Updates & Corrections to v 3.0 of the book published October 2017.
Latest: May 2022
Future reprints – 3.1, 3.2 etc – will include all updates and corrections listed here
May 18 Morocco drops PCR requirements for air arrivals.
For the moment on a ferry you may still need to show either a negative PCR or vax certificate to enter the country.
And according to this post by a campervanner, it looks like the Ceuta-Morocco border is open again, and with AXA insurance in Fnideq too.
Vehicle ferries across the Gibraltar Straits resume on April 18th with some restrictions: more here.
Morocco drops the requirement for Lateral Flow tests for air arrivals. There will now be random testing.
In December 2021 all flights and ferries were suspended in the face of the expected Omicron surge. No news on ferries from France or Italy yet, but international flights resumed February 7, 2022, with the following requirements
• Proof of vaccination
• Negative PCR result <48hrs of arrival
• Possible antigen or other test on arrival
• Fill out a Moroccan Passenger Health form
It seems the ALSA #19 airport bus shuttle I’ve been such a supporter of over the years is in decline. Covid era demand has dropped and you may have to ask the driver to take you beyond Jemma el Fna or the Gare Routiere as far as the former Grand Poste in Gueliz (Place 16 November) near the MacDonalds. It may not carry on up Mohamed V and turn back towards the airport as it used to, but return to Jemma el Fna where it now collects airport-bound passengers.
Getting a taxi back to the airport is of course easy (or less hagglesome) than in the other direction. From Gueliz I paid from 60dh for the 7-km, 20-minute lift.
As you might expect, off the plane and outside the airport the mask regime is pretty relaxed, and south of the mountains (were I imagine Covid barely had an impact) they’re barely seen.
The MH20/21 High Atlas crossing starts with a stiff climb (red route below) which can be a bit much for some. A new 12-km bypass (orange route below) is much easier. More here.
If you want, there’s only 14km of piste through the gorge from Tafetchna to Touna Niaraben where tarmac leads south 25km to Beni Zoli and a bridge over the Draa river course to the N9, 12km north of first Zagora fuel.
Kelaa/Boumalne Dades N10 bypass (41km)
At a roundabout about 35km west of Skoura, a new bypass cuts 41km south of the Dades river across the stony desert to another roundabout at the east end of Dades, by a Shell.
This route cuts across the northern end of MS14/15 coming over Jebel Sarhro (see new description below).
It’s a fast, traffic- and village-free alternative to the congested N10 around Kelaa. You can whizz through in less than half an hour. Google maps now try and route you onto this now and on this occasion, they’re right.
p113 • New ending to Routes MH14/15 (3km longer)
72 (25) N31° 04.06’ W06° 09.61’
Keep right (leave Olaf) onto a more used and direct track heading NW via villages. In 8km Olaf will join from the left. About 300m later go right at another mining haul road (KM80).
88 (8) N31°09.91’ W6°11.81’
Just after a righthand bend turn left (N) to meet the new Kelaa bypass (this wpt). Right here leads to Boumalne Dades (37km; ends by a Shell). For the nearest fuel go left 5km to the roundabout on the N10. Here left (west) is for Skoura (36km). Right leads 4km via villages to a …
97km N31° 11.83’ W06° 12.11’
… Ziz roadhouse. Several more fuel stations east towards Kelaa and Boumalne Dades.
Jebel Saghro MH23
A new and reliably epic crossing of Jebel Saghro between Nekob and Skoura. It’s 104km fuel-to-fuel. Full details here.
MH3 The once fashionably gnarly but imo much over-rated track between Mhamid and Tamtatouche (45km) is on the way to getting sealed. You do wonder why they’re bothering.
Yiorgos and Nikos write:
We did the MH3 gorge-to-gorge route from West (Tamtattouche) to East (Akedim Msemrir) [in September]. The beginning and ending of the road are under active construction. Road at these points is still dirt but is flat and wide (Be aware of heavy rains, they can create deep mud). The rest is gravel but easily doable with our [800GS] bikes.
There is a diversion of the road on the east end as so waypoint at MH3KM003 is outdated. Instead, according to my GPS, waypoint “31.71325° N, 5.80357° W” can be used, but – all in all – the track is visible with the eye.
