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  #1  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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News from Morocco

Bonjour à tous
Arrived yesterday evening in Toulouse, almost stuck by snow in the Pyrenées crossing
A really good trip even under the moroccan rains. All Moroccans are saying that it is a god's thanks those rains even if peoples are died ( cynic but heard)

Roughly

Nador Debdou, no more tracks, almost all paved, we did it almost all the time under rain and storm
Debdou Talsinnt through le Rekkam, a part under the rain, twice blocked by the oueds, crossing tricky. Arrived at Talsinnt by night under a
storm just before the electricity has been definitively cut. Stuck in Talsint one day because no gas, but also no electricity no water and
always rain. Someone brought us gas from Gourama 70 km far from here.
Talsinnt Merzouga, very muddy, col de Belkhacem nice with big stones and heavy steps. Unable to cross the oued at Boudnib, we took the
bridge few km before and towards South East offroad to find the normal track, Not many peoples in Merzouga
Merzouga Mhamid
Informations saying that at Oued Rheris is not possible to cross after Taouz, so we headed to Rissani ( all the gardens flooded ) crossed the
oued and took the track towards Mhamid, stop at auberge Tombouctou. Water in the shotts and also grass in the desert, feeling to ride on a
golf. Some places very muddy, viewed some footprints of 4x4 stuck in the mud, needed to select fine your track.
Mhamid Tata through Foum Zguid.
Crossed a part of Chegaga, but had soft sand, heavy bikes and we took a direction too many North oriented and we got stuck in small soft
dunes, we got a lot of problems to start the bikes, and we get rapidly exhausted and decided to get out through north towards Foum Zguid
and Tata on the road.
Tata Tafroute, tracks at Akka and a track in a Canyon very beautiful, stop at Igmir in the known guesthouse, we eated there and the the meal
will let us souvenirs
Tafroute Aguinan.
Very beautiful palm grove and a very warm welcome by Mr Ali in his very welcoming guesthouse. But the night before was very rough, the
light in the toilet stayed alight all the night with a very efficient synchronization of us. The day on the track was very difficult, specially for my mate who didn't eat nothing all the day and he finished totally exhausted
Aguinan Ouarzazat track through Askaoun, wonderfull, arrived at Anzel under a storm we decide to head towards Ouarzazat by the road and
not the track.
Stop at Bikerhome, to fix our bikes. I met gandini downtown, the news from north are very bad, I call two guesthouse at Imilchil, they
recommend strongly to avoid Dades tracks, jaffar seems to be broken, on internet the weather forecast rain in the north for the next days,
so we decided to take the road to get back north
Ourzazat Midelt, very long and boring, I don't know if it's due to the tourista but I was freezed all the day, arrived at midelt the snow is on the
top off the moutains
In the morning it is freezed, certainly around -5°C, road difficult very cold, closed to Nador we can see all the damages due to the floods
We took a boat which leaves at 10 30 PM.
Soon pics and more detailed report.
Eric
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Thanks

Yes, many thanks for the details. This helps a lot in our planning. Linzi.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Yes, many thanks for the details. This helps a lot in our planning. Linzi.
Your welcome, but keep in mind, what is true today may will be wrong tomorrow

Eric
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Planning

Yes Eric, my bike is a road bike so I now have a better idea of the limitations on my proposed visit. On roads only! It seems that Morocco is like a mountain zone, meaning rapid changes in conditions and versatility needed in clothing. Not to mention caution in actions. Challenging, but that's what we seek. Linzi.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Good man. Top report.
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  #6  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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The weather has been so poor. When I was in Fez in the Spring there was just two very hot days out of six weeks, with many days cold and wet.

A month ago, before our recent trip there were reports of flooding. When we were there we decided not to do the Cirque du Jaffar and many other pistes because of the cold, mist, low cloud and rain. Not to mention the hail storm and flooding.

Eric reports more rain, and I see from the weather reports that it continues to rain in Fez, Marrakech and Ouarzazate.

Let's hope the weather soon returns to normal.
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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I've just got back from our October trip and TBH I've never seen such widespread damage across the country- it's a mess, and in some ways more serious than the flooding in the Toudra area back in '06 when the gorge was wiped out- the weather for the last month (and the last two weeks in particular) has been bad across a much wider area than normal.

