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The Epic Motorcycle Tour in Morocco

Within moments of arrival, the magic and mystery of Morocco will begin to weave its unique spell on you. On a recent model GS1250, your tour and adventure starts in Marrakech. You’ll get to enjoy the vibrant bustle of bazaars and souks, ride through cities of exquisitely decorated mosques and palaces, bargain with the locals, and be wined and dined in some of the most characterful hotels in the country – this adventure will astound and bedazzle! Travel through vast, jaw-dropping landscapes laden with snow-covered mountain peaks. You will also have two full days off to relax poolside or explore the two totally different environments we have chosen for you, – coast and desert, at your leisure. The accommodation ranges from exotic converted ancient castles (kasbahs), wonderful old Riad medina houses, to a night in the middle of an almost abandoned Berbere village under a million stars!

Key information

  • Terrain: about 70% on asphalt and 30% on easy gravel trails
  • Bike: rental bike (BMW GS1250)
  • Mileage: 2886 kilometers / 1793 miles
  • Daily rides: 125 - 476 kilometers / 78 - 296 miles
  • Riding gear: not included but can be rented by prior arrangement. Bring your own gear recommended
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Meet the guides

Su & Rob
Read more

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Marrakech
  • Ride to the highest dunes in Morocco at Erg Chebbi
  • Tour includes the notorious 2095m high Tizi n Test mountain pass
  • Essaouira's white medina, port, and 7 km beach known for the watersports
  • Visit UNESCO site Ait Ben Haddou and unique blue town of Chefchaouen
  • Imperial cities and ancient medinas of Fes and Marrakech
  • Admire the famous switchbacks in Dades Gorge
  • 14 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


13 riding days
Airport transfer included: Marrakesh Menara Airport
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Accommodation

Your accommodation ranges from exotic converted ancient castles (kasbahs), wonderful old Riad medina houses, a luxury desert camp way out in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, to a night in the middle of an almost abandoned Berbere village under a million stars.

Program

Day 1: Arrival day

Arrive in Marrakech. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel about 15 minutes outside Marrakech where the bikes will be waiting for you. The hotel is located in olive groves and has a very nice pool area.

Bike handover followed by a transfer to the main square in Marrakech – Djemaa el Fna where all “the action” starts from around 19.30. You’ll grab your evening meal at one of the café / restaurants around the square.

Day 2: Leave Marrakech and head to Taroudant (approximately 235 kilometers / 146 miles)

After breakfast, having loaded the bags into the support truck and had the final briefing, you set off southwards through the olive groves, until you start the ascent of the High Atlas. The road becomes narrower, winding its way along the river gorge with many spectacular viewpoints, leading you upwards to cross over the Tizi n Test pass at 2093 meters. Here you will stop at a local cafe for refreshments.

Frequently the summit is shrouded in mist but if lucky there are magnificent views towards the south. The road continues with sharp bends and many drop-offs into the valleys below.

Reaching the floor of the fertile Souss valley the final 50 kilometers is on the main road taking you past large plantations of fruits and vegetables to our destination. Taroudant is called the “Little Marrakech” because of her nearly 6 kilometers of defensive walls with turrets making her look like a smaller version of “the Red City”.

A major market town for this area many local crafts such as jewelry and carpets can be bought. The town is unusual in that almost all of it is inside the walls, unlike others that are not.

Day 3: From Taroudannt to a surprise destination (approximately 125 kilometers / 78 miles)

After breakfast in the pleasant riad courtyard, a little more time can be spent visiting the medina if needed, then you set off for an area of Morocco that is full of cultural places to see and sights to visit. You will arrive early so you can have lunch at your guesthouse or go off investigating this very interesting area.

You take smaller winding roads through the Souss agricultural area then into the Anti Atlas mountains to your destination – an ancient mainly uninhabited Berbere village or granary.

Built in a circular format on top of a rocky outcrop for protection, overlooking the Jebel el Kest mountains, there were originally 25 houses, a mosque, an agadir, and a prison.

