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

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  #1  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Yes sorry another Morocco thread, but finally.....

Having looked on here loads of times, gaining some excellent info, got maps, Chris Scott's books, and loads of other info, really looking forward to finally driving there in April, along with some friends.

I've done a few searches, and got together a route that I wondered in reality, if it can be enjoyed at a steady pace. Thanks for any help;

TUESDAY THE 5TH TANGER MED - CHEFCHAOUEN (75MLS) mls approx


WEDNESDAY THE 6TH CHEFCHAOUEN – FEZ (125MLS)

THURSDAY THE 7TH FEZ – TINERHIR (282MLS)

FRIDAY THE 8TH TINERHIR – ERFOUD (150MLS)

SATURDAY THE 9TH ERFOUD – MERZOUGA (35MLS)

SUNDAY THE 10TH MERGOUZA – MHAMID (170MLS)

MONDAY THE 11TH MHAMID – FOUM ZGUID (90MLS) – ZAGORA (80MLS) – OUARZAZATE (100MLS)

TUESDAY THE 12TH OUARZAZATE – MARRAKECH (120MLS)

WEDNESDAY THE 13TH MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA (110 MLS)

THURSDAY THE 14TH ESSAOUIRA - CASABLANCA (220 MLS)

FRIDAY THE 15TH CASABLANCA – MEKNES (120MLS)

SATURDAY THE 16TH MEKNES – TANGIER MED (170MLS)


Cheers, Mark
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  #2  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Mark Can't give you any Ideas as haven't done it.

But am planning a similar trip in june, My Ideas are plan on the side of caution (similar distances to you), But to carry maps, GPS and even maybe laptop so that if I cover more ground than I have planned then I can go further and see more.

The key is to plan not to follow your plan??

Here is my planned itinery if it helps.

22nd - 23rd June Travel on road from port to Midelt

24th June - From Midelt (2/3 days) over the High Atlas, Midelt - Agoudal -Tamtattouchte - Boumalne Dades

1 Day Boumalne Dades - Alnif

2/3 Days Alnif -Tazzarine - Nekob - OuladAmirha

2 Days OuladAmirha - SidiRahhal - Marrakech

Total Riding in Pistes 7 - 9 days

Then Marrakech Between 1st and 3rd July

Gives us between 2 and 4 days to return to the port

5th (pm)/6th (am) July Return ferry to spain
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  #3  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Difficult to say--can't tell which routes you are taking from just start and end points.

Fez to Tinerhir? Don't understand your route. If it's over the top via Khenifra you would need two days.

From the mileage you've quoted I'm guessing Merzouga to M'hamid is the direct offroad route, in which case you might want to allocate two days to this,

No rest day? Personally I'd skip Casablanca, and only include Essaouira if there's really a good reason for going there, then you could do Marrakech to Meknes in one day and spend the saved two days somewhere more interesting.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Hi,

Thanks for the replies, and value opinion;

Fantastic Mister Fox; "But to carry maps, GPS and even maybe laptop so that if I cover more ground than I have planned then I can go further and see more."
***Yes, also carrying/planning the above."The key is to plan not to follow your plan?"
***
Exactly, I want to see a lot, but not at the expense of reducing the experience. Your route looks very good.

Tim Cullis; "Difficult to say--can't tell which routes you are taking from just start and end points."
*** Mainly tarred roads and some off routes, until I read your very helpful reply.

"Fez to Tinerhir? Don't understand your route. If it's over the top via Khenifra you would need two days."
*** It was straight down the motorway; Azrou-Midelt-Er Rachidia-Goulmina-Tinehir and then visit gorges etc. But now having seen your route, over the top possibily via Imilchil and down, would be far more scenic. And that's why we're going.

"From the mileage you've quoted I'm guessing Merzouga to M'hamid is the direct offroad route, in which case you might want to allocate two days to this,"
*** Yes correct, again thanks, we will.

No rest day? Personally I'd skip Casablanca, and only include Essaouira if there's really a good reason for going there, then you could do Marrakech to Meknes in one day and spend the saved two days somewhere more interesting.
*** I was looking at a rest day in Fes or Marrakech, but got caught trying to fit too much in, so I'll adjust the route, taking in extra days on dirt tracks and skipping the coastal parts.

