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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 12 Dec 2007
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Trip to Morocco - Advice please?

Just thinking of a possible route for my next bike trip.
I am from Dublin, and have done a lot of central Europe, France, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Spain and Portugal, and toured the Alps and Pyrenees as well.
So am thinking the next trip could possibly be, ferry from Dublin to Wales, drive down to Plymouth and then get the ferry to Santander.
Drive down to the south of Spain and get a ferry to Morocco.
If I get a ferry to Tangier, is it possible to ride to Fez, how far is it, what route should I take and how long will it take to get there?
I will be riding a 1998 Suzuki RF900, so wouldnt really be able for difficult terrain on such a bike.
I have tried a google search and couldnt find anything useful, so was recommended by my biker forum to ask here.
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  #2  
Old 12 Dec 2007
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You need to get hold of the Michelin 742 map for planning, then have a look at the knowledgebase in my signature.

Fes is about a day from the ports in the north (Tanger or Ceuta). Depending upon when you land/clear the border, you might want to stay part way at Chefchaouen. I would advise you don't use the road through the Rif via Ketama.

It would be a shame to visit Morocco and go no further than Fes, even if you are short of time I would suggest you plan a route that takes in Ifrane, Azrou and Khénifra, then maybe come back via Rabat and the coast. Asilah is a pleasant place to stop on the coast just below Tanger.


Your bike will be fine, the pic above shows what I went to Morocco on in 1972.

Tim
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  #3  
Old 12 Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post


Your bike will be fine, the pic above shows what I went to Morocco on in 1972.

Tim
WOW...THe houses there look just like ours! Hope there are pubs in every village too!
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  #4  
Old 14 Dec 2007
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I agree, you want to go further than Fes, although Fes is a good place to visit. There a surprising amount of good tarmac in Morocco. IGN do a good map. You might want to ride across the Atlas (doable on tarmac) and down to Merzouga which now has tarmac all the way, and take a look at the dunes.
Agree with the suggestion of Asilah. I have made that my first night in Morocco stop twice now. It's quite chilled out and a nicer place to introduce yourself to the country than Tangier.
Alternatively, (especially if you arrive at Ceuta) you could ride down to Chefchouen, which is also very nice.

Matt
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Old 31 Dec 2007
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A pair of us are going to Morocco the first two weeks of April 08 . We are travelling down thru France and Spain and catching the ferry to Ceute . You didnt say when you were thinking of going but if its around then then you are to travel down part way with us or meet up somewhere for a etc . You can e mail me on hgpines@tiscali.co.uk . Make it obvious what the email is about as i seem to be getting lots of offers re rolexs and bigger tackle Wouldnt worry too much re your Suzuki , if you saw the heap my mates riding down there on ............................ you d cry laughing !!!!!!!!

Last edited by chris gale; 31 Dec 2007 at 20:57.
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  #6  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
You need to get hold of the Michelin 742 map for planning, then have a look at the knowledgebase in my signature.

Fes is about a day from the ports in the north (Tanger or Ceuta). Depending upon when you land/clear the border, you might want to stay part way at Chefchaouen. I would advise you don't use the road through the Rif via Ketama.

It would be a shame to visit Morocco and go no further than Fes, even if you are short of time I would suggest you plan a route that takes in Ifrane, Azrou and Khénifra, then maybe come back via Rabat and the coast. Asilah is a pleasant place to stop on the coast just below Tanger.


Your bike will be fine, the pic above shows what I went to Morocco on in 1972.

Tim
What is the problem with this route through the Rif and/or the town of Ketama? i.e. Any further information would be appreciated.

Cheers,
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Old 2 Jan 2008
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History buffs might recall the Spanish lost more than 12,000 troops in the Battle of Annual and it took a combined Spanish/French army of some 500,000 troops to subdue the Rif Berbers. Subsequently the Spanish encouraged cannabis growing in the Rif as a way of reducing tensions in a 1920s' version of 'chill out, man'.

Nowadays the Rif Mountains are the heart of Morocco's cannabis cultivation industry--the world's third-largest producer of cannabis resin after Pakistan and Afghanistan. And in the same way that you probably wouldn't deliberately choose the production areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan for your motorcycle trip, the same should apply to the Rif Mountains.

