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

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  #1  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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News from Morocco

Hi all,

Arrived in Maroc yesterday. We're a group of six 4x4s. No hassle at Tanger regarding the new regulations regarding rally/raids. Seems to be aimed at the bigger organised group events.

Loads of rain again this year. Lots of flood damage in the north between Ksar el Kebir and Sidi Kacem. The road south from Sidi Kacem has been washed away by a mudslide and is closed for the forseeable future. Traffic for Meknes is now being routed via Moulay Idriss.

The Meknes campsite has been closed down. (I won't miss the toilet block). We were told that they hadn't been paying their bills so they were shut down.

Camping International in Fes has been smartened up and is reasonably busy today.

Will keep you posted on piste conditions as we head south.

Happy trails,

Jojo
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  #2  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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Hi Jojo,
I'm very jealous, i just got back from 5 weeks over there, really would have prefered to stay!!
We had a lot of fun and games with the weather and the resulting level of the water table. It was crazy seeing the Draa still in full flood when it reached the dunes at Chiggaga! We had to make quite a few diversions at river crossings, both off road and on, but our biggest challenges were the 'dry' lake beds.
If you want any specific info, just let me know, i'd be happy to help any way i can

Have a great trip
Sam
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  #3  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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I'm due out there next week, so would be interested in any other updates you can give.

Looks like the weather has improved this week, it's our first trip out so a bit worried about what we might find!! How long are you out there for JoJo, will keep my eye out for you?

Enjoy,
Chris
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  #4  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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Hi Chris,
I certainly wouldn't get too worried, Morocco is a wonderfull country and Moroccans, generally, are wonderfull people.
Just don't expect 'plan a' to come off every time in terms of route planning. As long as you are prepared to adapt to what the weather/terrain gods deal you, you'll have a great time.
The river levels can drop very quickly if it's been dry for a day or two. Many rivers we couldn't cross one day were doable at a pinch the next.
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  #5  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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To be honest, I've spent the last month making notes from all the posts on here, marking maps with various routes and programming my GPS. the main reason for this is that we wanted to keep the trip as loose as possible and see how we got on.

The only plan is to head south as quick as we can to get over to Ourzazate and then we'll play it by ear from there.

We'll hopefully meet people along the way too - as this site proves, the best places to head to are not necessarily the places listed in books!!
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  #6  
Old 24 Mar 2010
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Thank you Jojo, very useful information as we were set to stay in the Meknes campsite.

Seems there will be a few people from the Hubb in Morocco soon.

Last year I spotted hardy any UK plates and we met hardly any other Overlanders.
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  #7  
Old 25 Mar 2010
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Bound to Morocco myself next week on 2nd April first timer as Chris

Heading down south to Merzouga and intend to do Taouz Tagonite piste as my first encounter later is the Mahmid - Foum Ziguid piste via (Erg Chigaga).

We are 6 4x4´s and keep a lot o route options open precisely because of floods, river crossings and river beds.

Weather is improving that is a fact, i am in contact with Auberge Du Sud in Erg Chebbi that is confirming this.

I would appreciate Jojo if you can keep us posted when you can.

Just a question, when it is said that river beds were difficult (they must all be Muddy but crossable) or you had to wait a couple of days

Che
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  #8  
Old 25 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherifsalem View Post
Just a question, when it is said that river beds were difficult (they must all be Muddy but crossable) or you had to wait a couple of days

Che
There were plenty that looked bad initially, but when reccied on foot the bottom was firmer than expected and we were ok to cross.
Some were just too wide and flowing too fast to even think about crossing, on two occasions, the same crossings were ok the next day.
Other times, the banks were cut up so steep and deep that we had to find another way round. No amount of waiting would have helped us.

Sam
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  #9  
Old 25 Mar 2010
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Thanx Sam

And when you say quoting:

"but our biggest challenges were the 'dry' lake beds."