Jamal has transformed his old family house into a small eco-guesthouse and this will be your unusual stopping place for the night. Cozy and with all amenities his wife produces delicious local dishes to try. A true Moroccan experience and a definite must-do.

The best description of an agadir is “It’s a bank”. Every Berber tribe would have its own granary, and each family in the tribe had its own box in the agadir. They didn’t just store their grain there, but all their valuables and important documents – in chambers that are really big "safety deposit boxes." The granary had a guardian (amar), elected by the tribe, who lived on the premises with his family. It was also guarded by tribe members taking turns, day and night.

Eighty kilometers further south there is a beautiful gorge to go and visit, and in the surrounding area, while riding through the interesting scenery, other uninhabited igoudar (plural of agadir) can be seen.

Dinner back in the guesthouse restaurant and then you can sit out on the large terrace and enjoy the surroundings.

Day 4: Destination Essaouira, still a hip place to stop (approximately 310 kilometers / 193 miles)

Breakfast and then you set off for the UNESCO-protected seaport of Essaouira. Skirting around the city of Agadir, you continue up the coastal route, on occasions turning off onto smaller roads to get even nearer the sea. All of this coastline is known for the wild seas and the ideal wind conditions for many types of watersports.

With its shining lime-washed white walls the lovely old fortified coastal town of Essaouira has become known as one of Morocco’s most enchanting places to visit. The present-day town, port, and fortified ramparts now called Essaouira were designed and built around 1760, by order of Mohammed II. Prior to this, a settlement is known to have existed here as far back as the 7th century BC.

Your four-star hotel with spa is right on the seafront. Dinner in their beach restaurant.

Day 5: Your first day off is by the wild Atlantic Coast

A visit to the port is a must. In its busiest period in the 18th century, it became known as the Port of Timbuctu as it received over 40% of the caravans from sub-Saharan Africa bringing goods destined for Europe.

Here you can still see the centuries-old production, by hand, of large wooden fishing trawlers still in action, as well as the impressively large fleet of blue boats used for catching sardines and smaller fish. Early every morning there is a very lively fresh fish market on the quay and after watching this you can go and try some of them for lunch in one of the small kiosk cafes just nearby.

The narrow bustling streets of the medina are home to hundreds of little bazaars and souks where you can buy Moroccan spices, leatherwear, mirrors, and rugs, etc, and bargain for all types of locally made things. There is a thriving production of Thuya wood objects – boxes, bowls, chairs, mirrors to name a few – found under the ramparts in the former munitions stores.

Then there is the 7-kilometer curved beach, famous for kitesurfing and other water sports. They have recently finished a walkway the entire length of the beach. Wherever you go in the medina the locals are friendly, not pushy, and always willing to make you a “Whisky Berber” – Mint Tea!

Day 6: Dodging petit taxis and mad scooters en route to Bin El Ouidane (approximately 412 kilometers / 256 miles)

Leaving the ocean after breakfast, you take the main express highway to Chichaouia (keep to speed limits here as there is always at least one or two police radars and checkpoints) where you stop to refuel and get a drink and then carry on along the national route to Marrakech.

You will drive through the center of Marrakech where you need to watch out for the petit taxis and scooters. A lot of Insh’Allah (god willing) needed here!

Leaving the city, the first 35 kilometers you stay on the main road and then at Ait Ourir you turn in a northeasterly direction and take to country roads. You are traveling in and out of the foothills of the Middle Atlas through grain and apple growing country.

About 150 kilometers from Marrakech you take a 16-kilometer diversion up to the Ouzoud Falls with their 110 meters drop. Ouzoud means “the act of grinding grain” and at the top of the falls, there are a dozen or so small mills still in use. The waterfalls are located at the southern end of a group of gorges formed by the El Abid River (Slaves river in Arabic).