Check out the Morocco Knowledgebase in my signature for more details.
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 2 Jan 2008 at 20:05.
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  #8  
Old 2 Jan 2008
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Interesting place but

Hi Tim,
Thanks for that post; I have just "got back" from reading your knowledge database on that other webpage & the link in there:-

Rif War

It does not sound like much of a place for a battlefield tour - the constructions described therein were pretty rudimentary, even for fighting in the 1920s, so I am guessing that not much of them survive nowadays. After that, it would just be a case of military cemeteries and they may not exist anyway since the Spanish were prone to decapitating the Berbers (I imagine the locals would not allow military cemeteries to be maintained in the way that we expect - does anyone know for sure?).

After that, it seems to be a case of there being better places to see the scenery of Morocco, albeit much further south, and the roads are not up to much + some amount of hassle from the drug dealers.

It looks quite feasible to ride through in a day however.

ps I've read all of the GSer views about the area, so anyone else got experience of the Rif area?
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Last edited by Walkabout; 2 Jan 2008 at 21:22. Reason: ps added
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  #9  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Tim, I take it all back.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post

Your bike will be fine, the pic above shows what I went to Morocco on in 1972.

Tim
Tim, I take back what I said....... you actually deserve a Medal........... Respect Dude!

Martyn
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  #10  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post

ps I've read all of the GSer views about the area, so anyone else got experience of the Rif area?
Hey there,

I went to Morocco last year - it was my first proper motorycyle trip (Journey To Morocco - the last couple of posts sum up the trip well i think).

I made the mistake of spending far too much time in the Rif area - I was hassled to buy drugs everytime I turned around and traveling on my own people just assumed that was why I was there!

I then had a minor financial issue when I only got down as far as Ouazzane and panicked.... (turned out I had the cash all the time) so turned on my heal and ran for home.

I still regret not pushing on past the Rif mountains and getting into the real Morocco.

I was very green though! The 'helpers' that will appear as 'friends' can be a pain in the butt or a saving grace. In Ouazzane the chap who came to help me was genuinly helpful and got me into a nice cheap place where I could securly park the bike



But in Tetouan (my first night) a 'helper' took me to a really expensive hotel (40 euros) which I didn't realise was about 4 times the going rate - he did well out of that! Just make sure you know how much things cost and don't be afraid to haggle.

You just need to have 'something about you' so people don't take advantage - but it is a stunning country and you'll have an amazing time I'm sure :-)

Say hello to the donkeys for me.

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  #11  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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Cheers for that Matt, nice post.
So, 10 euros is the going rate for a hotel room?

The thing is that I went poking around in the bookstore the other day with a book token from Christmas and I bought the Michelin 742 map for Morocco that everyone recommends (£4.99 BTW); this is to better follow the Dakar "from a distance" but it does get you thinking, and thinking and .........

I don't think the Dakar riders will have any bother with the drug dealers in that neck of the woods when they disembark in a few days time.

Anyone got more ideas about travel in Maroc?
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Old 3 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Cheers for that Matt, nice post.
So, 10 euros is the going rate for a hotel room?

The thing is that I went poking around in the bookstore the other day with a book token from Christmas and I bought the Michelin 742 map for Morocco that everyone recommends (£4.99 BTW); this is to better follow the Dakar "from a distance" but it does get you thinking, and thinking and .........

I don't think the Dakar riders will have any bother with the drug dealers in that neck of the woods when they disembark in a few days time.

Anyone got more ideas about travel in Maroc?
First went Maroc in 1981 on a 100/7, got pretty fked of with the hustlers in Tangiers and never returned till 2006 to follow the Dakar on my 80/gs and could not believe the difference and all for the better!
4 of us got 2 rooms in Khenifra and it only cost €2 each and was certainly not worth putting a tent up at that price, especially in January, in the morning there was a nice coating of ice on the bike seats, so it was €2 well spent.
Looking forward to returning, and judging by different posts it seems to be a 'top choice' destination
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Old 3 Jan 2008
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Cheers for that Matt, nice post.
So, 10 euros is the going rate for a hotel room?
I have little experience in the rest of Morocco, but up North that's the most I'd pay even in the touristy places....
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Old 3 Jan 2008
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I once took the overnight ferry from Almeria (10 pm sailing) which got into Nador around 6 am. Over the mountains to Fes, stop off for the night. I went south, but you could then back up to Tangier and the quick ferry back to Spain. Definitely worth it, at least just to get the first visit under your belt.

Around December Ketama was quiet, and had no problems. I didn't stop mind you.
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The only other thing I'd recommend is buying your ferry ticket at the terminal in Spain rather than on the road on the way - I got squeezed out of 20 euros (okay maybe not that much) buying it on the way.

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