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

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  #1  
Old 19 Jul 2012
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Planning my Sept 12 bike trip to Morocco

Hi All,
planning my trip for this sept to morocco. I'm hoping to spend 3 weeks in the country so I'm not being rushed and can take an extra day or two in places I like.
I'm wondering what cost per day I'll need to budget for?
I'm on an XTZ 660, am happy with basic accomodation and food, will tent it the odd night for fun.
Thanks,
Ronan
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  #2  
Old 20 Jul 2012
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€1 = 11dh. Fuel is about 10.5dh/litre and I was getting roughly 20-23km/litre from my Tenere. Accommodation can be as low as 75dh for single with shared facilities in the corridor, I rarely pay more than 200dh, my favourite places are gites d'etape which typically offer dinner, bed and breakfast for 120-150dh.

Tajine for lunch 25dh, coffee 5dh, tea 3-4dh, coke 9dh, jus de banane (banana milk shake) 10dh, bottled water 6dh for 1.5 litres, bottled coke 8dh/litre, dates (trail food) 25dh/kg. Beer from supermarket 11dh for 330ml, from bar typically 20dh for 250ml.

In case you've not come across these
- routes through Spain
- temporary import form
- write up from recent trip
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  #3  
Old 23 Jul 2012
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Thanks Chris,
had read your recent trip report, very useful to know the local prices, thanks.
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  #4  
Old 23 Jul 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonanE_IRL View Post
Hi All,
planning my trip for this sept to morocco. I'm hoping to spend 3 weeks in the country so I'm not being rushed and can take an extra day or two in places I like.
I'm wondering what cost per day I'll need to budget for?
I'm on an XTZ 660, am happy with basic accomodation and food, will tent it the odd night for fun.
Thanks,
Ronan
Brilliant place for motorcycle travel. Are you going solo or with firends? I usually find that when travelling in a group you tend to spend a little more as you are less thrifty with the mullah. We were in Morocco for 10days in November last and it was bloody cold and wet in the Riff and Atlas mountains. So September should be good, but don't leave it too late otherwise you may start to get snow falls in altitude already.

There are a lot of opportunites to wild camp, which would bring your costs down quite a bit, but as with anything, ask first and take care. When we wanted to camp, we would usually ask the local community, and more often then not, they would insist on us staying with them. Depending on who it is and who you are, but I usually feel quite guilty if I don't offer something in return for food and lodging. Finger in the wind would usually put the price at 100dh pp and the experience of a homestay, well that's priceless.

We've got a blog on our trip to Morocco if you want to read more.

[url=http://blog.riding2up.net/2011/11/19/mountains-dunes-and-medinas-of-morocco/]Mountains, Dunes and Medinas of Morocco
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  #5  
Old 23 Jul 2012
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Ronan
We are at the same time in Morocco. Just for 2 weeks
Two friends from Belgium, both on a R1200GS. We wan't to do a mixed trip (on - offroad) but the easy way. Offroad = off tarmac.
We ship from Sete to Nador on 5/9 We don't have a detailed trip but we probably go for Midelt, Imilchil, Rich, Erfoud, Merzouga, Tinerhir (Todra - Gorges dus Dadés), mhamid, Foum Zguid, Tiz n Tichka, Tiz n Test, ... and back up.
I there's not enough time we cut the trip and ocme back later
Do you have a trip in mind?
Regards,
Jan
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  #6  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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Another one!

Hi guys!

I signed up to the forum just for this post alone. I'm a first-time overseas traveler (from Australia) looking at hiring an F800gs in Spain and doing a week in Morocco from Sep 3 to Sep 7.

Keen to meet up and ride with anyone while I'm over there. If you are, post up and we can swap emails or something.

Also wondering - I'm travelling solo. Is it unwise for me to camp out on my own? Or should I be OK?

Cheers!
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  #7  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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morocco

We traveled Morocco for six weeks in jan/feb this year and as tim says the cost of living and traveling there is low, we wild camped whilst we traveled through france and spain and intended to do the same in Morocco, but the cost of camping on a site is so low (usualy less than £5) and there are campsites everywhere so it was just easier to pitch up at a campsite than try to scout out a wild site. I would'nt fret too much about your budget for Morocco, it's the european part that will hit your pocket hard.My only regret about our Morocco trip was not staying there longer.

Here's a little video of part of the trip HERE

Last edited by martyboy; 26 Jul 2012 at 08:15.
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  #8  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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I've solo wild camped many times when exploring remote areas that don't have hotels or gites. When in the real wilds I wait until sunset to find somewhere which is out of sight of the piste, then use the 20-30 minutes of last light to set up camp without showing any lights. The reason for doing this is that I don't like to be the evening entertainment for local kids with nothing better to do.

Having said that, camping means hauling an awful lot of gear and in the wilds you need to carry much more water.

Not many places in Spain will allow you to take bikes into Morocco (as they have to give you the bike papers to do this). One exception is MotoAdvenTours based near Málaga. Hana who runs the show is very helpful.


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  #9  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
I've solo wild camped many times when exploring remote areas that don't have hotels or gites. When in the real wilds I wait until sunset to find somewhere which is out of sight of the piste, then use the 20-30 minutes of last light to set up camp without showing any lights. The reason for doing this is that I don't like to be the evening entertainment for local kids with nothing better to do.