MH1 Less surprisingly it’s said the exposed Agoudal – Tilmi High Atlas crossing (below) is getting the same treatment. That will be a shame, but it will still be an impressive route, peaking at nearly 3000 metres.
MS14 The 45km section of piste between Ouarzazate west and Tazenacht (via Fint;) is also now sealed.
Route MH4 over Jebel Sarhro is now sealed, but it’s still a fantastic crossing of the massif.
Page 187-90, Route MA7
Route distance is 114km not 104.
The tarmac now extends to Amtezguine (KM56; p190)
The final waypoint should be 110 (4) and you’re 18km from Tazenacht, not 14km
Page 139, Route MH18, KM71 (169)
Distance error: KM78 (162) .
Distances either side are correct.
In September the UK government announced it would drop the traffic light designation system from October 4th. From that date countries would be red-listed or nothing, meaning inbound, fully vaccinated travellers no longer needed tests just before or after returning to the UK.
Page 190, Route MA7, KM100 (4)
Distance error: KM110 (4) not
So it is 18km from the previous waypoint [KM92] where the tarmac resumes to the N10, not 8.
In July the UK government changed the regs for amber countries like Morocco. Quarantine no longer required on returning to the UK for people who are fully vaccinated.
There was also promising talk of a new ferry route between Portugal to get round the Spain-Morocco deadlock, but this seems to have gone quiet.
Page 185, Route MA6, KM77 (85)
Waypoint error: N30° 07.7′ not
The flood-prone trail through the gorge from. Anergui to the Cathedral (see Update 3.0.14 – 4 May 2019) is closed for improvement.
I got down most of the Atlantic Route in March before Covid stopped play. See the report on the link or read about it in Bike magazine, July 2020 issue.
Below: the state of MH5 northbound late last year from 4×4 Adventure Tours.
Clearly a good place to flex those axles!
Update 3.0.19 – 2 February 2020
Jacinto V-H tells me:
Col Belkassem on ME7 is easy in both directions.
ME4 via Korima Pass to Bouarfa is now 40km improve piste, with the rest same as it was. I remember us struggling along this piste in our Merc 190.
MA7 up over Jebel Timouka is OK (better southbound) but MA6 south of the ‘Timouka’ pass is now unused and getting no easier.
Update 3.0.18 – 28 January 2020
I’m told there’s a new hotel in Smara (p222) – a town where the lodgings are pretty rough.
Hotel Sahariano is on the left coming into town after the roundabout and directly north of the airport, over the road.
There were always occasional turn backs by army checkpoints, but Ian C also tells me the west part of Route MS8 from KM216 towards Tata may now be a permanent military exclusion zone.
Update 3.0.17 – 12 November 2019
I am told the classic crossing of Jebel Sarhro (MH4) is now sealed.
Update 3.0.16 – 16 September 2019
The white immigration cards you used to fill out on arrival in Morocco have been dropped from today at airports in a bid to speed up immigration procedures.
They’re set to be dropped from maritime ports too in a month or two.
Update 3.0.15 – 13 May 2019
Ian C (KTM1290) writes:
We weren’t allowed out of [Nador] port without buying insurance there. The guy told us it was around 20 euros more expensive than in the town, but we had no choice, and it was all very official (AXA printed docs). Don’t remember exact price, maybe 140 euros for a month?
MS9 is now virtually abandoned, and included one rocky ascent and a lot of riding along a river bed. By contrast, MH7 continuing west from Anezal was a breeze, and a pleasure.
So MS9 is no longer a route to try on a big bike. Ian made some nice videos too, using a kite tied to some balloons.
MH19 going on to MH18 and the Anergui Gorge, as mentioned in the previous update.
MH13 – the Tangounsta Tunnel
Update 3.0.14 – 4 May 2019
Updates following a month’s ride out there.
Turning up at the counter in Algeciras, a month’s return with Balearia ferries was just €86.
The new credit-card sized TVIP at the port was issued in just 10 minutes (but I was first off the boat). You can’t do them online in advance any more.
MH16KM132 (MH18KM55): the track alongside the very narrow Assif Melloul gorge to/from Anergui is straight forward and a great ride. There are no ‘frail bridges’ that need to be crossed or avoided by fording the river. After the last hamlets, it gets slightly rougher and narrower at the eastern end where it gets close to river level, but nothing a 2WD with clearance couldn’t manage.
