Trans Atlas: MH20 • Talat n Yacoub > Ouneine > Ouaougdimt > Aoulouz • 88km
April 2018 – BMW G310GS, Honda XR250 Tornado
Updated April 2019; Enfield Himalayan
Another High Atlas crossing to try alongside MH19 (also an online addition to the guidebook). This one only rises to 2200m, initially climbing some 500m in 8km after leaving the road SE of Ijoukak (below right). Initially you may find the looser parts of this climb a struggle in a 2WD or on a heavy bike. It’s probable that local 2WD vans only do it southbound.
From the pass the incline abates and the track smoothes out as it rolls down towards the villages of the Ouneine basin and the P1735 whose sealed extension eastwards to Igli on MH6 is now sealed (red line, map, left. Actually it goes NE not ESE as shown, to join the track near ‘Afra’ on the map. To be updated).
You carry on SW along the P1735, and at Sidi ali ou Brahim village swing sharp left off the road, cross the stream and follow the Ouaougdimt valley piste 24km SE (not fully shown on most paper maps) to join the MH6 road coming down from Aguim on the N9 Marrakech–Ouarzazate road.
If you’re in a rush or heading towards Taroudant, at Sidi ali ou Brahim carry on 23km south on the P1735 to Sidi Ouaziz on the N10. Otherwise, it would be a shame to miss out on the scenic Ouaougdimt valley stage, as it rises onto a terrace high above the valley floor.
Parts of the route are just about legible on paper maps, least badly on the inset ‘High Atlas’ panel on the Michelin. But none show the full Ouaougdimt valley route. It’s all on Google, Olaf and the OSM digitals.
The climb up to the 2200-m Tizi n Oulaoune pass from KM11 is a little steep and loose and about as hard as it gets, but we saw local 125s two-up and minivans, albeit heading the other way (ie: descending). From the pass the gradient eases off while you’ll find the Ouaougdimt valley stage no harder than anything you’ve just done. Carefully ridden, a big bike could manage the loose hairpins; so could a 2WD with clearance, though as always these mountain tracks require concentration. On an MTB it will be a slog if not a push up to the Tizi n Oulaoune, followed by your freewheeling reward and no more steep grades.
Easy enough. We winged it just by studying Google satellite imagery beforehand, jotting down some distances between junctions. That’s now all listed below. Download the MH20kml file.
Alternative route: at the old ‘Afra’ sign at KM23, a rough but Transit-able track goes east 9km to join the new Igli road; see map right. But the highest part of the new road, which rises to over 2550m or 8300 feet, is as yet unsealed for another 8km but in Spring 2019 was being worked on.
Half day will do you.
0km (88) Talat n Yacoub fuel station on the R203 Tizi n Test road. Head north to Ijoukak.
3 (85) Pass through Ijoukak, cross the bridge and turn right up the side road. Soon you’ll pass a nice-looking auberge.
11 (77) At the fork before a village turn right, drop down over a bridge and carry on. Soon there’s a sign right: ‘Ouadouz/Ouneine? 24km’ (it’s something with ‘O’). The 500m climb to the pass begins.
19 (69) Tizi n Oulaoune 2200-m high point. The track now eases off as it descends. (Photo, bottom of the page.)
23 (65) Fork with sign (photo below: ‘Map Junction’). East at this fork is a rough track which in 9km job s the new road to Igli as mentioned above. Keep right (south) to continue descending to the villages in the Ouneine basin visible to the west. Eventually at a junction around KM35 you join the new extension of the P1735 which is goes E towards Igli over a 2500-m terrace. The P1735 crosses the basin SW and threads through a small pass back into the hills.
54 (34) Sidi ali ou Brahim. Turn sharp left, drop down to the stream and up the other side. The track is initially a bit eroded and loose as it climbs to the first village, but that’s why they invented suspension. It then eases off as it rises above the valley on a terrace (right) with great views down to the villages below. You could be in the Cevennes or the Pyrenees, but you’re in the High Atlas. It could be worse.
78 (10) Join the tarmac (MH6) by the reservoir.
83 (5) Roundabout on the N10.
88 Aoulouz fuel station/s.