Back down on the road a further 100 kilometers and you reach one of many viewpoints looking down over the beautiful manmade lake of Bin El Ouidane. Continue winding on down to the lakeside, through a tunnel and across the dam’s wall.

A further 15 kilometers and you arrive at a small hotel right at the side of the lake. Watch the sun sets over the water and then a pleasant evening meal followed by a drink on their cozy terrace.

Day 7: From High to Middle Atlas Mountains (approximately 295 kilometers / 183 miles)

Leaving the hotel after having had breakfast on their terrace, the first 15 kilometers you wind your way along the lakeside until you get to the village of Ouaouizerght where you refuel.

Then the rest of today’s roads are very scenic and wind their way through little-visited valleys and villages with almost no other vehicles to be seen. Spectacular scenery.

You cross various small mountain ranges staying north of the High Atlas, traversing through the agricultural Middle Atlas, famous for being the apple-growing center of Morocco. This area is also known for its large forests of Atlas Cedar Trees, where you might get to see the local inhabitants – Barbary Macaque apes – or some of the beautiful butterflies unique to this area.

Your privately owned and run four-star hotel is set in the forest near the country town of Azrou. Very comfy lounge with snooker table to relax and spend time after a very pleasant dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

Day 8: On to the famous "blue town" Chefchaouen (approximately 305 kilometers / 190 miles)

Leaving the hotel, you will refuel the bikes and then continue your journey on smaller backroads taking you through the National Park of Ifrane and on through the unusual university town of Ifrane. Ifrane is a real oddity in Morocco as it has been modeled on a Swiss town and looks very out of place in this North African country. A quick stop for coffee or orange juice.

Well-known for its A-line roofed houses it is a popular place for the wealthier city dwellers to come and get cool in their summers, or in winter spend weekends skiing at the resort – one of just three in Morocco – the other two being at Mischliffen and Oukmaimeden.

Traversing the busy Imperial city of Meknes, you will stop to visit the well-preserved area of Roman ruins at Volubilis, the most important archaeological site in Morocco, and protected by UNESCO. Well worth taking a guide to explain the various different areas of this ancient empire, the site was first settled and began to prosper in the 3rd century BC. You will go to a local cafe for a quick lunch.

Leaving the ruins, you drive up through the small town of Moulay Idriss perched on a hill, where Islam first started in 789 and where the only circular minaret in Morocco can be found. At this point, you will take the faster main road so that you can get to Chefchaouen early afternoon and have the rest of the day and evening to wander this beautiful blue town with its narrow streets.

Dinner in your Riad hotel set in the medina. Try the chicken Pastilla.

Day 9: Chefchaouen to Fes (approximately 200 kilometers / 124 miles)

Today the plan is to get to Fes as early as possible by traveling down the main highway all the way so that you have maximum time to spend in this ancient medina. Your hotel is a beautiful old medina house (“Riad”) with a large central courtyard and a small pool. On parking up in the car park, you will go to the hotel, change out of your biking gear, freshen up and set off to discover this amazing place.

Fes, which is known as the Mecca of the west, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cultural and spiritual center of Morocco. Over 4000 families totaling more than a million people live in the medina which is home to the oldest Madrassa (active learning center / university) in the world.

The team will arrange a guided tour to take around the medina, visit the tanneries, potteries, and other places of interest, and then you can wander the souks and bazaars as well. The guide will arrange to meet and bring you back if you decide to wander alone, though having an official guide to take us around is very timesaving. Dinner back in the hotel.

Day 10: Fes to Merzouga (approximately 476 kilometers / 358 miles)

Your longest day’s drive. You depart from this Imperial City and travel south, destination the Sahara. You spend the morning winding your way through the Middle Atlas Mountains. Midelt is one of the main towns in this region and is one of the fruit-growing areas, mainly apples, in the center of Morocco.

