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  #1  
Old 31 Dec 2008
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Marrakech - Foum Zguid routes?

Just planning a Morocco trip for May (in Land Rovers) and looking at a couple of route options - appreciate any feedback or experience of the areas here:

I'll be using Marakesh as a jumping off point, then need to head towards Foum Zguid so I can follow the lake beds and erg Chegaga Eastwards, then follow the border around to Merzouga and back north.

Is there a good route over the Atlas from Marakesh other than on tarmac using the N9 towards Foum Zguid? I can see some tracks on google earth, but they could be potentially very slow and I don't want to take too long getting south.

Alternatively I had thought about going to the coast south of Agadir, doing an overnight camp on the shore, then heading East towards Tata - all the reports I read seem to suggest that between the coast and Tata is pretty bleak and just rocky harmada - anyhing worth seing here or is an Atlas route better?

thanks!
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Old 31 Dec 2008
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Just after the Tizi n-Tichka you can turn east on tarmac towards Telouet, then head south on piste towards Ait Benhaddou. Good scenery and many cliff-mounted agadirs (grain stores), but unfortunately it's a popular route with the Spanish 4x4 clubs.

A less crowded experience would be to carry on south after the Tizi, then turn south west at Agoudim heading towards Assarag which is a mix of tarmac and piste.

Peter at Bikershome Offroad Centre is a good source of info.

Tim
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Old 31 Dec 2008
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Hi
The route Tim mentions is very nice.There is also the route from Taliouine to Foum Zguid(209kms)Its in Chris Scott's "Sahara Overland" as M9.
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Old 31 Dec 2008
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thanks both -
I had looked at Chris's M9 route but in the revised version it says the route is mostly sealed now which put me off a bit, though, on reflection that might be a good thing if it lets us enjoy some good scenery while not hanging around too much.

Also like the look of that piste from Agoudim to Assarag Tim - I spotted that track while I was playing on google earth the other day but wasn't sure if it was driveable - I think that one might be a winner and use M9 if time gets tight.

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  #5  
Old 31 Dec 2008
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Hi again
The Agadir route south form Essaouira(N1) is a great biking road but as for a Landy you might get stuck behind the never ending exodus of camper vans heading south (i remember last January heading north and lost count of the campers heading south).May might be different though.Even so I'd opt for the mountains myself.
Have a good one.
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Old 1 Jan 2009
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I did M9 the other month and although it's sealed up to KM115 (Akka Ighern), it's still a great drive and leaves 100km or so of piste - latter stages fast and easy between the washed out fords.

If you come down to Aoulouz you'll be well lined up for M9 out of Taliouine, but Aguim-Assarag-Aoulouz is done by old Transits so won't give a Landrover much to think about.

Although I've not done it in 10 years or more, if it's one or the other I'd say the classic Telouet route would be more impressive then Aguim-Aoulouz.

Ch

NB: 'Agoudim' is east of Imilchil. There are a whole lot of 'A' places in Mk...
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Old 1 Jan 2009
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Dirt lover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eightpot View Post
Is there a good route over the Atlas from Marakesh other than on tarmac using the N9 towards Foum Zguid? I can see some tracks on google earth, but they could be potentially very slow and I don't want to take too long getting south.
So many routes, so little time!

I've been to Morocco four times now, and each time (other than a few miles) I've been on different roads/trails to different places/regions - you really can't see it all, even if you spend half your life there like Tim and Chris seem too!

If you've never been there before, then the N9 over Tizi-n-Techka is an utterly awesome road (especially on a bike, moreso than a car/4x4 admittedly) - stunning mountain switchbacks and views that are breathtaking - I'd say one of THE great roads in the world (I said that in TBM actually, ahem), even if you come across the odd truck or tourist bus...

That said, I'm sure you've come to drive off-tarmac, and even though you'll have more than enough of that on your proposed route through the south/dunes etc. I'd like to suggest the following (which may or may not be similar to what others have said above, I'll just go on the spellings of placenames on the Michelin 742 which I happen to have in front of me).

From Marrakech head south on R203 to Asni, then on to Ijoukak. There is a gem of a tarmac then dirt mountain road due south towards Aoulouz (have a look at the Region de Marrakech larger scale section on the 742 map - you want to take the black dotted trail after Ouadouz).

Alternatively I understand there is a corking trail that runs east from Ijoukak to Ikkis (its not marked on the 742 map, but is established on the ground, and in the GPS if you upload Olaf's maps from here: GPS Vector Map Morocco).

Once you get down towards Aoulouz, you can head east to Askaoun - there are a lot of places beginning with A (as Chris says) on this route... and from Askaoun continue east on the dirt road/trail over Tizi-n-Melloul (an excellent off-road route, and possibly challenging at times) to Tachokachte where it turns to tarmac to Anezal on the N10 (not too far from the 50's style American gas station movie set from the Hills have Eyes remake, fact finders).

From there you can head south to Tazenakht and on to Foum-Zguid on a lovely scenic tarmac route (R111).

Alternatively, if you want to see Quarzazate (and Ait Benhaddou), there is a corking piste/trail if you continue east from Anezal to Ighels, where you turn north east on the dirt road to Taguenzelt and on to Ouarzazate (where you pop out close to the Bikershome that Tim mentions).

Something more to chew over?

xxx
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Old 1 Jan 2009
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Jmo: I've done the first few km of the trail south east from Ijoukak and I subsequently found the last few km north of El-Khemis. I didn't tackle the middle section as I was thinking how extreme the Tizi n-Test (which runs roughly parallel) is and on both occasions was solo with heavy luggage. How difficult is the middle section?

eightpot: On the Agouim to Aoulouz trail, the final section of the detour from Assarag to Lac d'Ifni is a steep and difficult climb up the terminal morain that formed the lake.

Tim
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Old 1 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Jmo: I've done the first few km of the trail south east from Ijoukak and I subsequently found the last few km north of El-Khemis. I didn't tackle the middle section as I was thinking how extreme the Tizi n-Test (which runs roughly parallel) is and on both occasions was solo with heavy luggage. How difficult is the middle section?
Hi Tim - I'd say not particularly difficult - the climb up hill (heading south form Ijoukak) is pretty tight and twisty in places, but is tarmac, and the road itself is pretty good all the way across Tizi-n-Oulaoune and down to Ouadouz. I didn't ride the section (marked scenic on the Michelin map) to El-Khemis, as I'd done the route in reverse coming up from the lake east of Aoulouz on section marked 'difficult of dangerous' (I like to hunt those out x) past the Cascade peak. That section is more technical in places, rough dirt and rock slabs, but perfectly navigable on a bike, even with luggage. It's a bit narrow in places for a 4x4, but certainly not what I'd consider 'difficult' or hard work on a bike (I was on my 650R with a top box and camping kit)... it's just a great route that gives you a real sense of traversing the mountains!

It's definitely worth a look next time you are down that way. I understand the alternative route from El-Maghzen (east of Ijoukak) to Ikkis (south of Jebl Toubkal) is a more testing/rougher road - I intend to try that next time I'm there!

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Old 3 Jan 2009
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Thanks both, this is really good feedback - that route sounds good as we're pretty experienced off-roaders and a challenging route would make our day.
A steep narrow clambering rocky climb would be an absolute treat for us!

I'll bring it up on google earth and have a look - can you believe I've only just started playing with this - can't believe how good the 3d mapping is when planning a route!

Thanks again, and grateful for any suggestions : )
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