Now the dust has settled, thank you for a great week. An amazing trip. Hope to repeat it in future. HB
An easy introduction to small-group, back-road trail biking in Morocco suited to seasoned riders with little or no off-road riding experience. Your time is maximised by flying in and renting a bike before crossing the Atlas mountains for an 800/1100-kilometre lap of southern Morocco.
Using my near 40 years experience of riding in North Africa and knowledge based on writing Morocco Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, we follow exhilarating mountain backroads with easy dirt-road excursions of 2-3 hours, covering up to 220km a day. With the scenery, deserted roads and trails, great food and cosy lodgings, it all adds up to a memorable mini-adventure which will leave you satisfied rather than exhausted.
What a brilliant trip that was. A great balance of challenge and relaxation. RS
We would like to thank you for a beautiful trip that will remain in our memories forever. RBE
Interesting mix of people + your amazing quiet knowledge of the area made it all feel so easy. JT.
Thank you so much for all your help and guiding. The tour has been an indelible memory for me. JK
You’ve ruined green laning in the UK for me now ;-) TY
Great mix of rough and smooth, with a dose of true Moroccan culture. [And] the biking – just right. Loved it. BR
If you’ve been there and done that, southern Morocco holds no great challenge. But just as it was for me back in 1982, first rides to North Africa can be a shambles. I came back from that trip having not seen or done half as much as I could have.
Today, I still hear of first-time visitors stuck at the border on cumbersome, overloaded machines before getting shafted, ill or breaking down while tackling over-ambitious itineraries as days slip away. That can be all part of the adventure if you’re young, carefree and happily naive. For everyone else, a short guided tour can be a great primer to genuine adventure motorcycling or just a great biking holiday.
I’ve refined my proven formula to make the ride more suited to the new 310s. And again I’ve upgraded some of our lodgings and have tweaked the routing so there’s always an all-sealed option in the event of bad weather or other setbacks.
The default bike is now the BMW G310GS. Have a sit or a test ride on one of you get a chance. The new G310GS is a heavier and more road-oriented machine than the clapped-out XR250 Tornados it replaced and so the difference between the 310s and say, a G650GS single or the F700GS twin is less pronounced. Therefore, although there will always be six 310s reserved, the bigger, less revvy bikes are now suited to the tour, assuming they’re available and you feel comfortable with the extra weight. Seat heights are not so different, although the agency is getting in some low saddles for the 310s.
The bigger bikes cost between 25% and 55% more to rent than the 310GS, but are a few years older and have much higher mileages. Things like ABS and a full dashboard array may not work. Read my impressions on doing the tour on an old F700GS.
You can choose to do the tour with your own bike. Some consider this option but so far have always ended up renting.
You fly to Marrakech and check-in to a modern hotel where we all meet on the first evening for a meal and briefing. Next morning it’s a 3-minute walk from the hotel to the bike agency. Once the payments are made and bikes packed, we set off for an easy 100-km road ride to a remote lodge in the High Atlas and next morning continue the loop, following deserted backroads and spectacular mountain and desert pistes, right up to the very last day returning over the Atlas to Marrakech.
As importantly, we use lodgings, ranging from simple Berber home-stays to impressive kasbah-style boutique hotels on the longer tour, enjoying the hosts’ warm hospitality and freshly prepared food. It’s not all about riding; many riders regard the food as a highlight of the tour.
My knowledge of Morocco gained from researching and writing the Morocco Overland guidebook means barely a day or a mile need be wasted getting to the places overlooked by most tourists, tours and other guidebooks. When things go awry and delays crop up, as they do, I know the region well enough to reschedule the itinerary at the drop of a valve. On this trip we’ll barely see other tourists, and when we do stray into their territory the whole circus can be quite a shock.
This tour is not a hardcore, off-roading, dawn-to-dusk challenge.
It is a laid-back but adventurous back-country trail and road ride through southern Morocco’s mountains and deserts.
However, you still need to be:
• experienced and level-headed to ride competently on exposed mountain switchbacks where hazards can lie beyond the next bend. As one rider wisely observed: it’s not how fast you ride, it how well you do it.
• fit enough to handle a couple of hours off-roading and be
• flexible enough to accept the vagaries of back-country travel in North Africa.