Thank you both again, and any other replies, I'll get together now 2 approx routes, and put them to the others.

Great stuff, many thanks, I think I've managed to download OLAF road maps OK, so I'll be marking POI's/waypoints just to pass on, and hope it may be of some help to someone.

Cheers Mark
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  #5  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Morocco tour

Hi Mark,

Are you riding or driving? It's all do-able but as Tim says you should build in a rest day. Ouarzazate or Zagora if you want to chill - Marrakech if you want to go sightseeing.

If your're camping, don't forget that the campsite in Meknes is now closed.

Anyone know if there are plans to reopen it? I'd heard that developers wanted the site for a hotel...

Mr Fox, Midelt to Dades is easily do-able in 2 days if you're going Tamtattouchte-Tinerhir-Boulmane Dades. A bit more strenuous if you're taking the gorge to gorge track Tamtattouchte-Msemir

Marrakech to the port is possible with a long day in the saddle, so you've got a few extra days to play with.

Happy trails,

Jojo
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  #6  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uknomad View Post
Hi,Mainly tarred roads and some off routes...
Yes, but you could do, for example, Tanger to Fez via the main road and Ouazzane, or via side roads and Bab Taza, Beni Ahmed...

So that's why your best bet is to post your routes with more detail so people can comment on it.
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  #7  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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I might be a southern softie, but those miles look too much for a day. You want to do 100-200 miles offroad in a day (missing the chance to explore and take a midday nap, etc), then at the same time you want to spend a whole day going from Marrakech to Essaouira (it should be a quick spin and not much to see there). If you like pistes, concentrate on the Atlas and south of that. Even I went offroad on my GS500, couldn't content myself, those stony tracks going into nowhere are just brilliant.
You can go to Marrakech or Casablanca with a cheap flight any time later on in your life, they are not much fun with a bike anyways.
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  #8  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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I agree with Barothi on this one. If you want to see Marrakech I’d get a cheap flight. Not much fun to drive around! I’ve only ever driven past Casablanca and IMHO from what I could see that’s the best thing to do, keep driving past


Essaouira we loved but it’s out on it’s own so you have to make a determined effort to go there and then you’ve got the boring slog back up the Atlantic coast.


Russ
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  #9  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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Many thanks to everyone for your help.

Tim Cullis; "Yes, but you could do, for example, Tanger to Fez via the main road and Ouazzane, or via side roads and Bab Taza, Beni Ahmed..."
*** yes looked at both of those routes. Question is this route OK being on the edge of the RIF?

Barothi;

***We're all driving Landies, but agreed on a bike would be more tiring, but even in a 110 shouldn’t be that bad.


Russ G; *** Essaouria/Casablanca also agreed, I’ll now look at 2 routes giving different options to my mates.


JoJo1; "If you're camping, don't forget that the campsite in Meknes is now closed. Marrakech to the port is possible with a long day in the saddle..."
*** Thanks excellent info.



THINKING OF 2 POSSIBLE ROUTES BELOW, THE 2ND BEING THE MORE RELAXING. BOTH INCLUDING MAJOR TOURIST SITES/AREAS.


Route 1
TANGER MED - CHEFCHAOUEN (75MLS) - MOROCCO
We’ll be arriving late AM/early PM and ideally want to make Chef before dark, so toll/main N13/N2 roads.

CHEFCHAOUEN – FEZ (125MLS)
Agree Tim, I’ve looked at both routes, “Tanger to Fez via the main road and Ouazzane, or via side roads and Bab Taza, Beni Ahmed...”

FEZ – TINERHIR (282MLS)
Toll/mains roads all the way. N8/N13

TINERHIR – ERFOUD (150MLS)
Dirt track MH4/5 to Alnif, then tarred.

ERFOUD – MERZOUGA (35MLS)
Various tracks in the Erg Chebbi and the odd bit of tar.

MERGOUZA – MHAMID (170MLS)
Dirt track M6/MS6.

MHAMID – FOUM ZGUID (90MLS) – ZAGORA (80MLS) – OUARZAZATE (100MLS)
Dirt track M7/MS7 Foum-Zguid – M8/MS5 Zagora – Tarred N9 – Ouarzazate.