What you mean they were not dry lake beds anymore, you had to find your way around them or through it all the same.

for example lake IKRI....how was it ??

cheers

che
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  #10  
Old 25 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherifsalem View Post
Thanx Sam

for example lake IKRI....how was it ??

cheers

che
Soggy!!

This is the truck after Iriki


It wasn't actually as bad as we were expecting based on what we'd seen upto that point.
We still sank like a stone once or twice though!


There is another lake bed on the run from Smara to Assa that was much more problematic, tried for half a day to get around it but was no way. We slept on it and luckilly in the morning it was quite a bit dryer, still tricky, but doable.
There was quite a bit of standing water in places, but they would have been easy to avoid, it was the thick soft clay/mud that we were struggling with.

But.....it's the moments like that that you remember forever....right??
I wouldn't change the experiences of the trip for anything!!
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Old 25 Mar 2010
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Quoting Sam:

"But.....it's the moments like that that you remember forever....right??
I wouldn't change the experiences of the trip for anything!!"

You have said it all.....

Che
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  #12  
Old 26 Mar 2010
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Tarmac, tarnac everywhere!

Hello again folks,

Headed south from Fes as normal. The piste from Midelt to Imilchil is now virtually all tarmac. The old route down through the forest with the 101 river crossings has now been closed. The new route is a masterpiece and very scenic - but it's tarmac!!! Not much snow left and not much rain compared to the north.

From Imilchil to Tamtattouchte is mostly tarmac with only the top of the Tizi Tinerhouzine still gravel. They've chopped out the top hairpins and the descent is now direct. The bottom of the Todra gorge took a pasting 4 weeks ago and the area outside the Hotel Yasmin is one great rubble heap. Funny how the coaches can always get through, though?

To be honest, none of this is a surprise and the villages do have a more prosperous feel with lots more smiley kids about. It's still a great route.

We're in Tinerhir now, a bit windy, and then off over Jebel Sahro tomorrow and on to Zagora. We also had fun at Lac Iriki last year. Thwarted by gloopy mud only 300m from the Cheggaga dunes. Lac Maider was no better the next day. Never seen it so wet. We had to divert south to find a way around; there's always a way round. All good fun.

Don't be put off, there are still hundreds of miles of pistes and they all go somewhere! The greatest pleasure is finding your own route.

We're over here till 18 April and then back tail-end of May. Will keep you updated, inshallah!

Happy trails,

Jojo
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  #13  
Old 26 Mar 2010
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Thanx Jojo all usefull information, I guess I will keep coming for more...
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  #14  
Old 28 Mar 2010
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Gravel at last!

Hi all,

Left Tinerhir yesterday and began the Jebel Sahro crossing as normal.

And we found 20km of grading in preparation for tarmac laying...

It's the section after the oued crossing around N31.22.186 W5.33.014 to the track junction on the plateau at N31.17.697 W5.35.827 where the track heads east along the valley and begins climing into the foothills. They've straightened out the track, smoothed out the gradients and got rid of the hairpins, especially the nice complex at the shark-fin rock.

Not a good start but I'm pleased to say that the rest of the route is as normal. The descent from the Tizi is as rough and bumpy as ever!

There's a new campsite at Nekob across the road from the Ziz fuel station. (Could be a good stop if you've had problems en route.)

The road from Nekob to the Ouarzazate-Zagora road is being widened. It's not open yet but the've kindly prepared a 30km piste running parallel and criss-crossing the road!

Arrived in Zagora at 7pm and 32 degC. Lovely!

Heard via Peter at Biker's Home that Lac Iriki is dry and driveable so we're leaving tomorrow for Foum Zguid.

Filled the fridge with this morning so I'm off to reap the benefit!

Happy trails,

Jojo
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  #15  
Old 28 Mar 2010
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Thanks Jojo for these updates, much appreciated

I do like the sound of 32c it's grey and raining here in South UK at the moment.
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