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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 8 May 2006
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Morocco - just returned (April-May 06)

Hi friends,
just returned from trip to Morroco. If you need any recent information - ask.
I will post updated waypoints, GPS tracks and map files on my website later this week (will post info when done), if anybody need it urgently, e-mail me on touratech "at" 2020.cz (replace at by @).

Quick info - we dropped car and trailer at Spain near Malaga (drop is correct word as we had car accident). Two R1200GS, two R1150GS. While car and trailer in repair we rode down to Algeciraz, ferry to Ceuta (86EUR open return), then quickly via Tetouan to Ouzzane (night - can advice cheap hotel with secure parking in nearby friend´s garage). Next day around Fes to Midelt. Very very cold - only about 5 degrees C (two weeks ago), rain... Quite a lot of snow around road at Atlas. From Midelt to ElRachida on excellent roads to Risane and to Merzouga (arrived about hour after sunset).
Next day offroad (no luggage) from Merzouga to Alnif (have GPS waypoints and our track), but been trapped by sands around river halfway, too scared to cross it with our bikes and unknown track on other side of the river, we returned back to Merzouga.
Next day refuel at little mechanic booth directly at Merzouga (cost per liter 11.5DH - very good price save you trip to Rissani and back), very good quality of gasoline - when you consider that it´s from one barrel and refuelled by bidons.
Negotiated price for 4x4 car to carry our luggage from Merzouga to M´Hamid (around 350EUR for 2 days), is possible to get probably better price if you have more time to negotiate. One day (most important) will cost about 160EUR. Path is quite easy to find (with our GPS waypoints and tracks in maps it was simple) but sand areas while crossing empty river was not easy and in heat cost a lot of energy. If you don´t know, how to ride in soft sand with heavy bikes - practise it one day around Merzouga before going to this trip. Speed and weight on back with straight hands working as steering damper is key. Cannot imagine to ride this with panniers and all travel luggage. Possible to ride with one rollbag with light travel gear for sure. Rest was just pure joy - riding on hamadas and semi-sand/gravel/stone areas was really nice. Speed around 100km/h, very sportive. Passed over biker on Yamaha WR400 (travelled together with some 4x4s), he did maximum to catch us but no chance in rallye style ride
Next day was simple, easy even with lugggage, but crossing mountains was not good for our tyres - higher speed and heat in combination with quite stony path - results were several damages on R1200GS rims (they had Continental TKC80) and big "balls" on side walls of our Metzeler Karoos.
For few next days we dropped luggage at Zagora hotel and been riding with just rollbag - tools, compressor, spare tubes, light sleepingbag, mat and some food.
Did M7 and M8/M4 from Chris Scott´s book, Zagora -> Foum Zguid, return with version around mountains and around oasis Iriki to M´Hamid. Excellent riding, some really fantastic areas for fast offroad rides. Sand about 10km from MHamid was not easy - we did it whole in night. But possible even with heavy bikes and some previous experiences.
Then ride to Ait Benhadou and finished nice "sightseeing" offroad direction to Marrakes. We had failure of rear brake on one of R1200GS, fixed warped brake rotor with help of one Defender driver who had every tool you can imagine. Very nice person. Crossing Tizi n Tischka - rain, cold. Marrakes - rain and cold. Decided to ride fast on north - around west coast. Rain but not so cold as at mountains. Arrived to Ouzzane - better weather but cold. Return after 2 weeks exactly - Tetouan abour 35C hot. Spain nice weather too.
Damages on bikes from riding - apart from R1200GS rear brake and few turnsignal indicators nothing. Fuel - quite OK, don´t refuel at Zagora in town (Ziz), go to end of town where is good fuel at Shell station! Gas at Merzouga was sure not sans plomb (we have no catalytic convertors, so no problem), gas smelling by petroleum oil etc. Very smoky gas at several other areas.

Tomas CZ
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Old 8 May 2006
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Hi Tomas

I was on the Aït Benhaddou - Telouet piste a couple of weeks ago.


This was at the ford where you met the two guys smoking dope on your last trip.

Write-up: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134454

Tim
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Old 8 May 2006
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Hi Tim,
We´ve been on the same place few days ago More water then two years ago (crossing left side was quite deep really), but the ride itself was easy even with panniers etc. We are much more proud about riding southern pistas - especially one from Foum Zguid to M´Hamid was real probe of our skills.
What happened to that Toyota? Seems like serious flip or roll. Where it happened?

T.
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Old 9 May 2006
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Photo gallery is online:

http://www.ultimad.net/Foto-Maroko-2006/

Hope you will enjoy it, even when the number of photos is larger...

Tomas
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Old 9 May 2006
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All our GPS image files, waypoints, tracks - are ready for download here:
http://www.ultimad.net

Tomas
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Old 10 Jun 2006
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Tomas and Tim,

I wish I'd read your excellent trip reports before setting off for Morocco 3 weeks ago by Land Cruiser. I wanted to do the Dades-Todra link piste (which I successfully did by bike 10 years ago), but couldn't find the start point from the Dades side. I spent a lot of time driving around M'semrhir asking locals and getting lots of different directions, then the sky turned black and a hailstorm started, which turned eventually to driving rain. The vis was very poor, and discretion became the greater part of valour; I turned back, reaching the Todra by the main Ouarz-Rachidia road. I too was disappointed by the way the Todra had changed in the last 10 years, from a wild and atmospheric gorge into a concreted tourist trap.

The Telouet piste was good although I was surprised at how many tourist 4x4s were on it. More fun was the Alnif-Zagora piste, despite 46C temperatures and some serious sandstorms.

If either of you are doing Morocco again and need a staging post near Malaga (where I live), give me a shout.

Nigel
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Old 10 Jun 2006
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Hi Nigel............

Just read your last and previous posts......and have worked out you are in Alhaurin El Grande [I think]............Me too........

Have not got enough posts to PM or Email you.....but you may be able to email me.........May have quite a bit to chat about, ran/run an overland company for more than a few years. Now based in AEG........Top of Los Lomas, Big Red Unimog and thumping XT660X............

Ray
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Old 10 Jun 2006
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Hi Nigel

I've visited Morocco again since my last report, this time concentrating on the area around Azrou and to the east near Taza (which Tomas did also last year). I think the Middle Atlas had much to offer and I'm seriously looking at buying a holiday home/base near Azrou. I'll likely be going again in a month or so, so might take you up on your offer.

Tim
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  #9  
Old 13 Jun 2006
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Near Miss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomas W
All our GPS image files, waypoints, tracks - are ready for download here:
http://www.ultimad.net

Tomas
Hello Tomas,
we could almost have shake hands, as we were on some similar areas but just before....may be next time. I posted a few pics here :

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143267

Have you made a dvd this time around? I'll try to put a short (16 minits) version of our trip on line, coming soon to a computer near you :-)

Thanks for the fabulous pics of the flats in the dunes :-o


Big Bear
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  #10  
Old 15 Jun 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis
Hi Nigel

I've visited Morocco again since my last report, this time concentrating on the area around Azrou and to the east near Taza (which Tomas did also last year). I think the Middle Atlas had much to offer and I'm seriously looking at buying a holiday home/base near Azrou. I'll likely be going again in a month or so, so might take you up on your offer.

Tim
Hi Tim,
I agree with you about Azrou, I love those cedar forests, I managed to get lost doing the "circuit touristique" around them last month, and I didn't see any monkeys either, unfortunately. I'll probably be in Spain from 6 July for about 4 weeks.
all the best
Nigel
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