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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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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 23 Aug 2008
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Morocco or bust! 2008

Hi there,

Paul and Dawn from Ilkley in the UK and we're driving to Morocco in our Landcruiser. It's our first go at overlanding and we would like ask for
feedback about our route planning.

We're having our vehicle properly prepared and intend to camp in our roof tent, as well as making use of auberges and hotels along the way.

We want to take our time and enjoy the holiday and thought that a 5-6 weeks including travel time from the UK would be about right. We've tried to piece together a route taking in most of Morocco's major attractions and we've largely relied on Lonely Planet for pointers in this regard. Moreover, after the reading 'Sahara Overland', we are really keen to explore some of the desert pistes that Chris describes in his book.

Additionally, we are also interested to visit some of the property hotspots around Morocco, most of which are on the west coast.

We don't have much off-road experience so I particular I'm interested to know...
  • How viable the Cirque de Jaffar would be in a 4x4?
  • About the Plage Blanche and whether it would be wise to attempt this unaccompanied?
  • Of the Todra/Dades Gorge area, whether to do the full loop via Agoudal or to cut across at Tamtattouchte?
We've put together a fairly detailed route plan; however some of the maps are too large to upload here, therefore we've published full details to our website at www.pdriver.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/hubb/ , please take a look.

We would really welcome any feedback. Not just regarding any potential pitfalls, but also of accommodation tips and whether we've omitted any 'must see' locations or routes.

Thank you,
Paul and Dawn
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  #2  
Old 23 Aug 2008
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IMO southern Morocco, its villages, mts and pistes are one big 'must see' rather than any place in particular. After a while put away the guidebook and follow your nose.

• How viable the Cirque de Jaffar would be in a 4x4?
2WD Easy assuming its not washed out. There is one boulder to squeeze around on the offside. If ever you don't feel sure about something, just turn back. There is plenty to see elsewhere.

• About the Plage Blanche and whether it would be wise to attempt this unaccompanied?
It can be unnerving alone, just do it at full low tide and come off or turn round at Aurora. I blew my intercooler off trying to get unstuck beyond Aurora with the tide lapping in...

85 [from Ifni] (109 to Tan Tan) N28° 57.80’ W10° 36.92'
On the beach. I’ve read warnings of nailed-filled planks and getting tangled in fishermen’s lines but saw nothing but pure off-white sand here and one other 4WD. Don’t overshoot the Aoreora fort exit in 27kms. The ship wreck and suddenly softening sand at around N28° 50.23' W10° 52.10' are good warnings, although I hear at the lowest tide you can get up to 10 kms past Aoreora before turning back.
112 (82) N28° 50.76’ W10° 50.79’
Aoreora fort visible on the hill; the end of the beach run. Turn inland crossing soft sand ruts and into oued mouth.


IMO for a treat dont stay FBJ like everyone and his dog (even with the great food) - go to Hotel Tafnidilt near Tan Tan - much nicer, same price. You go right past it on the piste from Aurora to Tan Tan.

• Of the Todra/Dades Gorge area, whether to do the full loop via Agoudal or to cut across at Tamtattouchte?
Def the full loop. Ait Hani (kids!), Ag (nice auberge top end) and back to Dades is great. Not so impressed by the busy gorgelink compared to the many other wonders in the area.

Download the free Olaf maps into you GPS if you can. A whole lot more tracks than any modern paper map shows.

M3 is all sealed btw but still a nice drive.
Mk routes updates here: Sahara Overland ~ the book and online resource
No fuel in Boudenib. I see you are trying the back way to Erg Chebbi. If its on Olaf you will be OK.

Enjoy your first big trip - Mk is the ideal place to start and you have given yourself plenty of time. If you get any killer TLC in action pix send them over.

Ch
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  #3  
Old 24 Aug 2008
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Hi
When I did Jaffar's track in 2006 with a bike, I didn't want to do it with a car, but it seems that the track has been renewed recently and it is easy to do, of course it depends on the storm and the rains wich can wash the downhill.
Some pics here :
Two 400XR in Morocco
Picasa Albums Web - Eric
YouTube - Deux 400 XR au Maroc

Eric
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  #4  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Smile Tamatatouche to Msemir

Hi there.
In xmas 2005, we cut across the mountain piste that joins these two villages, in a standard 1996 Discovery. It was a little hairy at times, but the people and views made for a lifetime of memories. We heard that six weeks later, the piste was un-navigable due to floods. It was not a problem for the car, just the apprehansion of two first timers driving Morocco's tracks.
I have no experience of doing the full loop, but the track here took seven hours for 24k (or maybe miles, i can't remember), with stops for lunch etc.
I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Good luck, and as Chris says, pics please when you get the chance.
If you want some pics of the above track, no problem.
Regards,
Nick.
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  #5  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Chris, Eric and Nick. Thank you for your thoughts, they're much appreciated.

Yes Chris, we plan going round the back way to Erg Chebbi - it seemed an exciting way of connecting M3 with M6. The route chosen is shown on the Olaf maps as well as Tracks4Africa. It skirts fairly close to the Algerian border in places and passes by a couple of Moroccan military checkpoints. Would these be anything to worry about?

