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An adventure motorcyclist riding a BMW R1200GS shoots a roost of sand into the air as he rides through the Sahara desert in Morocco.

Morocco – Atlas Eight

(1 customer review)

£2,350.00

Squeezing an extraordinary amount into two-weeks, this is what your big-bore Adventure bike was built for.

At a Glance

Duration: 16 Days

Riding Level: II (See FAQ’s)

Distances:

Total: 2287mi / 3659km

Tarmac: 1623mi / 2612km

Piste: 602mi / 969km  –  26%

Dates:

2020: March 28th – April 12th

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Description

An extraordinary 16-day Adventure Motorcycle tour. We’ll cross the Middle, High and Anti-Atlas Mountains, experience the stark, lunar beauty of the Djebel Sarhro and plunge into the canyons of the Assif Melloul and Aguinan on our way to and from the Sahara Desert. As rich in colour as it is in culture, the diversity will have you mesmerised.

With 26% of the route being ‘piste’, this is the Adventure your Adventure bike was built for.

Carrying everything an Adventure rider should be, we’ll camp out twice; once in the mountains and once in the desert. Will you spend your rest day tweaking your suspension, or chillin’ by the pool?

As a Level II tour you’ll need some dirt road experience. You’ll want to be to be comfortable on loose surfaces and confident at low speeds. (Don’t worry…it’s not Dakar!) Suitable for both single and multi-cylinder Adventure bikes.

To get an idea of the terrain, head over to the Big Sky Riders YouTube Channel for some helmetcam footage.

It’s not all about the riding. We’ll be staying in the photogenic ‘Blue City’ of Chefchaouen, getting lost in the labyrinth of passageways that are the UNESCO listed Medina of Fez, staring in awe at the mosaics of the UNESCO listed Roman City of Volubilis and experiencing the Berber market town of Tazenakht (where the persistent carpet sellers of Marrakech come to buy their goods).

All served up with the delicious local cuisine and washed down with endless mint tea!

 

 

How do I get to Malaga?

This trip starts and finishes in Southern Spain.

This gives you the choice of a) riding there and back directly b) incorporating Morocco into a longer European Tour, or c) Transporting your bike with our travel partners – Fly and Ride.

 

a) Brittany Ferries sail from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Bilbao and Santander in Northern Spain.

– The most direct (non-toll) route to Malaga is 620 miles. Doable in a day and a half if you can avoid nodding of on the motorway. With time on your side you could explore the empty backroads and ‘discover’ the beauty of inland Spain.

You can of course ride all the way from the UK through France and Spain. Brittany Ferries service the westerly ports of St.Malo, Le Harve and Caen (all from Portsmouth), P&O look after Dover-Calais, and there’s the Chunnel option from Folkstone to Calais.

Our favourite (living in Hampshire), is the overnight boat to St.Malo.

 

b) How much time have you got? How broad is your imagination?

 

c) Our travel partner Fly and Ride can transport your bike between Gatwick and Malaga. Once you’ve confirmed your bike transport you can book a cheap flight to Malaga from many of the UK’s regional airports. Your transfer to/from Malaga airport to our hotel is included, and your bike will be waiting for you. Take a look at their website for full details.

 

 

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Spain

Meet at hotel. Group evening meal. Re-unite with your bike if transported by Fly and Ride.

Day 2: Malaga – Chefchouen

161mi / 257km

A short ride to the ferry for our crossing to Africa and once the border formalities are completed we’ll head up into the Rif Mountains and the fabled Blue City. Same itinerary as UK to Morocco. 

Day 3: Chefchouen – Azrou

172mi / 275km

Descend the Rif Mountains stopping off at the UNESCO World Heriitage site of the Roman ruins of Volubilis en-route to Azrou on the edge of the Middle Atlas. Same itinerary as UK to Morocco.

Day 4: Azrou – Mountain Bivouac* (Lac Tislit)

Tarmac: 141mi / 227km   –   Piste: 33mi / 53km   –   Total: 169mi / 271km   –   20% Piste

Through the cedar forest, famed for its Barbary Apes, to Timahdite where we’ll fuel-up and buy supplies for tonight’s bivouac. We’ll then leave the main road behind us and take to the minor roads of the Middle Atlas, across limestone plateaus, past polje lakes and via a forested piste stage as we wind our way up to Lac Tislit at 2260m.

*If the weather prevents us from camping then we will defer to accommodation/dinner in Imilchil (6km) at an additional cost of approx £25pp

Day 5: Lac Islit – Aït Bougemez

Tarmac: 60mi / 97km   –   Piste: 65mi / 105km   –   Total: 126mi / 202km   –   52% Piste

Following a few minor passes, we’ll plunge a vertical kilometre into the Assif Melloul, a narrow gorge where the piste is often carved into the vertical walls. Exiting the gorge at the 700m high Cathedral Rock we stay on piste through the pine forests, overlooked by magnificent cirques, to the medieval hamlet of Zaouiat Ahansal where we rejoin tarmac. Three passes follow and after reaching 2764m our route returns to piste  for the descent into Ait Bougemaz  – ‘Valley of the Happy People’.

Day 6: Aït Bougemez – Nkob

Tarmac: 27mi / 44km   –   Piste: 99mi / 160km   –   Total: 138mi / 221km   –   72% Piste

Leaving the Middle Atlas behind us we’ll climb out of the valley and over the highest points of the tour; the Tizi n’Aït Imi (2898m) and the Tizi n’Ait Hamad (3042m) on a remote crossing of the High Atlas. A brief stint on tarmac follows as we stop for lunch and fuel in Boumalne du Dades before turning east to cross the Djebel Sarhro. From the pass the scenery changes dramatically, offering extraordinary views across basalt ridges and ravines to the Djebel Bani beyond. Saving the more popular descent via the Tizi n’Tazazert pass for another day, we’ll take a slightly more challenging route to the valley floor and Nkob.

