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

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  #1  
Old 16 Dec 2013
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Morocco Virgin Needs Advice Please

Hi Everyone

Myself and 2 friends are planning to ride down to Marrakech in April next year (2014) from the UK.

We'd like to try and avoid toll roads in France / Spain but it's not imperative.

We have allowed 4 days to get to Marrakech, 7 days in and around Marrakech and then 4 days to ride back to Manchester.

I am looking for a good route through France / Spain and looking for advice on B&B's in both countries on our way down and back.

Looking to cross at Algeciras (unless a new crossing opens up by then that is easier to use).

Not sure whether to stay in Marrakech centre or to take a guest house outside so open to suggestions on that also.

I know it's a big ask for people to recommend things but any help will be gratefully received.

Kind regards and ride safe

WonkyD
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  #2  
Old 16 Dec 2013
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If you catch the Porstmouth to Santander Ferry you could be in Morocco in 48 hours from leaving the UK. Most of the route through spain is not tolled except a short stretch south of Seville.

You could easily be in Marrakech in 3 days from leaving the UK. This year (in a 4x4) we left Friday 17:30 from Porstmouth and were in Morocco by 21:00 on the Sunday, ferry from Algerciras to Tanger Med.

For a first time in Marrekech I'd reccomend a Riad in the Medina, I'm sure some other bikers could reccomend somewhere with parking/storage. I use Hotel Islane opposite the Koutoubia Mosque, cheap central but nothing special. Avoid Hotel Ali in Jemaa El Fna unless you want to be kept awake by backpackers!

Last edited by TheWarden; 16 Dec 2013 at 18:32. Reason: I can't type
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  #3  
Old 16 Dec 2013
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Hi WonkyD

To make the best use of your time I'd autoroute thhrough France and take the National routes where possible so:- Calais-Rouen autoroute then Chartres - Borseaux on the N10. The N10 from Bordeaux to the Spanish border has been upgraded to autoroute standard but I can't remember if it's tolled.

You'll find lots of small family run hotels and B&Bs on the National roads

Into Spain at Irun then Vitoria-Gasteiz. Then take the autopista Burgos, Valadolid, Salamanca, Cacares, Merida, Seville. Up to this point all the autopistas are free and there's not much traffic. From Seville there's a small toll or take the N1V and then the N340 coast road to Algeciras.

In Spain, There are plenty of excellent value hostals en route with good rooms and good food. Much cheaper than the budget hotel chains and lots more character.

Cross Algeciras - TangerMed or Ceuta. Buy your tickets from Carlos http://http://www.viajesnormandie.net/

Plenty of bike friendly accommodation in Marrakech check here:- http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ntribute-39077

I'd only stay a couple of nights in Marrakech - you need to get away from the city and see more of the country.

Buy Chris's book! Morocco Overland ~ the website for the book

Hope that helps,

Peter
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  #4  
Old 16 Dec 2013
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I agree with the above; I was in Marrakech this summer, and I saw quite a lot in just one day! I rode south over the mountains to Ouarzazate. It's a great mountain road, and what lies south was, for me and my first time in the country, what I imagined Morocco to be. Definitely go for a wander! South again, and you'll be at the desert!

Also, if you go along the Med coastal road south through Spain, there's a lot of toll roads.

Have a great ride.
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  #5  
Old 16 Dec 2013
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Suggested French and Spanish routes plus accommodation waypoints here: France, Spain, Gibraltar, ferries and ports

You can use the motorway from Tanger Med to Marrakech, cost is probably less than £20. Nevertheless, just four days Manchester to Marrakech is really pushing it. Taking the Santander ferry would help reduce the strain a bit.

.
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  #6  
Old 17 Dec 2013
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I stayed on a cheap hotel right on the main square in Marrakech, with a roof deck overlooking the square. It was pretty spectacular; the only problem was they didn't sell alcohol, but that was remedied with BYO.

I've only been to Morocco once, but not sure that I would spend seven days in and around Marrakech. Fez is also very cool, as well as the mountains and desert to the south, not to mention the beaches to the southwest, the dunes to the SE, etc.
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  #7  
Old 17 Dec 2013
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Thanks

Thanks for all the replies so far.

I have been looking at places in Marrakech itself and also in the village of Imlil which is about 60km outside Marrakech.

We'd more than likely stay outside of the hustle bustle of Marrakech and ride in there possibly a couple of days.

Tim - many thanks for the heads up. The ride down will be 4.5 days as we are all meeting up on the Thursday night down in Ashford so we can get a good nights sleep before catching an early train across on Good Friday. We have allowed 5 days to get home if needs be with an extra day as contingency built in.

Will still look into the Santander route but they other 2 want to ride down through France as well as Spain.

Many thanks for all the waypoints etc ... VERY much appreciated.

WonkyD
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Old 27 Dec 2013
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City worth seeing

I always hear Marrakech and Fez so I have to mention Essaouira. In my opinion it's a great place to visit especially if you are on a short trip. For Fez everybody recommends a guide since you can easily get lost (I haven't visited it yet, not into citys too much), Essaouira is small and offers a lot, the old Wall with the cannons, the port, the medina, the woodworkers at the Port wall, has its own beach, plus there is a optin to daytrip to Sidi Kaouki taking the beach-dunes-piste exit. It's easy to find since there are lots of quad-tracks, so again no guide required (enter the beach after the river to respect the tourists and camel guys) I've done it in 4x4 several times, it's tight to follow quad tracks in a HJ61 but at least you can't get lost there.

Just my 2 cents
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  #9  
Old 28 Dec 2013
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hi from santander ferry port ive got down to the port of algeciras in southern Spain on a 125 vespa in 24 hours the roads though Spain are great .
in Morocco centro there are loads of cheap rooms just don't leave your bike unlocked or you bags unattended "" otherwise its an amazing place
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Old 29 Dec 2013
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If you can't let your bike unlocked and bags unattended: Where in the world can you?!?
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  #11  
Old 30 Dec 2013
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I'd also recommend the ferry to Santander. Roads through Spain are excellent and toll free. That saves as much time and energy for Morocco. Our first stop in Morocco was Asilah (spellings vary) on the coast. The Motorway past Rabat ad Casablanca is cheap and very easy driving - best if you want to make the fastest trip to Marrakesh
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Old 3 Jan 2014
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I'd reccommend taking the ferry to Northern Spain; I've left Bilbao at 08:00hrs and arrived in Torremolinos (2 hours from Algeciras) at 19:30hrs riding a KTM 640 adv, all on toll free roads with a 45 min lunch stop.
If you're riding through France the A75 from Clermont Ferrand to Beziers is toll free (apart from the amazing Millau bridge which is 6 Euros in a van)
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  #13  
Old 5 Jan 2014
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:-) Thank you

You guys are great ..... I have the Morocco Overland book and am working my way through it.

The guys I'm going with want to ride down through France so I'll be looking for a good route through.

Encouraging to know of others experiences.

We are looking to stay at Imlil, in the foothills of the High Atlas (60km south east of Marrakech) and then use that as a base.

Having been to Marrakech on holidays I didn't want the hustle bustle everyday but we are looking at going there and staying overnight to save riding back at night.

PLEASE keep the advice coming guys .... as the Tesco ad says .... "Every little helps"
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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2014
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For some pics of Imlil have a look at posts 12 and 13 at Six weeks in May/June 2012
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  #15  
Old 6 Jan 2014
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Thanks Tim

Just looked at the pics ... am now really looking forward to going there. Think it will be a good base rather than the centre of Marrakech.
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