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

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  #1  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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London to Morocco

hi,

Just making plans to go to morocco from London, got 16/7 days for the whole trip in the Xmas hols- now just need to convince my dad.

Can any one give me rough trip costs?

I was thinking of just blasting through France and Spain in 2 days and then the rest of the time in Morocco. Hoping to be camping as much as possible but a few nights in big morrocan cities.

Will be around 5000 miles, which is 20 tanks of petrol for my Africa Twin= £500 at UK prices.

is £500 enough for all other costs? £1000 sounds to good for a two week break or does it sound fine. I plan to do stuff cheaply- eating at local places or cooking for my self

any advice is welcome
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Old 2 Oct 2010
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I was thinking of just blasting through France and Spain in 2 days

Easier said then done I reckon in mid-winter, even on an AT unless you really go for it. You will end up pretty ragged, even if the weather is good. Last time in Nov I was just half a day ahead of snow covering the north sierras of Spain.

... camping as much as possible but a few nights in big morrocan cities.

I would say forget camping and all the gear it requires. Spend €15 a night for half-board in basic rural hotels. Will leave you with more energy to ride the pistes in the day (if that is the plan). Pick one, or just leave the cities for another time, IMO.

is £500 enough for all other costs? £1000 sounds to good for a two week break or does it sound fine.

I doubt £500 will be enough, but a grand should be plenty.

Why not fly down and rent a bike for a week off Loc 2 Roues in Marrakech or Bikerhome in Ozt? That will cost the same or less and be less of an endurance test. It's Xmas after all!

Have a good trip.

Ch
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Old 3 Oct 2010
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Definitely echo what Chris wrote. If road conditions are good you are talking about three extremely long days each way, but travelling to meet deadlines, especially with the short winter daylight hours is dangerous and you had better allow four.

It's best to take the ferry to Santander to miss out France but they may not be running over Christmas.

Much of central Spain is at altitude and will be literally freezing--you need heated grips + handlebar muffs, heated jacket + gouchos. If you do decide to try it, check out overnight temperatures for places like Valladolid before you set out.

As for winter camping anywhere, it's a long time of darkness to be cooped up in a tent.

I have experience of renting from loc2rues and an XT660R will cost around £500 for a week, so you could fly into Marrakech, spend a few days being a 'foot tourist', then head out for a week.
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Old 3 Oct 2010
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Just had a look on the rental page, honda xr650 for £400 seems good value.

will look further into this as the long trek cross france and spain doesnt seems that good to me.

Thanks for the tips
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Old 3 Oct 2010
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Hi dmitrij, im heading to Morocco on the 1st november if your interested, leaving Plymouth to Santander then cross Spain as quickly and safely as possible, im hoping to get to Algerciras on the morning of the 3rd where im meetinng an Italian chap for a ten day tour of Morocco, you welcome to join us if possible, if not i will let you know how we get on. Im a bit concerned about the weather at this time of year as Chris and Tim have said it cold be pretty damn cold.
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Old 13 Oct 2010
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Hi Jim, Two of us are thinking of doing the same too but have similar concerns about the weather. Have you come to any conclusion on your travel plans yet.

Paul
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Old 13 Oct 2010
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Hi Paul,
Yes ferries are booked im off on the 1st Nov. I'm extremely concerned about the weather as its already snowing in the High Atlas mountains and some passes i believe are already blocked. I may have to seriously rethink the trip and maybe put it off till spring time (although this will be a last resort) as everything is in place to leave on the 1st. When are you thinking of leaving, and from which port? i would be happy to have company.
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Old 13 Oct 2010
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Hi J

If you find that the Atlas mountains are too cold for comfort etc, and you've booked your ferries already, change your trip to coastal roads (Essaouira etc) and low lying areas.

But Spain will be cold, for sure. Large parts of it are on a high plateau, tho' that's not obvious when you ride there. You can do it but will you enjoy it? If you can cancel your ferry, take the flying option? Anyway, Ryanair has said that they will stop being a cheap carrier in the future, so seize the day!

Let us know what you did....
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Old 14 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim lovell View Post
I'm extremely concerned about the weather as its already snowing in the High Atlas mountains and some passes i believe are already blocked.
Where did you hear of that? I'm on the edge of the Atlas at the moment and whilst the temperatures at altitude are dropping low at nighttime I haven't seen any snow and the amount of rain (that could cause snow) has been minor.
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Old 14 Oct 2010
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Hi JIm,

Thanks for your reply, but we have decided to put Morocco on hold for the moment and are looking at different options/destinations.
I hope you will post a trip report, just a matter of interest what bike are you using.
Good luck and please let us know how it all goes, especially the Spanish bit.

Paul
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Old 14 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Where did you hear of that? I'm on the edge of the Atlas at the moment and whilst the temperatures at altitude are dropping low at nighttime I haven't seen any snow and the amount of rain (that could cause snow) has been minor.
Hi Tim, someone has posted on Adventure Bike Rider that its snowing in the mountains and some passes are blocked, i believe they have a contact in Morocco who has advised them of this.
Will you still be around Morocco at the beginning of Nov Tim?
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Old 14 Oct 2010
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Hi Bartfire, i taking my v-strom 1000 and sticking to the blacktop as much as possible, i will do a write up when i get back mate. Cheers Jim
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Old 14 Oct 2010
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Hi again Jim,
I would have been on a XT660R which is a bit more windy and tiring than yours, I think you will be fine on your DLK. By coincidence I have been looking at DL 650's as a replacement for the XT and making a "Thin Strom". How do you rate your DLK, have you done any green laning at all ??
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Old 15 Oct 2010
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I really like the Strom as a touring road bike, i have only been down a gravel track with it which was quite smooth i wouldnt want to do more than that without some serious mods to save the engine, oil cooler etc from getting wrecked.
I've always greenlaned on my wr400 and 450, im thinking about getting a DRZ400 as an adventure off road bike when i return from Morocco and maybe plan a trip across Russia at some time.
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Old 15 Oct 2010
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I have a DRZ too which I use for green laning, went to the Pyrenees Two years ago on it, it was OK but the bike has two problems which are well documented. One is the seat(a fairly easy fix) and the other is the close ratio gearbox. I have found a thread on the DRZ forum from a guy in the USA who used a set of third gears and flipped them to give a top gear 18% higher than stock. If only Suzuki had made a wide ratio box it would be a great adventure bike. My XT is not bad but the single cylinder vibes can be wearing in long road sections, I would really like something like this Untitled Document based on a 500cc twin, much smoother yet with enough power.
Sorry, I seem to be getting of topic.
Paul



What you want is one of these, Paul. I am getting one made.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 15 Oct 2010 at 18:38.
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