Mountain & Desert | 8 Day - 6 Days Biking
Ouarzazarte to Fuim Zguid
Breakfast at 08.00 leave at 09.00
17 km on the asphalt before turning onto our first track of the day, it will be 80 km before you see the asphalt again so plenty of time to get used to your bike and the terrain. The track is twisting and undulating with a few loose rocky sections. A refreshment stop at the tarmac, then we are off again along a 50 km fast but twisting section of hard packed sand…watch out for the surprises.
Picnic lunch under an acacia tree near the gold mine at Bou Azzer. After lunch some nice desert riding through some low hills before hitting the plateau leading towards Foum Zguid and our hotel for the evening. Our hotel has a great pool and beer waiting for you.
Fuim Zguid to Oualid Driss
On leaving our hotel it’s 5 km on road to the town of Foum Zguid where we refuel before heading out into the desert. Rocky at first, we soon arrive at the dry (we hope) lake bed of Lac Iriki. 40 km of fast riding across the lake brings us to the western side of the Chegaga Dunes. For those up for it there are also around 40 km of medium-sized dunes to be crossed before we arrive at our bivouac in the dunes, where we stop for lunch.
Those not wanting to commit to the dunes at this early stage of the tour (there are plenty more opportunities to dune ride later on) can take a 60 km diversion around the dunes…you will have a 18 km sandy riverbed to negotiate before the lunch stop though.
After lunch there is some fast riding across a plateau and some small dunes to cross before we reach the asphalt at Mhamid. 6 km on road brings us to our 3* hotel, whereas always, pool and beers await.
Oualid Driss to desert bivouac
A fast day ride skirting the Algerian border.
Leaving at 09.00 we head the 6 km back up the road to Mhamid where we refuel the bikes. From here straight back into the small dunes and sandy riverbeds as we head the 40 km north towards the village of Tazzarine.
Refuel and we set off winding through the palmerie alongside the river Draa.
Once back into the desert we can expect to be stopped by the Moroccan military on at least 2 different occasions as the border with Algeria is not far away and this has become a sensitive area once again.
Great, fast desert tracks once used on the Paris/Dakar rally await us…stop and say hi to the South African Elmer Symons who died here in 2007 whilst participating in the rally. His crash site is marked by a large stone cairn and a waypoint on your GPS and is a reminder to take care on these fast desert tracks.
Lunch will be at a desert auberge on Lac Maider, a large dry sodalake. From here its 60 km of sand and ‘fesh fesh’ (bull dust) before arriving at our desert bivouac for the evening. Located alongside some medium dunes.
Ascend an 80 MTR dune and toast the sunset before having an amazing meal and listening to the local drummers whilst sitting around a blazing campfire.
Desert bivouac to Merzouga
A short day today to maximize our time in the big ‘cathedral’ dunes of Erg Chebbi.
After breakfast, we leave the bivouac at 09.00 and set off for Morocco’s highest dunes at Erg Chebbi. There are more than 20 cathedral dunes that are more than 100 MTS in height with the highest being 205 MTS above the plateau….for those of you up to it, we will ride them all.
He tracks from the bivouac to the dunes traverses an open plain with many acacia trees. This area reminds one of East Africa – just missing the giraffe grazing in the trees. Expect some sandy and rocky sections on what is in the most part a fast couple of hours riding.
On arrival at the hotel we will have a quick coffee and move into our rooms before venturing out into the sand. Back for lunch at the hotel. After lunch, we relax by the hotel pool and then maybe venture out into the dunes again.
Merzouga to Dades
Our longest day today with some fast desert riding and some slow mountain sections as we traverse the Jbel Saghro mountain range.
As usual, we leave our hotel at 09.00 hours. The first 50 km today are the same as the last 50 km of yesterday’s ride. From here to our lunch stop we have some very mixed riding on what are totally new tracks for us. Ranging from a very ‘messy’ 10 km as we try to cross the Gheris river to long fast sections across the many wide open plateaux to be found in this area. There are many areas where the sand has been blown up against the hills making some very spectacular long dune climbs that we can explore.
Lunch will be arranged at a small local auberge in a desert village where we will have the best beef tagine in Morocco.
Lunch over we refuel and set off again on some of our favourite trails in this area. Lots of hard packed sandy tracks, a memorable 12 km sandy riverbed as well as the very picturesque Jbel Saghro mountain range.
Our hotel this is a beautiful kasbah hidden in the palmeraie of Dades Gorge. Pool set amongst the trees and lots of nice garden corners to sit for a drink. Dinner.
Dades to Ouarzazarte
After breakfast refuel and then up the Dades Gorge and off in a westerly direction following the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Undulating, fast sections interspersed with rocky trails through major washouts and gullies, bringing us out onto a plateau.
Picnic lunch somewhere up on the plateau. A sandy twisting riverbed and a further 20 km of fast trails across a flat plateau bring us back to Ouarzazarte and our base hotel. Handover of bikes for Hussein to check them over. Relax by the pool before buffet dinner.
After breakfast, your transfer to Ouarzazarte airport, or back to Marrakech if the transfer is arranged for this.