Coming north out of Anergui (a climb over 2500m) the newest fuel is in Tagelft (54km) or Imilchil (68km).
At the MH18KM132 junction the high road is now sealed and takes the old (longer) way down to the head of the Ait Bouguemeze valley where dirt resumes on and off.
MH18KM153. There is village fuel in the Ait Bouguemeze valley from a lock-up with a red door, 200m west of the police checkpoint junction where the tarmac starts at KM153 (and where MH19 goes south over the Atlas). Call the number on the red door; he’ll turn up eventually.
In fact, I am beginning to realise what may have been obvious: many remote villages accessible by cars but far from fuel stations will sell fuel from shops or lock-ups, and it won’t necessarily be dirty, diluted stuff and I’ve found prices a reasonable 10-15% more than a garage.
MH18KM183 From this col the southern loop climbs a bit more then drops down through villages, crosses an unfinished bridge and leads back north through a defile and the odd ford, then over a final col and a descent to a sealed road in the main MH18 valley. This option ons the main road a bit further west than the book suggests.
It’s all reasonably straightforward.
MH24 Amzeria (‘Amezri’ on some maps). On the MH12 High Atlas crossing, a side road over a bridge leading east of Tourfine (KM57) ends in a few kms at a ford south for Megdaz (on Google). Carry on along a northside track to Ait Hamza. From here it can be tricky to access and locate the washed-out track in the stony Oued Tassaout riverbed, but it’s just about clear enough all the way to Ait Oubaten (or similar; <10km) where tarmac resumes to Amzeria, then back up to 2200m and down to Skoura. On a bike expect to get wet feet.
It looked like they were extending what looked like a never finished track from Agdz north to Skoura via Bou Skour. For me it ended at the point below. More here.
The once gnarly 30-km section of track between Assaragh and Adadir Melloul on MA13 (the cover of Morocco Overland 2) has been sealed. It means the track on MA12 NW of Timdrart, KM139 to KM163 joining the road, may become obsolete and fall into disrepair/fun off-road challenge
North of Igli on MH6 KM77, a newish road leads west nearly 100km to Sidi Ouaziz back on the N10. The very highest section at around 2500m is now sealed making an epic high route (pictures). At a hairpin on the west side at 2250m (near picture below), it’s possible to follow a rough but Transit-able track 9km to KM23 on MH20. More pictures here.
The gite in Igmir (MA2) is closed. The next nearest place south was Bordj Biramane in Icht, a pricey but popular overlanders’ camp with a bar plus huts or tents.
The gite in Assa mentioned in the book on p210 was a nice place to stay, an authentic rustic, low-headroom adobe town house (below).
MW6 is now sealed all the way to Labouriat (KM126). From here a more used and corrugated track continues east towards Mseid. Don’t miss your turn-off at KM157, where the Dakar minds commence. It means there is only about 150-km of easy to follow piste, but it’s enough.
Having finally ridden the full length of MW6 (with a 4×4), I’d reiterate it’s not a track to do alone on a big bike with road tyres, even if the 400-km range is not a problem.
Although this time I made less of a mess of the unrecognisably easy Oued Kara crossing at KM247, the dry sandy gorge at KM256 was a struggle on a fully-loaded bike, just as it was on the WR250R in 2017 when it was actually a waterhole (as evident in the Bing image below). A 4×4 can crawl across these sandy ruts, a bike either has to attack them (risky), or be paddled or walked through for a couple of hundred metres (tiring). I had to be pushed out, then once on the firms stuff (left) went over the stony hill (as I did on the WR) to get out on to the plateau before the drop to the chott.
If you need moto inner tubes in Layounne (including 21s), there’s a bike and scooter shop round about here, just south of the MacDonalds square.
Subsidised fuel in Western Sahara now seems to be the same price – 8 dh for diesel or petrol.
There’s some road building going on west of Fort Bou Jerif ruins, but the book description of MW8 from Sidi Ifni still stands.
Update 3.0.13 – 11 March 2019
Moto Plus in Casablanca. Probably miles from where you are but a good place to despatch motorbike tyres (and maybe other generic parts) cross country.
