Sideburn Sahara Open tour | 7 Day - 5 Days Biking​

Day 1

Arrival day

Pick-up by minibus from your accommodations in Marrakech. We plan to leave the city by 10.00.  Road transfer down to Ouarzazarte over the High Atlas Mountains, with a great tajine lunch at Mohammed’s Jardin Berber restaurant.

On arrival you’ll be welcomed by a line of orange KTMs. Check-in and unpack and then the bikes will be allotted to their riders. Any alterations to bike set-ups can be done with Hussein at this time. Paperwork and deposits done with Maryam and then free time to sit by the pool.

John and Su will return to join you for the buffet dinner at 19.30, over which you’ll have lots of questions to make and we’ll try and answer them 🙂

Day 2

Ouarzazarte to N'Kob (approx. 200kms)

After breakfast, bags are stashed in the 4×4, there’s a briefing, all last minute things like filling camelbaks etc, and our adventure begins in earnest!

Leaving the town our first 30kms is reasonably fast riding across the military area, just what’s needed to get accustomed to the bikes, until we drop down into a narrow gorge and dry river bed.

From here we are winding our way on fast sandy trails through the foothills of the High Atlas.

Crossing wide riverbeds, some with streams running, we will find a quiet place to stop for our picnic lunch.

Off again through villages and palmeries before we start climbing on wonderful twisting rocky tracks over the beautiful Jebel Saghro mountains through an area named as “Monument valley” because of the amazing rock formations.

We meet up back by the pool for a pre-dinner drink and then go indoors for our meal of tasty local soup served in terracotta bowls with wooden spoons, followed by chicken brochettes (kebabs) with veggies and lots of chips! Fruit for desert. If the evening is cold they will light the fire and we’ll sit around discussing anecdotes from the first day of our adventure.

Day 3

N'Kob to Ouzina (approx. 220kms)

10kms down the road and we turn onto our first section offroad – beautiful winding trails through palmeries and villages and then a chance to experience riding in some small dunes.

Don’t let that adrenaline kick in as you’ve a long way to go to reach our desert bivouac.

We refuel in Tazzarine and then set off on a totally virgin section of desert and brush – only used by us.  Follow your GPS. Some slightly tricky narrow riverbeds with big rocks, followed by a very flat plateau on super-fast twisting tracks that wind around all the flat topped hills and Acacia trees that dominate this area until we get to our lunch spot at a local auberge set totally alone in a gorge.

If it has been very dry you might have to work your way through large herds of dromedaries or sheep and goats as this is the only point in the area for the herders to find water.

After lunch a further 28kms to our refuelling point in the desert village of Remlia before which we will ride through the notorious “fesh-fesh” (fine powder from pulverised mud).

Sometimes quite deep with hidden ruts underneath, this can be a challenge, and there could be some offs. In Remlia the fuel is served from water bottles (no health and safety considerations here) and then the final 30kms to our bivouac is across vast dry lakebeds and winding sandy tracks. Final drive into the bivouac can be through the dunes.

More dune riding and then the obligatory beer parked up on the ridge at “Johnnie’s Bar” watching a memorable sunset.

Back to hot showers and then a plentiful tajine and after dinner local musicians around the campfire. You can sleep out under the stars or in one of the berber tents supplied.

Day 4

Ouzina to Merzouga (approx. 100kms)

After breakfast we set off, destination Erg Chebbi and the highest dunes in Morocco. (205m tall).

Ride out through the dunes and then we’re on to very pleasant, fast ex-Dakar winding sandy trails and plenty of dry sandy rivers. Loads of Acacia trees, and for those who know East Africa you could be there – just missing the giraffes and elephants!  

On through a large sandy riverbed crossing it’s then hard-packed winding trails leading to the tarmac and the refuel point. 10kms down the road and we reach our very colourfully decorated desert auberge with lovely swimming pool. 

Lunch followed by a bit of time to digest and relax by the pool before we set off to conquer those dunes.

Tired out and hopefully successful we can relax by the pool again until dinnertime.

Day 5

Merzouga to Dades (approx. 276kms)

After breakfast we’re off again through sandy riverbeds, across the enormous dry salt lakes on fast sinuous trails. A refreshment stop under “our” acacia tree in the riverbed.
Lunch today is a picnic sitting on a café terrace in a small village. You can buy cool drinks and choc bars!! 
After lunch we refuel and turn north into the Jebel Saghro mountains again but on different twisting, well prepared tracks with stunning views. Stop for a refreshment at the point where we cross the main road joining AlNif in the south with Tineghir in the north.
Then through a sandy riverbed and on over this spectacular mountain range until we arrive at Dades to our very comfortable accommodation. We meet up at the pool on the roof. The water will be quite chilly but there’s a nice warm jacuzzi built into the pool. Great place to relax, have a beer and discuss the day’s biking.
An excellent buffet for evening meal.

Day 6

Dades to Ouarzazarte (approx. 186kms)

After a plentiful breakfast, leaving our hotel we turn northwards up into the Gorge valley full of palm trees before turning into a rocky riverbed up into the gorges and mountains of the High Atlas.

Emerging from the riverbed we have a beautiful winding track up onto a plateau where we can quicken our pace.

This will eventually lead us down into a normally dry riverbed for 10kms of probably the rockiest part of this adventure.

Followed by a short road section we will have a coffee-stop in a local café before turning back onto the trails and heading for our lunch spot under the trees, by a stream down in a spectacular gorge with the ruins of a beautiful kasbah overlooking us. The local kids gather and interact with us while waiting, as they know we give them food after.

From there it’s undulating, fast sections interspersed with rocky trails winding their way through major washouts and gullies, into our last sandy, twisting riverbed before a fast blast back across a plateau occasionally used for military practices.

Back to the hotel for a drink by the pool while our mechanic checks
over the bikes.

Buffet dinner in the evening. Time to chat over everyone’s experiences in the past 5 days.

Day 7

Departure day

Breakfast and then the minibus transfer back to Marrakech – either to the airport if you have a late afternoon flight, or to your accommodation if you are staying for extra days in the “Red City”.



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