Having said that, camping means hauling an awful lot of gear and in the wilds you need to carry much more water.

Not many places in Spain will allow you to take bikes into Morocco (as they have to give you the bike papers to do this). One exception is MotoAdvenTours based near Málaga. Hana who runs the show is very helpful.
.
MotoAdventours are exactly the group I intend to hire from.

I'm planning on doing a circuit that looks something like Tangier - Casablanca - Ouarzazate - Errachidia - Tangier. What do you think would be a reasonable timeframe for a route like that? Or can your recommend something better? I'd like to get a little 'taste' of as much of the country as possible, and ride some interesting off road/piste somewhere along the way, just so I can say I did.
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Old 26 Jul 2012
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route

The route you take will depend on your preferences, I'm not really into cities and crowds, so tend to avoid them, whereas you might love them. What I would say about the route you suggest, is that you should consider going just a little further south to get a taste of the desert regions. You should get a lonley planet/rough guide and a copy of Chris Scott's Morocco overland,even if you are'nt planning on taking any pistes, it's still a good reference. This is the route we took, Ceuta to Asilah,Oualidia,Essouira,fort bou jerif,Tata,Foum Zguid,Ait Benhaddou,M'hmid,Merzouga,Volubilis (sidi ali), Chefchaouen,Ceuta. This is not The full list of stop overs as we backtracked a few times to visit places that are not on this circular (sort of) route.

Last edited by martyboy; 26 Jul 2012 at 15:08.
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  #11  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by jdeks View Post
I'm planning on doing a circuit that looks something like Tangier - Casablanca - Ouarzazate - Errachidia - Tangier.
I would also avoid big cities unless you intend spending at least half a day sightseeing. Given your limited time in Morocco, the route you are looking at is extremely long distances and I suspect you will spend most of your time on busy main roads, pounding hot tarmac.

Early September will still be *INCREDIBLY HOT* so IMHO the last thing you should be thinking of is heading even further south.

Coastal areas will be cooler but not terribly interesting, best to stay in the mountains, specifically the Rif and Middle Atlas where the temperatures rarely exceed 30ºC. Slow down, chill out, experience the country and culture. Spend a couple of nights in Chefchaouen and a couple in Azrou and ride local pistes.
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  #12  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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desert

Tim's got a point about the heat, considering the recent death of two potuguese bikers in Morocco as a result of heat/dehydration.The temperature in Tata can reach 40c in september acording to a Moroccan friend of mine who lives there,so it may be an issue. The desert landscape is so very different from the rest of Morocco that it would be a shame not to see it,but is it worth risking your life for ? or at the very least be able to do little else but sit in the shade, should the temperature soar.
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Old 26 Jul 2012
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Well it can get hotter--I remember 43ºC in Foum Zguid in October 2007. Mind you the next October was 6ºC in Midelt, so the temperature in Morocco is as variable as anywhere else.

Personally I regard 32ºC as the maximum safe temperature for biking in Morocco (when combined also with the direct heat of the sun), and even then you need to stay well hydrated. Next week Marrakech is set to be 44ºC (Fez 38ºC).

The week before last, Marrakech saw a new record of 49.4ºC.
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  #14  
Old 26 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
I would also avoid big cities unless you intend spending at least half a day sightseeing. Given your limited time in Morocco, the route you are looking at is extremely long distances and I suspect you will spend most of your time on busy main roads, pounding hot tarmac.

Early September will still be *INCREDIBLY HOT* so IMHO the last thing you should be thinking of is heading even further south.

Coastal areas will be cooler but not terribly interesting, best to stay in the mountains, specifically the Rif and Middle Atlas where the temperatures rarely exceed 30ºC. Slow down, chill out, experience the country and culture. Spend a couple of nights in Chefchaouen and a couple in Azrou and ride local pistes.
Hi Tim,

Thanks for the advice. But it just brings more questions!!

From where I come from in Aus, I'm fairly well acclimatised to high temperatures (days are 35+). That said, I will definitely still take your advice under consideration! I like the idea of riding the mountains and thankyou for the town suggestions, I'll revise my route to include them. But I dearly also want to see some desert too. If I do decide to brave the heat, can you recommend any particular part of the country where I can get a taste of the desert? I was thinking of heading to Bikershome in Ouarzazate - I figured that would be a good 'launch point'. However, I'm now thinking it's maybe a bit too far from Tangier to be practical.

With respect to distances, the route I suggested initially had around 300-500km of riding per day - otherwise known in my parts as a quick trip to the shops! I figured I could make Ouarzazate in 2 days with a few stops along the way. However, I have no idea what road conditions are like in Morocco, and I'm starting to think I'm being ambitious. What sort of average speeds/max distances are reasonable for route calculations? I was working on what may have been a naive 100kph/60mph assumption for sealed highway....

The trip isn't entirely about riding though - I do indeed want to spend a day in one of the big cities, just wandering around, looking like some dazed and confused foreigner! It seems my 5 day time-frame wont let me do this in every city - can you recommend one big city particular? I'm leaning towards Casablanca, for no reason other than its fame, and less distance from Tangier than Marakech.

Thankyou again for your help (and sorry if this is a thread hijack!)

Last edited by jdeks; 27 Jul 2012 at 01:39.
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Old 27 Jul 2012
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I'm obviously pissing into the wind.

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