Update 3.0.12 – 23 Feb 2019
A recent video of MA6 so you know what you’re letting yourself in for.
Car and especially bike, definitely less hard southbound.
Update 3.0.12 – 15 Feb 2019
Thanks to David Q for pointing out two waypoint typos:
• MS2 KM77, east end of Ait Ouazik village should be: N30° 41.00′ W05° 37.59′
• MW7 KM81 and KM133 co-ordinates are duplicated. MW7 KM133, the fork for the short-cut to the SE should be: N27° 29.02′ W10° 38.53′
He also says ME8 out of Figuig via the new dam is getting sealed. The new routing is clear but may not match the book’s description.
Update 3.0.11 – 2 Jan 2019
The option to fill out and print your D16 TER temporary vehicle importation form online in advance has been dropped. They now issue you with a credit-card sized TVIP at the port – in my case just 10 minutes waiting.
Update 3.0.10 – 7 Dec 2018
Alternative road routes over Tizi n Tichka
Update 3.0.9 – 13 Nov 2018
A lot of rain in October has roughed up some southern pistes and the Tichka pass northside has more construction than last year as road-widening spreads down the mountainside. Whole sections of rocky hillside are being cut through to straighten the road, and in the rain the muddy old road could get slippery and slow.
On the south side of the pass, the road between Telouet and the N9 looks like it’s nearing completion, but is more disrupted than ever.
Coming down the cliff below Assaragh (MA12, MA13; right), they finished a sealed bypass around the west of Aguinan, but coming down it’s more fun to stay on the steep concreted track through Aguinan village and oasis.
It’s said the new road to Assaragh across the hills from Agadir Melloul will be finished in a few months which will means MA13 will ease up and MA12 from Timdrart village (KM139) back to the P1743 road at KM163 may well become disused and consequently unmaintained.
On MH4 Jebel Sarhro they say 20km out of Nekob is now sealed, but it’s hard to think the link to Iknioun tarmac will be completed soon.
On MH14 Sarhro West, ‘KM20’ start of climb just after a village is more like KM22.5.
Up to KM31 village down in the valley is easy enough on anything with wheels. Northward, as the book suggests, gets gnarly and may be becoming disused in favour of upper MH15
We crossed the oued at KM31 and second left took the link piste west to MH15, now called ‘MH145′ which I descended in a car about a year ago (see below).
Westbound, the 9-km climb is now toughest right at the start as it climbs steeply on a washed-out track below the butte. From there on it eases up bar the odd, short, washed-out climb. Amazing views when you get a chance to take your eyes off the track as it meets MH15 at KM69.
As expected, reversing MH15 southwards felt easier than climbing it, as I did in 2017 on a WR250, but has become more washed out. A beginner wouldn’t want to do this little-used-track alone on a big bike with alloy panniers bashing off the sides and shoving you over the edge. Below: exposed descent (southbound) around KM48.
As the descent ends to meet the valley track at KM42, the sandy ramp side valley has filled right up with loose sand. Again, heading northbound on a big loaded bike, this might be a bit of a shock and would require a good run up in a 2WD.
It’s possible that the high-altitude hamlets get serviced from the north along the improved mine haul road so this dramatic section of MH15 has now become one of the harder pistes in the book.
Update 3.0.8 – 26 Oct 2018
At the very last minute Morocco has decided to not put the clocks back an hour for winter. It will now stick with GMT+1, all year.
What that means for most of us who visit the south during the winter period is chillier mornings and longer evenings. The EU has talked of introducing similar changes.
The rational behind clock changing makes more sense the further you are from the equator. Daylight in Dundee varies by over 10 hours over the year, but in Ouarzazate it’s only about 4. Most of the world does not change its clocks twice a year.
Update 3.0.7 – 25 April 2018
New route: MH20 High Atlas crossing.
Update 3.0.6 – 2 April 2018
Insurance at Nador port seems to be available again.
Update 3.0.5 – 28 February 2018
A few tips on campervan insurance if you don’t feel confident in buying border insurance. Also, extending your Moroccan insurance can be tricky in the country:
Warning: Although the visa extension was easier than reports on the web, extending our vehicle insurance was not.