About 70 kilometers on and you enter the spectacular area of the Gorges de Ziz following the Ziz River as it winds its way through the Eastern foothills of the High Atlas on its way to the desert. At the southern point, the large dam Hassan Addakil was built by the previous king to supply the town of ErRachidia with unlimited water. Unfortunately, as a result, the once fertile land and the people further south have suffered due to water shortages and droughts. Er Rachidia has recently seen a lot of investment and improvements being made to it as it has become the head of the region.

You continue to the desert town of Erfoud where you turn onto the original old road, recently repaved, which leads out to the dune area of Erg Chebbi (at 205 meters these are the highest dunes in Morocco) in Merzouga.

Parking up your bikes in a hotel garage Moto Aventures transfer with the luggage to 4x4s and spend the next 30 minutes driving through the dunes to the luxury tented camp not far from the Algerian border, where you will stay for the next 2 nights.

Met with a welcoming drink you are allocated to your tents – all with showers en suite – and can then enjoy the ambiance until dinner followed by a large campfire and local musicians playing Berber Gnawa music.

Day 11: Second day off

In contrast to your first day off on the coast, Moto Aventures has chosen the desert for your second rest day. After a buffet breakfast, Moto Aventures has organized a morning of activities for those who wish to join. You will drive through the Black Desert seeing nomadic settlements and on to the small village of Hassi Labiad where you will introduce you to local culture, the Berber people, see the children in school, and a small Berber museum.

Then you drive on to a desert inn Auberge Café du Sud where you have a BBQ lunch and then you spend the afternoon relaxing by their wonderful pool.

Those who choose not to do the activities will meet Moto Aventures at the inn for lunch.

In the late afternoon, you will be driven back to the camp when you could stroll into the desert, enjoying the peace and quiet and the absence of light pollution, to sit atop a dune and watch the sunset. Take a drink of your choice.

Day 12: Merzouga to Dades Gorge (approximately 278 kilometers / 173 miles)

It’s goodbye to the desert as we set off in a westerly direction through the small towns of Rissani and M’ssisi to Alnif where you refuel and stop for a drink, then turn northwards and head for another of Morocco’s many UNESCO Heritage sites – The Todra Gorge.

The 14 kilometers of the winding road into the gorge from the town of Tinghir takes you through many small villages, with several panoramic viewpoints where you can stop to take photos and admire all the cultivation in the palmeraie (Oasis) below. The Palmeraie stretches 7.5 kilometers from Tinghir to the gorge. The road narrows until crossing the river you enter through the mouth of the gorge itself. Just before entering the Gorge you will park up at a small café and have a snack lunch.

The Todra River which runs through this geological fault has formed 400 meters high walls while being only 40 meters wide at its base and is one of the top rock climbing destinations of the world.

You exit the gorge at the north end and continue up into the High Atlas. At Agoudal you turn back southwards to descend and enter another amazing natural attraction – the Dades Gorge. Re-joining the asphalt at the northernmost village of Msemrir your dreams of riding the famous sweeping bends of the Dades Gorge also become a reality as you and your motorcycle wind your way through these magnificent switchbacks!

You will simply fall in love with our unique accommodation tonight; a converted kasbah hidden in the gorge amongst the trees, with wonderful attention to detail and decoration.

The owner has managed to recreate a beautiful, quiet hotel, with some wonderful, really unique old-style decor inside. A square central tower through the building with balconies on all four sides allows you to look up and see the intricate way the ceilings were originally decorated locally, using oleander branches.

There is a swimming pool located on a terrace below the Kasbah near a small river set amongst the trees. Wander through the building before your evening meal and then relax.

Day 13: Dades to Ait Ben Haddou (approximately 250 kilometers / 155 miles)

After breakfast, you continue on down the rest of the gorge until you meet the main road. You are now on “the route of 1000 Kasbahs”. So many to be seen in various states of repair as you drive along. Lunch stop en route and a visit to the Kasbah Ben Moro in Skoura one of the nicest renovated Kasbahs in this area. On to the film capital of Ouarzazarte.

