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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #1  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Morocco for beginners

Hi, first post on here. I'm heading off with the wife to Morocco on our maiden trip to foreign lands. I'm just after a wee bit of advice about a route. We've only got 10-12 days in Morocco itself, but were hoping to make it to the sahara, since we were so close to it.

We're not aiming for the middle of the desert obviously, but is it possible to get there and back in this space of time. Also, what is the best map for this, as all the ones Ive seen stop a bit further north, around Sidi Ifni. None say where the sahara starts so how do we know how far we need to go south.

I hope this makes sense. Any advice welcome. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Hi,

Get yourself a copy of "Sahara Overland", lots of good advice, many routes and a good reading with English sense of humor.

good luck !
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  #3  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Hi,

Do the classic Merzouga-Zagora. It's a beautiful and easy piste and will give you an ideia of what the desert looks like. If you've got the time, do also the Zagora-Foum Zguid or Zagora-Tata piste. Also the Erg Chebbi, near Merzouga, it's a must see in Morocco.
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  #4  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingjeff View Post
Also, what is the best map for this, as all the ones Ive seen stop a bit further north, around Sidi Ifni.
On our trip we had the 742 Michelin Morocco sheet and the Rough Guide Morocco Map. They both had their uses, but we generally found the Michelin map to be more accurate.

The two routes described above were probably the highlight of our trip. We did a traverse of the Todra/Dades gorges en-route to Merzouga - well worth it if you have the time.

Enjoy your trip!
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  #5  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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Have a look through the GS Knowledgebase in my signature line.

Much of the Sahara is stony desert (hamada). There's hardly any sand dunes in Morocco, just a bit at Mhamid south of Zagora and a larger section called Erg Chebbi south of Erfoud.

The Michelin 742 map is as good as it gets and covers all of Morocco plus Western Sahara. Your best bet on route planning is to read the guide books, decide where to visit and then connect the places using as many as possible of the green-edged (scenic) roads on the Michelin map. My personal favourites are the Middle Atlas around Azrou and the Anti Atlas around Tafraoute.

Once you are out of the north of Morocco, on non-mountainous roads you can make better average speeds than the UK due to the low intercity traffic volumes. But don't get suckered into too many miles per day; leave lots of time for exploring otherwise your memories will just be of the tarmac.

Tim
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  #6  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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Hi all,

thanks for all the replies. All very helpful. I've got a map just now but it isn't as good as the Michelin one, so I'll get one of those asap. Only thing I'd like now is a wee bit of an idea about possible distances. For example, how long, or how far, is it between Merzouga - Zargoza.

I know its one of these things I should just try out but due to the limited time I'll have over there, I'd like some clue to plan the whole route. I promise I'll help others out when I know relevant stuff. Thanks again.
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  #7  
Old 28 Aug 2007
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Given that it's your first trip to Morocco, if you are riding two-up I suggest you don't try major pistes unless you are an off-road god. Merzouga to Zagora is about 150 miles--the equivalent of London to Sheffield riding cross country through a desert.

My personal recommendation for a 'newbie' tour of around 12 days would be
- enter via Tanger
- motorway to Larache
- inland to Meknes and El Hajeb
- Azrou (stop)

(this route so far is suggested for road safety whilst you get used to Morocco and it's a quick way to get through the less interesting bits of northern Morocco)

- Midelt, Errachidia, Erfoud (stop)
- Tinerhir, Todra Gorge, Boumalne, Dades Gorge, Ouarzazate (stop)
- Ait Benhaddou, Tizi 'n Tichka, Marrakech (stop)
- Asni, Tizi 'n Test, Igherm, Tafraoute (stop)
- Guelmim, Sidi Ifni (stop)
- hug the coast north to Essaouira (stop)
- Marrakech, Demnate, Cascades d'Ouzoud (stop)
- Azilal, Bin-el-Ouidane, Khénifra, Sources l'Oum-er-Rbia, Ain Leuh, Azrou (stop)
- Fes (stop)
- Volubilis, Chefchaouen, Tanger

Tim
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  #8  
Old 28 Aug 2007
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Hi again

Thanks for that Tim. To be honest I had a bit of an idea we were aiming too high. I'll have a wee look at your suggestion. All the places the wife wants to go to are on there so that might do for our first run. Thanks again.

Colin.
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  #9  
Old 28 Aug 2007
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Hi
I fully agree with Tim, he gave a good tour to have a good idea of Marocco, the only matter I see, You will want to return soon in Morocco

Eric

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  #10  
Old 30 Aug 2007
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Hi Colin you don’t say on your post when you are going
I’m doing my first trip to Morocco in just over a week so if we are out there at the same time we could try travelling together safety in numbers and all that
I’m Booked on the ferry from Portsmouth to La Havre Saturday 8th September
We hope to go over to Morocco on Friday 14th sept and make our way round via Larache, Azrou Casscades d Ouzoud, Marrakech, then back along the Dadas valley
We have to be back in Spain by 26th Sept so my wife can get her flight home

If this doesn’t fit in with you have a Safe trip

Bob
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  #11  
Old 30 Aug 2007
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Hi Bob

unfortunately we're not heading off until the middle of october. Ferry is booked from Plymouth to Santander, so a nice wee run through Spain before we get over the water to Morocco. Arrive on the last day of Ramadan, if I'm correct.

Looks like you're doing some of the route we plan doing so let us know how you get on if you could. Have a great time and keep safe. Cheers.

Colin.
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  #12  
Old 30 Aug 2007
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Adding a bit more flesh to my earlier comments. Plus more detail in the GS Knowledgebase...

Azrou is a friendly little town, Hotel Cedars is in the middle, alternatively try Hotel Panorama, or Gite Ras El Ma on the Ifrane road out of town.

If you only have time for the Todra OR the Dades, do the latter. Ride all the way to the top (maybe 20 miles), it's like a mini Grand Canyon.

Check out BikersHome in Ouarzazate. Zineb creates great food and does a mean pizza. Do all of your souvenir shopping at Bazaar Rabab--the best fixed prices I've seen in Morocco.

Tizi means pass. Tizi 'n Tichka is best done south to north, and Tizi 'n Test is best done north to south, which is why the suggested route goes that way.

In Tafraoute check out the chicken, almond and prune tajine at the L´Etoile du Sud (Star of the South) restaurant.

If you go near Taliouine, try Auberge Souktana.

Tim
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Old 31 Aug 2007
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me too

send you sms soon tim. i'm about to change my number so i'll wait till i've done that,will be arriving there on the 9th oct though and not as previously suggested.
hi colin. i'm arriving in morocco on 9th oct and travelling 2'd up also for about 3 wks there, it's my first time there also and if you want to meet up no probs.gonna try meet with tim also to pick his brains on info.
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  #14  
Old 31 Aug 2007
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Tim, why dont you just come along and be our personal guide. Seriously though, all the advice is really welcome. The route you suggested seems a good one and we'll follow it, but will miss out 1 or 2 legs just to give us a couple of free days off the bike. I reckon we'll be grateful for that. Probably stop for 2 nights in Marrakech and Fes. See how it goes.

Kevin, I think we get to Morocco around 12th october, but would be happy to meet up somewhere if our routes coincide. I'll pm you nearer the time and get some details.

Ride safe.

Colin.
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  #15  
Old 3 Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingjeff View Post
For example, how long, or how far, is it between Merzouga - Zargoza.

Two easy days or one long day. My advice is to stop at the midle of the piste and stay at "Auberge Marabout" (N 30 38 429 W 04 45 040). Very very cheap (2,5€ per night, per person!!!) and very very friendly.
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