There are assurance offices in most large towns, but they will only do Moroccan registered vehicles. That includes AXA. The frontiers insurance seems to be a monopoly with CAT Compangie D’assurance Transport based in Cassablanca. They have relatively few agents and you have to visit the agencies in person to get a new assurance certificate.
It cost us 1952 D for 3 more months (the same as at the border).
And contrary to what I thought, I’m told Bike Sure-Adrian Flux can issue Green Cards for Morocco.
Update 3.0.4 – 18 January 2018
Brittany Ferries announce a new ferry route between Cork and Santander – 26 hours each way, twice a week from April to November.
New route MS777 (right) from Fred W; a smoother way to or from Foum Zguid to Lac iriki via MS8. Download the pdf route description.
Update 3.0.3 – 9 January 2018
MS8 – correction/updates
Belgian travellers Fred and Jo (contributors to my other books) observe:
… the initial route description [out of Mhamid] makes it quite a bit more difficult then it ought to be … it sure keeps you busy and makes it more adventurous. The zigzagging between the dunes can be avoided by following the main trail right out of the village to the south for Erg Chegaga which makes a big curve under all the messy bits. It is drawn (more or less) like this on most GPS maps (eg: left). It then picks up the described route again close to Erg Chegaga [KM75]. This is the route as given to us by a local guy so it is relatively well travelled and thus quite easy to follow.
There is an additional checkpoint around KM181, just before the oued crossing and ‘chicane’.
Possibly as a result of flooding KM204 will better read now:
KM205 (109) Cross the Oued Mellah at an army checkpoint: N29 39.62 W07 12.02
We are probably not the first ones to be confused there, as there were already tracks leading from the KM204 waypoint straight into the oued… If you do cross here you will come to a halt shortly by a lot of water followed by an unsurmountable ridge.
Western Sahara map
Revised with new road north of Bir Anzerane. May link up with Bou Craa road eventually.
Update 3.0.2 – 26 December 2017
‘MH19’ southbound added
MH4 KM0–57 – correction/update
Now all sealed through to Iknioun. At KM0 (Shell/Afriquia) continue 800m SW to the next roundabout, then turn SW.
At KM3 fork, right is for Ouaklim village; left then turning right (SSW) at KM7 avoids the village. Both routes join up at KM11. From here all clear to Iknioun.
Within a year they say the classic MH4 may be sealed to bring in electricity pylons from Nour solar plant. Hard to believe, but in late 2017 the approach to Nekob was already a dirt motorway.
MH14 KM72 – correction
Turn right off Olaf… I always get those two mixed up!
MH145 link route
In December we did the 9-km link route down from MH15 KM69 to MH14 KM31.
The impressive 500-m decent (below) is doable from either end in any vehicle that has managed to get this far.
We did MS77 in the same rental 4×4 pictured above. Expecting the worst, I have to say it was much less rocky than decribed, but the Mitsubishi was softly spring. I doubt an old HJ60 would have been such a magic carpet.
Around KM44, before converging with MS7, things got quite sandy and rutty (left); fun in a car, less so on a loaded moto with road tyres.
Before KM72 the main track seems to bypass the dunes mentioned, so that’s not an issue. Then, heading NW then W after the desert camps is more sandy ruts. Again, fun in a fourbie, but would require commitment and knobblies on a bike.
Update 3.0.1 – 20 October 2017
Marrakech airport arrivals
With the flash new terminal at Marrakech Menara airport, the grubby old #19 ALSA bus stand is now a couple of hundreds metres away from the exit. 20 one way, 30dh return.
Insurance at Beni Enzar/Nador
No longer close to the Melilla border, as on the map p54.
Now 12-km away in Nador town: see new map here.
Once you leave the road [KM57] the piste is a bit washed out than usual towards the summit.
Over the summit initially rough as usual. A new road is working its way up from Nekob with some diversions.
‘MH19’ (not in the book)
In good shape; see this.
It’s now asphalt to Amtezguine [KM56], but from there the climb gets quite rocky and washed out for about 10km until the first hamlet at the northern, near the mast. On a big bike I’d say southbound is easier.
I’m told they will be sealing the middle section between Agadir Melloul [KM105] and Assaragh [KM137], but I imagine that may take a while.