The sand has been reduced by 75% on the Foum Zguid to Zagora piste- it was like a different track altogether with the only sand left being in the village with the crossed scaffold poles over the well- this is partly because the big farm that was started two or three years ago has spread quickly and is having some success in driving back the desert but even so, the sand levels were greatly reduced (good for me 'cos I hate sand riding!)

Tafraoute and the South West regions weren't too badly affected, but they have graded the Palmery piste through the gorges at Air Mansour, and in that particular way that usually indicates that they're going to tarmac the place

The Todra gorge was again wiped out and the pioste up to Agoudal and down to the Dades was nearly impassible- Three GS's did get through but with some damage and risk to the riders.

The Tizi N Tazanakht pass , AKA the Tinerhir loop was fine one day, then when we went back the next to rescue a 1200 whose battery had died (long story ) the piste was gone- the first 15KM were ok but just before you get onto the plateau where the two volcanic stacks are off to your left (heading north) the run offs had gouged the track away and it was impassable by anything bigger than a pogo bike or good 4wd- we took the sensible choice and backtracked round the sadly graded and tarmacced other half of the loop from Alnif to Tingher.

The Telouet loop had also suffered badly, but was passable with care on the big bikes.

As we left Marrakech the heavens opened again and for the third time in as many months we saw the roads under a foot of water

Im off for the November trip in less than a fortnight and it's going to be a 'challenging' one


A final note of caution...if you're around Ouazazarte/Telouet/Ait Benhaddhu, watch out for the quad guys....there's a Spanish guy who has 6 or 7 big slow quads and they go ging up the pistes, stopping half way up right in the middle and ripping up the tracks- the leader himself drives like a **** and came past us at speed as we stopped and killed our engines to let a bunch of heavily laden pack mules come past- the locals were noticealy less friendly and I have a nasty feeling that it's largely because of people like him


How long before riding in Morocco goes the same way as green laning in the UK because of irresponsible people
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Understanding

Thanks for the information. Ref. the quads, that's exactly why I think we should learn a bit about the culture and try to "walk in others' mocassins a few moons". This damage seems a nuisance for us but is a real life misery or more for the locals. Still, smile and it'll get better. Linzi.
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Old 3 Nov 2008
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Not getting much done here either.
Came down the same way as eric from nador to talsinnt,
4 briges out, water over my boots but nice quiet ride.
did not even bother looking at the oued guir near Boudenib which was running last april in the dry _ took the road
tried to go directly west from merzouga towards fezzou and alnif but soon came across oued ziz running fast and prob oued rheris later. all flooded around rissani like eric said
next day to nekob by road was gales with 1km viz but yesterday was as clear as, so did nekob sarhro track with 2 GSs 2up no luggage and it was no probs for anyone. i carried on over to iknioun where
the track E goes all the way to Alnif now _ opened in the summer )not on maps)
easy the first 20km for sure. here i tried to go over the pass tizi ousir pass the old way to alnif )on maps) which was a mistake...

these last 2 days brilliant qnd clear mornings, fluffy cloudy afternoons _ lets hope it stays thqt way for a while. wont bother with any high atlqs routes. looks like thick snow at 3000m from Oz. may head SW and W Sahara where they say it has been less bad;

Ch

6 days later: still perfect biking weather here, lovely blue skies, not always windy, 29C in Tata on the municipal thermometre. No significant flood damage in the pistes here
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Last edited by Chris Scott; 9 Nov 2008 at 18:17. Reason: added info
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Old 7 Nov 2008
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I didn't reach Morocco this time in October due to the damper rod in the shock snapping on my bike, it ended up wedged under the armco barrier in Spain, and I went tumbling down the road at 60mph and was a bit battered.

However the rest of the group carried on and had to make several detours because of flooding, the guys at the petrol station at Remlia on the piste to Zagora advised against heading south (Azzy has been stuck there before for 24 hours on a ridge which became an island due to floods), wadi's on the Rekkam in full spate, one with a lorry on its roof further down the river. Very different to last October.