About 35 kilometers beyond the city of Ouarzazate is the turning to the Ksar (fortified town) of Ait BenHaddou, a well-known UNESCO World Heritage site and renowned for being one of the stopping points for the camel trains bringing slaves from the south. This is also where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.

Built up a hillside overlooking the Ounila River hillside it has a striking view over many deep orange-colored dwellings known as Kasbahs, which resemble small castles. They are made from mud and wattle and are in various states of decay “returning back to where they came from”, the earth! Only eight families still remain living in the town.

You can park up your bikes and then walk across the bridge and wander around the old town to the top of the hill where there is a particularly good photo point.

Your very attractive hotel, another kasbah but a newbuild with lots of charm, is situated about 3 kilometers beyond Ait Ben Haddou. They have a spa and hammam.

Day 14: Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakech (approximately 325 kilometers / 202 miles)

Leaving your Kasbah after breakfast, you turn right and take the newly paved road through Telouet, stopping to visit the now abandoned, but highly decorated palace of the Pasha of Marrakech. A very pleasant section of winding country road brings you to the main artery road Marrakech to Ouarzazarte, which you join for about 10 kilometers before turning off towards the west.

Backroads winding through the mountains and valleys with wonderful vistas over river gorges. A real off-the-beaten route through forgotten villages.

You will recross the spectacular Tizi n Test pass descending on the northerly side and following along the river gorge eventually arriving back at your peaceful starting point in the olive groves south of Marrakech.

The bikes will be checked over while you are getting freshened up and then you’ll all meet for a pre-dinner drink by the pool.

Day 15: Departure day

After breakfast by the pool if you are leaving today you will be transferred back to the airport. Moto Aventures hopes that you will come and join another journey with them in this beautiful kingdom.

Skill level(s) required for this tour: intermediate, advanced

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Advanced:

  • can ride for 5-6 hours
  • extensive riding experience
  • assistance on demand (if required)
  • experienced with riding a variety of motorcycles
  • comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Guides

Su Downham

Rob House

Location

This tour takes place in Morocco. Starting from Marrakech, you will ride to Taroudant, Essaouira, Bin El Ouidane, Azrou, Chefchaouen, Fes, Merzouga, Dades Gorge, Ait Ben Haddou, then back to Marrakech.

Food

Breakfast and evening meals are included. Snacks, drinks, and alcoholic drinks are not included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 14 nights accommodation in 3 to 5-star hotels and auberges
  • All breakfasts, evening meals
  • Bikes and included VIP insurance (water-cooled BMW GS1250 equipped with top box for 12 riding days. Moto Adventures has included special VIP insurance which reduces your total damage responsibility to 1250 EUR)
  • Garmin GPS installed on each bike with our daily routes in Tracks4Africa software
  • Support vehicle: assistance of 4×4 vehicle equipped with first aid equipment, compressor, tools etc., carrying passenger luggage
  • Medical support: staff have medical training
  • Guiding staff: a motorcycle guide plus support vehicle driver. Both have good local knowledge of the areas you visit
  • Official guide for a private tour around Fes medina, tanneries, etc.
  • Late afternoon return transfer to Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakech
  • Return airport transfers to and from Menara Marrakech airport to the hotel (on arrival and departure days)

What's not included

  • All airfares to / from Marrakech airport where the tour starts and finishes
  • Personal insurance: personal medical insurance with repatriation (obligatory)
  • Fuel: Anticipate about 250 EUR for the entire trip following the itinerary (this is not included as people can travel independently and refuel as and when)
  • Drinks, alcohol, and snacks
  • All other optional activities on offer during the tour
  • Bike deposit: Moto Adventures has included the special VIP insurance in your tour price, reducing your responsibility to just 1250 EUR

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Marrakesh Menara Airport Airport transfer included: Marrakesh Menara Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
15 days / 14 nights
from --
Sunday November 14, 2021
(15 days / 14 nights)

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