… 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
Updated January 2018
But just as it was for me back in 1982, first rides to North Africa can be an adventure sure, but also a shambles. I came back from that trip having leaned a lot, but not seen or done half as much as I could have. Today, I still hear of aborted rides in Morocco: hassles at the border, cumbersome bikes carrying too much gear, unnecessary spending, getting shafted or taking on over-ambitious schedules – all while days slip away as you claw up and slide back down the learning curve. Trying to pack it all into a typical fortnight’s break ending with another 2000-km ride home in the cooler seasons isn’t much fun.
New bikes • Better hotels • 4×4 backup
Now I’ve led a few runs, for 2018 I’ll be refining the proven format, using locally rented bikes for no more than six riders. But instead of riding, this time I’ll be in a 4×4. What that means is you can bring as big a bag as you can lift and, should there be bike troubles (it happens) your machine can be transported to the night’s lodgings and a replacement gets brought in overnight.
You fly into Marrakech and head to a modern hotel where we all meet in the evening for a meal and briefing. Next morning we organise the bikes round the corner; for 2018 it will probably be BMW’s new G310GS or Honda CRF250Ls. In March 2018 I plan to nip out to Morocco and take a 310 for a quick test ride. The agency will still offer a couple of the indefatigable XR250 Tornados at lower rental cost (first-come, first-served). On the day, once the bikes are sorted we then take a short ride to a remote lodge in the High Atlas and next morning set off on a relaxed, 1100-km loop along deserted backroads and spectacular mountain and desert pistes, right up to the very last day returning to Marrakech.
As importantly, we use ambient lodgings, ranging from simple Berber home-stays to impressive kasbah-style boutique hotels, enjoying their warm hospitality and freshly prepared food. Many often regard the food as a highlight of the tour.
My knowledge of Morocco gained from writing the 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 can do, I know the region well enough to reschedule the itinerary at the drop of a valve. Plus for this season the 4×4 will provide additional security. 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 challenge, it is a relaxed but adventurous backroad trail ride through southern Morocco’s epic mountains and deserts. It makes the most of your time on and off the bike with the support of a group and a pickup, but you still need to be fit enough to be able handle a couple of rough hours off-roading.