Sad to hear the reports about the quad bikes upsetting the locals. I have heard that it may not be too long before the big dunes at Merzouga may be out of bounds. Any body have any news on that please?
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Old 7 Nov 2008
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I have heard that it may not be too long before the big dunes at Merzouga may be out of bounds. Any body have any news on that please?
I can't see it happening....it's a massive area for one thing and apart from the Army patrolling down the East side inbetween Erg Chebbi and the Algerian border, there isn't anyone in authority around to enforce such a ban.

It'd also upset the local economy as well...most if not all of the hotels from Rissani southwards offer some form of quad or 4x4 excursion and they'd be up in arms if it was stopped.

TBH I've never seen a problem with vehicles on the dunes there...unless you've got some extreme machinery and/or are very very good, they're too much to ride/drive over anyway.
It's the traditional pistes and classic routes I'd be more worried about.
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Old 8 Nov 2008
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..................unless you've got some extreme machinery and/or are very very good, they're too much to ride/drive over anyway.
It's the traditional pistes and classic routes I'd be more worried about.
I DID see some very professional looking rally cars practising around the dunes but not on top of them. They were very fast and all over the terrain around the dunes.
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Old 8 Nov 2008
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We have been in Maroc for last two weeks touring in our Landcruiser and first encountered snow whilst staying in Ifrane. We managed some tracks in the Cedar forest but had to make it through 9 inch snow. Not a problem for the vehicle but with occasional whiteouts and generally bad visability this was enough to steer us away from Cirque du Jaffar.

On to Merzouga where the weather was much better. Perfect mirror lake on the north side of the dunes. Advised stongly (4 days ago) not to attempt M6 Oued Rheris crossing by the owner of Atlas du Sable Hotel... lots of water everywhere.

Instead dropped into the desert from Megta-Sfa near Rissani and had fantastic run down. Big problems 10km before joining piste for Zagora at another oued crossing when we bottomed out in thick mud. Despite walking it beforehand and generally having a good look our inexperience really showed here and certainly not the sort of thing you want 40 minutes before sundown. We were assisted by locals and eventually pulled out by a tractor at 10pm. Big thanks to the guys at Auberge Oasis Tafraout N30 43.137 W004 31.177 without whos help we would been really stuck... literally. Rest of crossing to Zagora goes without problems.

Heading up to Tinerhir today but a bit concerned about the comments referring to the Todra and Dades Gorges and problems with the loop. Will try to find out more and post here.

Any recomendations for accomdation in or near Tinerhir?

Paul and Dawn.
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Old 8 Nov 2008
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Camping & Hotel ... can't think of the name, but it's on the Ouzarzate side of town going out of Tinehir in that direction it's on the left hand side of the road about 2km from the grand taxi rank. The owner is Hassan, secure parking there!

Kira
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Old 8 Nov 2008
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My favourite is Auberge Le Festival which is about three or four kilometers north of the narrow gorge section of the Todra at N31 37.297 W5 33.677, see Auberge le festival. It's a great location and Addi, the owner, is a thoroughly nice guy and deserves the business. He also serves a brilliant 'big breakfast'.

I've stayed a few times at the Bougafer at N31 30.199 W5 32.476 which is on the way out of Tinerhir heading west. Another alternative is the Tombouctou at N31 30.913 W5 32.029. Heading west through Tinerhir you turn left at the traffic lights and it's 400m on the left. Don't be put off by the entrance.

There's a supermarket in Tinerhir that sells and wine.

The first 'cut' of the Todra - Dades link piste is approximately N31 44.166 W5 32.990 and you should be able to get round it without too much trouble. The second 'cut' is N31 44.933 W5 41.086 and IMHO you won't be able to get past in a 4-wheel vehicle unless you do a lot of digging and filling. So there's a challenge for you Take iron bars for levering rocks around plus some shovels.

Tim

PS: A total of £228m has been given to a disaster fund to help deal with the ramifications of the recent flooding and other natural disasters. $128m has come from the Moroccan government and an additional $100m from King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. 28 Moroccans were killed in the floods and more than 200 houses destroyed.
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 8 Nov 2008 at 12:56.
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