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

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Old 6 Jun 2011
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Take a look at my route

I'm going to Marrakech in August for 10 days and I'm planning to rent a 4x4 and spend 4 days in the Atlas over to the desert at Merzouga for a short hour or so camel trek to a Auberge in tents.
I've already brought Chris's book Overland Morocco and read most of it. and loaded some waypoints to mapsource. I've done quite a lot of offroad driving before and a couple of off road driving courses with through my job.
I have a Garmin GPSmap 60csx. And i have downloaded the topo map for mapsource.

This is the route i'm planning on
Any help on the route or places to stay would be great.
Also any travelling times for my planned days would be good. total Distance is 730miles.

Day 1:- Marrakesh - Ait Benhaddu-Quarzazarte- overnight Boumaine Dades?
Day 2:- Dades Gorge-Gorge to Gorge Piste-Todra Gorge-Merzouga Desert Auberge.
Day 3:- Zagora maybe overnight in Quarzazarte?
Day 4:- Marrakesh

I've plotted it on Garmin Mapsource and then uploaded it to Wikiloc.

Wikiloc - Marrakech 4 day Route trail - Douar Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz (Morocco) - GPS track

I have some tracks of some other routes i've found on wikiloc which will be handy for anyone. Google Earth is really useful with the wikiloc routes clickable on there.
Attached Files
File Type: gdb Morocco Route.gdb (139.9 KB, 123 views)
File Type: gdb Gorge to Gorge MH3.gdb (2.2 KB, 115 views)
File Type: gdb Morocco Track.gdb (9.6 KB, 122 views)
File Type: gpx Merzouga-Zagora direct .gpx (58.7 KB, 131 views)
File Type: gpx Dades - Todra .gpx (83.3 KB, 131 views)
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Old 6 Jun 2011
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Morocco in August


I think this will be hard work in August.

Day 1 is straightforward now that the piste between Telouet and Ait Benhaddou has been graded. About 6 hours.

Day 2 will be very long. It'll take an hour to get from Boumalne Dades to the start of the gorge to gorge piste. This could take 3 hours easily depending what state it's in. Then an hour down from Tamtattouchte through the Todra gorge to Tinerhir without stopping for photos etc. Then maybe 3 hours to Erg Chebbi.

Day 3 Merzouga to Zagora by piste is a very, very long day. In August you could have problems with soft sand at Oued Rheris. For Ouarzazate you'd be better peeling off the piste at Taghbalte then go Tazzarine, Tanzikrit, Agdz... Or stay on the piste and overnight in Zagora.

Day 4 About 8 hours on tarmac from Zagora to Marrakech.

But then again, it's a hire car, the fastest off road vehicle on the planet!

Happy trails,

Atlas Overland - Specialist adventure tour company providing off-road holidays for 4x4 enthusiasts in Europe and North Africa.
Tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Arctic Circle, Alps, Pyrenees, Eastern Europe, Corsica, and UK weekend tours.

Last edited by Peter Girling; 6 Jun 2011 at 22:15. Reason: additional text
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Old 6 Jun 2011
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Merzouga to Zagora by piste is a very, very long day.

Agreed! In April, 3 of us rode (2 x XT600, 1 x XL600) this in a day via MS6 from Zagora south then east via Rheris/Remlia (yes, sandy and few distinct tracks!) and Merzouga, finally rolling into Erfoud in the dusk, v tired. We had planned to do it in 2 days, but got carried away! Last year, we rode it in the reverse direction, much more slowly and included 2 overnight bivvys. I would certainly recommend doing it with one bivvy to enjoy the varied scenery and terrain.
As a point of practicality, it is far easier using Chris's book, at least to start with, if you do the routes in the direction described. Also, running Olaf, with MO waypoints configured as a route immensely simplifies things. We did this on ETrex Vistas: awesome bits of kit!
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Old 6 Jun 2011
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Thanks for the replys.

I really want to keep the Gorge to Gorge piste in so may have to just get up early for that day.

Think I may just take the tarmac N12 Desert highway from Merzouga to Agdz.
Is there any pistes on-route i could take?

I don't want too long a days for day 3 and 4 as the wife gets tired easy. Even sitting in a 4x4.

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Old 7 Jun 2011
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Driving times

Hi again,

Day 1 Marrakech to Boumalne Dades. Carry on up the gorge and overnight at Msemrir, then next morning you're straight onto the gorge to gorge.

Day 3 Merzouga - Ouarzazate via Tinerhir on the N10 is about 6-7 hours. Via the N12 it will be an hour or two longer.

Day 4 Ouarzazate - Marrakech is about 5 hours.

Atlas Overland - Specialist adventure tour company providing off-road holidays for 4x4 enthusiasts in Europe and North Africa.
Tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Arctic Circle, Alps, Pyrenees, Eastern Europe, Corsica, and UK weekend tours.
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Old 7 Jun 2011
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Thanks for the information.
I think that staying the first night in Msemrir is a good idea. Just need to find a nice hotel now.

Think I will take one of the Tarmac roads back to Ouarzazate just to ease the time out driving. Any nice hotels in Ouarzazate?
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