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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 28 Mar 2007
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Touring Morocco

Hi,
I have heard a lot about Morocco, was just wondering when is the best time to go there and how long would it take (form UK).
JP
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  #2  
Old 28 Mar 2007
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Avoid late June through end August as it will be too hot. Otherwise it's an almost year-round destination. Personally I feel the best time is Apr-May as the country is extremely green. Sep-Oct are OK but everywhere will be scorched.

The minimum is ten days by using ferries to/from nothern Spain, which will give you six days in Morocco, but don't be sucked in to trying too long distances. Another alternative is to fly in and hire a bike.

I maintain a GS Morocco Knowledgebase, see link below.

Tim
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Old 28 Mar 2007
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It will depend also of the kind of trip you're dreaming of.
To see the Imperial cities and a bit of the coast, a week should be enough.
To see the inner and deepest countryside, 2 weeks will be the least.
This because of the size of the country _and_ of the state of the roads.
To save time and strength and if money is not a problem, I would follow Tim advice about the flight and the rent.

my 2 cts,
/thierry.
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  #4  
Old 28 Mar 2007
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Does anybody know of an organisation that rents out good quality offroad bikes in Morocco - I don't want the guides, the back uptruck, nor the prebooked hotels, just use of a decent offroad bike in Morocco for about a week.
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  #5  
Old 28 Mar 2007
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Just back from a tour of Morocco with some friends in Land Rovers. The whole trip was 26 days with 19 spent in Morocco and the rest getting there and back (from Scotland).

I used the Sahara Overland book and Tims excellent web resources to aid planning.

We travelled over the Atlas off road, did the desert pistes and the Anti-Atlas, then headed off to Tan Tan for a secluded beach, finally driving by tar up the Atlantic Coast road back to Ceuta.

The country was almost devoid of tourists and over-landers. The weather was pleasant, 25 degrees in the desert (35 degrees in Tan Tan though!)

We camped wild and stayed in Auberges when we needed to clean up. The Auberges were fantastic and empty bar our group.

I kept a blog (mainly for family back home). You're welcome to have a look and see where we went:

blog.myspace.com/reggwensie

Also, there are some pictures here:

Picasa Web Albums - fraser - Morocco 2007

Morocco is an amazing country - a lot bigger than it looks on the map and you can't do it justice in one trip....
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  #6  
Old 28 Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick View Post
Does anybody know of an organisation that rents out good quality offroad bikes in Morocco - I don't want the guides, the back uptruck, nor the prebooked hotels, just use of a decent offroad bike in Morocco for about a week.
Speak to Peter at www.bikershome.net He's based at Ouarzazate and supplies bikes with the option of a simple GPS device so you can just follow the arrow on more confusing pistes.

Tim
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  #7  
Old 29 Mar 2007
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Reaching Morocco

Thanks guys!
The reason I want to go to this place is that its not far, yet so very different.
Just wanted to know if I were to take my gs1150 down there,
how much time would it take to get through Spain via the ferries and
what would the cost be?
JP
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  #8  
Old 29 Mar 2007
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Ferry costs depend on dates, so you'll need to do the legwork yourself, details of the companies are in the Knowledgebase.

You can get through Spain in one and a half to two days each way, going either via Madrid or Salamanca/Seville. Ride until you are too tired to continue, then stop in one of the excellent hostals/hotels in the service areas.

Tim
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  #9  
Old 29 Mar 2007
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Riding to Morocco

Just to give you an idea of mileages/time to ride you own bike to Morocco here is a breakdown of my route to and from Morocco last Nov/Dec:

Day 1 Kent to Le Mans via Dover-Calais ferry, 350 miles, 08:00-20:00hrs
Day 2 Le Mans to Pau (Pyrenees), 400 miles, 08:30-18:30hrs
Day 3 Pau to South of Madrid, 500 miles, 09:00-19:45hrs (rained all day!)
Day 4 South of Madrid to Chefchaouen, Morocco via Algeciras, 320miles, 08:15-18:50hrs

All this was on a BMW F650 cruising at 70mph (I know, but I was saving my tyres!) and staying away from the dreaded peage but sticking to main roads.

On the way back:

Day 1 Rabat/Sale to North of Madrid via Algeciras, 640 miles, 07:15-22:30hrs
Day 2 North of Madrid to Le Mans, 690miles, 08:30-22:00hrs
Day 3 Le Mans to Kent (via Dover Calais) 350miles, 08:30-18:30hrs

Cost of ferry from Algecirass is about 120 euros return for a bike, I think? Just buy the ticket in Algeciras, no need to book.

There are endless pros and cons of taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander. If you do then you still have to ride through Spain anyway. It probably saves about 1200miles, but you would miss out riding through the Pyrenees (shame). In a moment of weakness I looked at taking the ferry on the way home, but they don't sail every day and so it was quicker for me to ride all the way home. Besides, riding all the way is the proper way to do it....isn't it? (Standing by for incoming!)
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  #10  
Old 30 Mar 2007
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Renting in Morocco

Dick,

I second contacting Peter at Bikers Home, I've just come back from a 10 day trip with 7 on a rented XT660Z which I rented through Peter. He has access to several other bike / brands

I think once you calc your travel, petrol, time and ferries renting wasn't so expensive.

Also make note of where he suggests you can stay, everyone was excellent, the places we chose from the Lonely Planet wasn't ever as good.

People speak of bad roads, apart from the piste all the main roads where in great condition. I was amazed the amount of European campers touring ...

Good luck

Salut Matt
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  #11  
Old 3 Apr 2007
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Remember that Morocco is very mountainous and what looks like a few hours journey on the map can easily turn into several hours, this happened to me a number of times and prompted quite a few route changes along the way. Even in the south which is relatively flat there are plenty of switchbacks and passes.

Hope this helps.
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  #12  
Old 3 Apr 2007
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Hi, buy a single ticket for Algeciras ferry, that way you are not constrained to one company on the return leg, if you just miss a ferry it could mean a 3 hour wait or another ticket. Tickets are easy enough to buy around the port on both sides.


PK
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  #13  
Old 4 Apr 2007
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In Morocco now

I there now and staying for a few days in the Bikershome in Ouazarzate, any travellers are welcome to come and have drink.
It's allready very warm, but the high Atlas is a lot colder.


Marokko
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  #14  
Old 8 Apr 2007
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I'm currently in the Middle Atlas where the snow hasn't totally melted from the 50cm falls 10 days ago. It's been unseasonably cold and wet but has now started to warm up. It just shows you need to plan for a wide range of temperatures.

Tim
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  #15  
Old 9 Apr 2007
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Smile Terrific

Terrific advice has been given here JP. I can't improve on it so...

I would simply suggest that you go whenever you can. Just go. Learn some French or Arabic or Berber. I suggest the Ruta de la Plata autoroute (via Salamanca etc) through Spain - it's very quiet and you avoid the hordes of tired tourists who will endanger your life.

You MAY have a small problem if your insurance is not actually printed on a green card. I had to do a bit of "smoke and mirrors" at Cueta to sort that issue out. I couldnt have swung it without some French. A Moroccan colleague says that going by Tangiers is easier. As a foot passenger it certainly is. If you crash your bike in Morocco and your recovery insurance doesnt apply, PM me for a possible, creative solution.

See a previous post of mine about a cheap hotel on Jemaa el Fnaa (Marrakesh) with secure bike parking below. Or use the youth hostel in Marrakesh (near the Rail Station) which has good bike parking.

I repeat, just go - you'll love it.
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