OUARZAZATE – MARRAKECH (120MLS)
Tarred N10 Tazenakht – then 203 over the Tizi n Test and straight up.

MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA (110 MLS)
N8 road straight there.

ESSAOUIRA - CASABLANCA (220 MLS)
301/320 coastal road.

CASABLANCA – MEKNES (120MLS)
Toll A3/A2.

MEKNES – TANGIER MED (170MLS)
Main Toll via Larache. Hoped to get to Sevilla by dark.


Route 2


TANGER MED - CHEFCHAOUEN (75MLS) - MOROCCO
We’ll be arriving late AM/early PM and ideally want to make Chef before dark, so toll/main N13/N2 roads.

CHEFCHAOUEN – FEZ (125MLS approx, don’t really know for sure)
via side roads and Bab Taza, Beni Ahmed, Rhafsai, Ain Aicha then N8

FEZ - TINERHIR (282MLS)
2 days – N8 Azrou- Khenifra, then MH2 to Imilchil – MH1 or MH3 to the gorges and Tinerhir.

TINERHIR – ERFOUD - MERZOUGA(185MLS)
Dirt track MH4/5 to Alnif, then tarred. Various tracks in the Erg Chebbi and the odd bit of tar.

MERGOUZA – MHAMID (170MLS) - FOUM ZGUID (90MLS) – ZAGORA (80MLS)
2 Days - Dirt track M6/MS6. Dirt track M7/MS7 Foum-Zguid – M8/MS5 Zagora

ZAGORA – OUARZAZATE (100MLS)
Tarred N9 – Ouarzazate.

OUARZAZATE – REST DAY

OUARZAZATE – TAZENAKHT - MARRAKECH (120MLS)
Tarred N10 Tazenakht – then 203 over the Tizi n Test and straight up.

MARRAKECH – MEKNES (280MLS)
Toll/main N8/N13.

MEKNES – TANGIER MED (170MLS)
Main Toll via Larache. Hoped to get to Sevilla by dark.

Thanks again for any help, once route/s are sorted, I'll plan accomodation around it.

Also as I understand it paperwork is now sorted on the Algericas-Tanger Med ferry (hopefully get some MAD as well), leaving just the insurance, if we can't get it here in the UK, can we buy it at or near the port upon arrival.

Also a useful mileage tool; LookLex / Morocco / Basics / Distance finder
Hopefully accurate.

Cheers Mark
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  #10  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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Hi Mark,

On the ferry you can only get your passport stamped with a police number you'll still need to process it at the port and present your vehicle importation documents.

Went through the Rif last summer. All OK.

Wouldn't bank on getting to Seville by dark. Meknes-Tanger Med is at least 5-6hrs depending on traffic. Then you've got the delay at the port. You might make it on a bike but a group of LRs will take longer.

Is the piste across to Alnif now tarmac? Tim would know.

I'd still take 2 days for Merzouga-Mhamid. And 2 for Foum Zguid to Ouarzazate. Foum Zguid -Zagora shouldn't be rushed.

Wouldn't bother with Casa.

Happy trails,

Jojo
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  #11  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Hi Jojo,

“On the ferry you can only get your passport stamped with a police number you'll still need to process it at the port and present your vehicle importation documents.”
*** Yes great thanks, form D16 I believe and can be done online, we’ll also take some fiches.

Went through the Rif last summer. All OK
*** Good news.

Wouldn't bank on getting to Seville by dark. Meknes-Tanger Med is at least 5-6hrs depending on traffic. Then you've got the delay at the port. You might make it on a bike but a group of LRs will take longer.
*** OK cheers, will need to look at that nearer the time, 115mls to Campsite nr Sevilla, if not Tarifa or somewhere nearer.

I'd still take 2 days for Merzouga-Mhamid. And 2 for Foum Zguid to Ouarzazate. Foum Zguid -Zagora shouldn't be rushed.
*** Your right, ideally, but with time a bit short, I can only adjust it a bit.

Wouldn't bother with Casa.
*** Yes again your right, and now my thinking

Cheers, Mark
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