Eric, I looked at your blog and downloaded your GPS tracks for Cirque de Jaffar - thanks for sharing. The road looks pretty narrow in some of your photos. Yikes!

Nick, thanks for the advice about the duration of the Gorge trip. Sounds like we need to give that area a couple of days at least.

I'll be taking and making lots of photos and will post them here and on our blog as soon as I get it up and running.

Any more suggestions anybody? Just post them here.

Paul and Dawn
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  #6  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Would these be anything to worry about?

I dont think so. I'll be trying it myself in October in the same direction.

We did it from north of Erfoud upwards in May. Pretty rough going in a car on the limestone and not the most exciting by Moroccan standards apart from some shallow running creeks.

I dont think the regular Cirque route is narrow - or no more than other Atlas routes. The drive from there to Imichil is great btw - with a nice little auberge here:
97 (220) N32° 21.56’ W05° 11.05'
Oudadn Auberge by an apple orchard run by Ahdaous Assou, a lovely place for a lunch break, overnight or simply just to get snowed in. Half board is 120dh per person.

If anyone else has killer shots from Morocco (Atlas & Sahara), bike or car or even pushbike, let me know. I lost all mine when the computer suddenly said 'no'.

Ch
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  #7  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Pretty rough going in a car on the limestone and not the most exciting by Moroccan standards

A bit hard on the car do you think?

I dont think the regular Cirque route is narrow .

I was looking at this picture, Picasa Albums Web - Eric - Maroc J3, Is this on the regular route Eric?

When we started looking at our route, the idea was to do it clockwise - starting in Ceuta, heading south and then finishing up the Atlantic coast. Having re-read the description of M5 I'm now thinking whether anti-clockwise might be better.

We're also heading down there in October, maybe our paths will cross. Bad news about your photos BTW. Have you thought about using a data recovery service - Google Search. These can be expensive but it might be worth your while. I sent a broken hard drive away once and they diagnosed it as completely knackered but they didn't charge me for having a look.

Paul and Dawn
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  #8  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Just looking at the Michelin Morocco map trying to figure out a circular route to incorporate Cirque de Jaffar into our trip. I see that there is a scenic route between El-Ksiba and Aghbala, althojugh the map marks these roads with a black dotted line (indicating difficult or dangerous sections).

Does anybody know this area and able to offer a description?

Paul
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Old 27 Aug 2008
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A bit hard on the car do you think?

No, just a bit boring by Moroccan standards, but going south and ending at the Erg will make it more interesting.

That shot was not the regular Cirque AFAIK. You couldn't drive a car along that could you?

M5 is definitely best going south. There is tarmac up from Dades to west Iknioun jct now. This is also a slow piste but dramatic so you dont mind. And another nice auberge when it flattens off southside.

Thanks for the HD tip. 'Fraché' was how the shop described it, aka: 'utterly shagged' I think. They did try recovery.

Ch
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  #10  
Old 28 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdriver View Post
I was looking at this picture, Picasa Albums Web - Eric - Maroc J3, Is this on the regular route Eric?
Great photo and yes, that's definitely part of the long downhill section into the cirque. I've done it three times on a bike unladen and once with full luggage. It's fairly narrow in sections and I managed to hit a rock outcrop with one of my panniers. Click here for some more pics.

I've seen probably a dozen 4WDs on the Midelt to Imilchil route so obviously no problems. There's a load of stream crossings on the latter stages and a 2WD would not make it.

I was alone at Plage Blanche and retreated quickly (was on a heavy GS).

I've done the gorgelink and the long loop. The gorgelink is easiest done going east because of some steep steps. The loop is probably best done heading north from Msemrir and then south to Tamtattouchte.

I've not done the road from El-Ksiba to Aghbala but the Michelin map isn't particularly accurate when it comes to road conditions. A friend was snowed in at Imilchil last January and the rescue snow plough came in over that stretch of road so it can't be that bad. And a similarly-marked road in the Rif leading to Zouni is now a beautifully graded road.

Tim
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  #11  
Old 28 Aug 2008
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Thanks Tim. All great advice.

Actually if you zoom in to the photo it is possible to make out two sets of tyre tracks. Unless they were caused by Tim and friend riding side by side.

Like Chris said, we can always trun around if it gets too hairly.
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Old 30 Aug 2008
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Algerciras Ceuta Ferry

What are the options for ferry crossings between Algeciras and Ceuta?

The only one I've been able to find out about is with Acciona Trasmediterránea. The companies website comes up with a price of 494€ for a return trip in fully loaded Landcruiser. Even a standard car was 371€.

Are there any cheaper options?

Paul
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Old 30 Aug 2008
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They are not cheap but have a look here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...fa-ceuta-33321

Ch
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Old 30 Aug 2008
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It sounds like Carlos is the man to know.

Thanks,
Paul
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  #15  
Old 1 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdriver View Post
I was looking at this picture, Picasa Albums Web - Eric - Maroc J3, Is this on the regular route Eric?
Yes I think. But I read on french forum that many 4wds have done it recently, and it's easy now with a car 4wd, but every thing can chage rapidely on this type of track, it's better to have a " B plan " in case.
I believe there is an other track to avoid this downhill, through North. which is passing in a canyon.

Eric
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