then do Casa, pick up a nice clean hotel in Rabat before heading for Tanger.

You're planning to go back to Merzouga in August? When's your first trip?

Happy trails,
Jojo
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Old 21 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo1 View Post
You're planning to go back to Merzouga in August? When's your first trip?
no, no, it's all in the same trip in August
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Old 21 Jan 2011
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Aha!

OK, then I'd stick to the mountains and coast at that time of year.

Jojo
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  #8  
Old 21 Jan 2011
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Try and get off the main roads, for example you could travel
- from Tetouan to Chefchaouen via the coast and Oued Laou,
- from Chefchaouen to Fez via Beni Ahmed and Ourtzarh,
- from Fez to Khenifra via Azrou, Ain Leuh and Sources Oum er Rbia
- from Khenifra to the Todra 'over the top' via El Kebab, Imilchil and Tamtattouchte

To see the best of the Dades Gorge you need to travel north 60km from Boumalne to M'semrir where the tarmac ends, then return--it's a good route so worth the 120km.
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  #9  
Old 21 Jan 2011
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Hi Eirinn,

Just to give you some idea, below is a trip we done in May 2010, bearing in mind it would be a bit cooler than in August.

Day1: Malaga to Chefcheouen via Ceuta (1hour border crossing for 8 of us)
Day2: Chefcheouen to Fes via Ketama (rif mountains are nice) and stayed in a Riad in the Medina, amazing place.
Day3: Fes to Er Rachidia through the Cedar wood Forests and Gorge du Ziz. We went from 39 degrees celsius the previous evening to 9 degrees the next day on top of the Atlas
Day4: Er Rachidia to Merzouga for a camel ride into the Dunes of Erg Chebi for the Sunset
Day5: Merzouga to the route the kasbahs, north up the Todra gorge and crossed over the mountains through a rough gravel road/riverbed (very tough going on big bikes) and then south through the Dades gorge to stay in Boulemane du dades. Long day!
Day6: Boulemane du Dades to Marrakesch via Ouarzazate and over the Tizni Tichkla pass
Day7: Rest day in Marrakesch to visit the djeema el fna market (must do!)
Day8: Marrakesch to Gibraltar mostly motorway as we are not big fans of the more comercialized and touristy regions.

All in all the trip was spectacular and not too fast paced but could have been a little more relaxed. These are my views (for what they are worth) and I know there are plenty others out there all with their own views advice and opinions. I simply could not post all the info here, above is just a summary. I recently wrote a 4 page magazine article based on those eight days, so much to see and do!. I loved Morocco and am subsequently re-visiting this May for 11 days to explore more, maybe south of Marrakesch, the Anti Atlas and Western Sahara etc etc
Safe Travels
Dave
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Old 21 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
- from Tetouan to Chefchaouen via the coast and Oued Laou,
- from Chefchaouen to Fez via Beni Ahmed and Ourtzarh,
- from Fez to Khenifra via Azrou, Ain Leuh and Sources Oum er Rbia
- from Khenifra to the Todra 'over the top' via El Kebab, Imilchil and Tamtattouchte
any gravel road among these?
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Old 21 Jan 2011
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No, they are all tarmac and suitable for 7 metre motorhomes.

I assumed from the reference to your fiancée that you were two-up.
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  #12  
Old 21 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
I assumed from the reference to your fiancée that you were two-up.
You assumed right!
We'll be there with our cruiser! It's the first trip outside Europe with our motorbike, so it's a whole new experience for us.
Thanks Daithi Rynhart for your suggestions, I'll keep them in mind during the replan! I really enjoyed Ireland last year
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Old 22 Jan 2011
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If it's your first time in Maroc, 2 up on a big cruiser, I would probably not recommend this route on the way down:

Day2: Chefcheouen to Fes via Ketama (rif mountains are nice) and stayed in a Riad in the Medina, amazing place.

I came north that way in April 08 on a Triumph Daytona 900 with a bunch of mates, and although the Rif scenery was amazing and most of the road was in great condition there were big potholes and some gravel in towns and on bends

Some of the local drivers were very keen for us to stop, and were quite aggressive in trying to sell us little bags of 'herbs' which they and pedestrians kept waving at us. All part of the experience, but if you are travelling alone, you may find it a bit intimidating. Perhaps save that leg for the route back?
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  #14  
Old 30 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
No, they are all tarmac and suitable for 7 metre motorhomes.

I assumed from the reference to your fiancée that you were two-up.
Hi Tim

We (4) are going to Morocco in Oct and plan to spend 10 days riding as much offroad as possible.

To get as much time as possible in Morocco, we are planning to ship our bikes (any recommendations re shippers?) and flying into Malaga to meet bikes. Is this the best option with respect to towns? We live in Dorset.

We have big trailies and are proficient off-road riders and want to ride as much off-road as possible, while seeing some of the culture and sampling the food.

Can you recommend a suitable route? I have just taken delivery (Amazon) of the Chris Scott Morocco Overland book, Michellin 742 and Lonely Planet guide. So have good cross reference material to understand your suggestion(s).

Thanks in advance

Andy
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  #15  
Old 31 Jan 2011
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Bike shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cockney View Post
(any recommendations re shippers?)
Hi Andy,

Just regarding shipping, a group of us are shipping our bikes to Malaga from Southern Ireland, for a trip into Morocco,and flying out to meet them. The bikes are being shipped in by truck. Check out Homepage or PM me for more info. Might be of some interest to you.

Dave
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