Desert | 7 Day - 5 Days Biking
Arrival either into Ouarzazarte airport and a short transfer to our 4* hotel in the town, or land in Marrakech and a minibus for those of the group requesting this and a 4-hour road transfer over the High Atlas Mountains on the winding Tizi n Tichka Pass. (more than 2000m elevation)
Freshen up, do the bike paperwork, then free to laze by the pool or wander into town. Dinner is a buffet in the hotel.
OUARZAZATE TO DADES (approx. 186km)
Breakfast. Final briefing, and departure for Boulmalne de Dades.
After refuelling the bikes its straight off-road, 20Kms across a fast plateau frequently used by the military, and into a sandy and twisting riverbed. From there it’s undulating, fast sections interspersed with rocky trails winding their way through major washouts and gullies.
Picnic lunch under the trees beside a stream.
A short road section, through a local village where we might stop for a coffee and then we drop down into a normally dry riverbed for 10kms of probably the rockiest part of this adventure. Emerging from the riverbed we have a beautiful, winding track up onto a plateau where we’ll quicken the pace – before eventually descending through a rocky river and gorge to arrive in the fertile Dades Gorge.
About 15kms on asphalt leads us to a small dirt track. Turning onto this for about 1km, and we arrive at tonight’s kasbah (castle) hotel hidden amongst the trees. Recently totally rebuilt and enlarged this kasbah has some beautiful décor to admire.
Nice pool on a lower terrace near the stream, and lots of outdoor places to sit and have a beer. Dinner is down in their restaurant, or if nice weather might be possible outside.
DADES TO MERZOUGA (approx. 250km)
You will leave the hotel after breakfast and depart for Merzouga and the red dunes. The first 30 kilometers of the ride will be heading south from Dades, across a fast, flat plateau that will lead you into the Jbel Saghro mountain range.
Thereafter, 100 kilometers after the days start, you will stop for a coffee break on the main road, joining Alnif in the south with Tinerhir in the north.
MERZOUGA TO DESERT BIVOUAC (approx. 100km)
After breakfast, we will get on our bikes and go straight out into the famous Red Dunes of Erg Chebbi and attempt to reach the top of the highest “cathedral dune.”
We will spend time way out in the dunes and sand before returning to our auberge for some pre- lunch relax timeby the pool, and then setting off for our next destination – our desert bivouac – 100kms away.
Starting with hard-packed winding tracks leading to a large and dry sandy riverbed crossing.
Then, it will be onto very pleasant and fast-winding sandy trails. Loads of acacia trees and for those who know East Africa, you could imagine giraffes and elephants. The night’s accommodation is in our pleasant Berber Bivouac with hot showers. It is situated close to a large area of middle-sized dunes.
In the late afternoon or early evening, once the sand has cooled down and weather permitting, those wanting more biking can go and play in the dunes or alternatively walk to the top and toast the sunset with a beer.
After supper we will sit around a wonderful campfire with local “tam-tams” or drummers and gaze at the millions of stars in the unpolluted sky.
DESERT BIVOUAC TO N’KOB (approx. 220km)
Breakfast and another chance to play in the dunes before we head out across the desert towards Remlia where we refuel the bikes from the village shop using old wine bottles (no health and safety considerations here).
The 28Kms from Remlia to the small hamlet of M’harech where we stop for lunch, is ‘fesh fesh'(a very soft powder not unlike cement dust). This section can be quite a challenge.
From here we turn North across a very flat plateau on super-fast twisting tracks that wind around all the flat topped hills and Acacia trees that dominate this area (those of you wanting to attempt some of the numerous sandy dunes that are formed by the wind piling up the sand against these rocky formations are welcome).
Don’t get any air though; it’s not sand waiting on the other side but big,gnarly rocks. In the town of Tazzarine we refuel and have a drink before setting out on our last 50Kms of the day that brings us out at a viewpoint just above the village of N’Kob before we carry on to our 3* hotel which is a renovated Kasbah.
N’KOB TO OUARZAZATE (approx. 205km)
Breakfast, refuel and we are off again. 8Kms of deeply rutted sandy riverbed will warm you up for the days ride up and over the Jbel Saghro mountain range for the second time on this tour, but a different route. Very beautiful, rocky tracks with truly amazing views south over ‘Monument’ valley and north towards the Atlas Mountains before bringing us to Skoura where we have lunch at a small Moroccan restaurant.
The last 105kms of track into Ouarzazate take us into the foothills of the Atlas before turning south down a black sandy riverbed and into our garage where Hussein (our mechanic) will check over your bike for damages.
After breakfast the transfer will take you to wherever you are flying from.
Look forward to seeing you with us again.