By the time evening comes around, your brain will be wondering if what you saw this morning really was today.

Day 7: Nkob – Desert Bivouac

Tarmac: 67mi / 108km   –   Piste: 103mi / 166km   –   Total: 170mi / 274km   –   61% Piste

The piste begins at the edge of town where switchbacks lead to a little used,  ‘invisible’ pass that carries us onto carries the Djebel Beni. Our descent passes another un-named cirque into the Draa Valley before looping north to Tazzarine for lunch, and the purchase of supplies for tonights desert bivouac. A short stretch of tarmac follows as we fuel-up and turn east, following the Oued Taghbalt through gardens and date palms to Oum Jrane, and a last chance to pick up snacks before continuing into the desert for tonights billion star hotel.

Day 8: Desert Bivouac – Agdz

Tarmac: 124mi / 200km   –   Piste: 85mi /  137km   –   Total: 186mi / 297km   –   46% Piste

‘Sand’. A word that strikes fear into many an Adventure rider. But with the right technique and a little practice there’s no reason why it should. Today is the day to overcome that fear and that’s exactly what we’ll do as we tackle a few short sandy sections. You can’t say you’ve ridden in the desert but not tackle a bit of sand can you!

After lunch we’ll take a piste into the western end of the Djebel Sarhro and a landscape like no other in Morocco.

Day 9: Rest Day in Agdz

A chance to fettle your bike or chill out by the pool and prepare yoursef for tomorrow’s piste, the longest of the tour.

Day 10: Agdz – Tazenakht

Tarmac: 124mi / 200km   –   Piste: 106mi / 171km   –   Total: 227mi / 363km   –   47% Piste

A long day in the saddle with no less than six piste stages and lunch in the spectacular Aguinan Canyon, that you’ll be forgiven for thinking is a dead-end. You won’t believe there’s a rideable exit until you’ve ridden it! We’ll end our day in the market town of Tazenakht, famed for its rugs and carpets, but without the hassle of Marrakesh, Meknes or Fez. Indeed, this is where those northern traders come to buy the rugs made by local Berber women.

Day 11: Tazenakht – Bou Tharar (Valley of Roses)

Tarmac: 94mi / 151km   –   Piste: 69mi / 111km   –   Total: 163mi / 261km   –   43% Piste

As we ascend a little used piste  across the Djebel Sarhro with its flat topped mesas and canyons you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve woken up in Arizona. Once across the Route de Kasbahs we’ll ascend the Jebel Talouit for a spectacular view over our accommodation in Bou Tharar to the High Atlas beyond.

Day 12: Bou Tharar – Imi n’Ifri

Tarmac: 94mi / 152km   –   Piste: 41mi / 66km   –   Total: 135mi / 207km   –   32% Piste

With the M’Goun range on our right we’ll follow the valley SW on piste until we hit tarmac and turn north to cross the Tizi n’Fedrhate (2190m) and Tizi n’Outfi (2059m) passes on this backroad across the High Atlas.

Day 13: Imi n’Ifri – Cascades d’Ouzoud

111mi / 177km

Squeezing through a gap in the ridgeline, past irridescent green terraced fields more akin to Northern Pakistan, we climb to a pass and a final look across the High Atlas,  before following the Oued Lakhdar valley as it loops north away from the mountains.

Day 14: Cascades d’Ouzoud – Fez

237mi / 379km

Fez: The most complete medieval city of the Arab world and home to the world’s largest car-free urban area. The 9500 streets and alleys in the Old Medina will bombard your senses with sights, sounds and smells… will you remember your way back to our accommodation?

Day 15: Fez – Malaga

297mi / 475km

Last day in Africa as we return to Tangier Med and the ferry to Spain

Day 16: Malaga

Hotel checkout is 1100.

For those flying home, please book your flights for early afternoon.

Should anyone want to check-out late, or extend there stay, please let us know and additional charges will apply.

 

Route Map

Route map of the Morocco Atlas Eight Tour

Route map of the Moroccan Atlas Eight tour.

What's Included

Return ferry from Algeciras (Spain) to Tanger Med (Morocco) for bike and rider.

Bed & Breakfast accommodation on a twin-sharing basis – unless a single room has been booked.

Nine evening meals in Morocco

Tour lead by Adventure Rider and World Traveler Adam Lewis.

Support vehicle carrying medical kit, tools and some spares including tyres.

Professional Medic

Excludes

Any travel costs associated with getting to the start/finish of the tour.

Personal Travel Insurance (compulsory)

Motorcycle Insurance including compulsory 3rd Party motorcycle insurance (Green Card or buy at the border)

Breakdown recovery insurance

Fuel, oil, tyres, and any other motorcycle consumables or spare parts

Road tolls and traffic fines

Meals – except where stated

Drinks

Tips

Personal spending money

Food at bivouacs (evening meal & breakfast)

Anything else not stated as included

How to book

Bookings can be made through the website, via email and even over the phone!

Payment Methods

 – Website

  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Debit/Credit Card
  • Cheque*

 – Phone

  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Debit/Credit Card
  • Cheque*

 – Email

  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Cheque*

*Cheque payments – Please phone us before making a payment by cheque. We are regularly out of the country and so it can take a while to process and confirm your payment.

To make a booking online…

1. From the page of your chosen tour, select the Booking form relevant to the tour you’d like to book.

2. Fill in as many details as you can (fields marked * are mandatory) and then click SUBMIT at the foot of the form.

– Submitting the Booking Form opens your account that you can access via our homepage. See ‘My Account’ below.

3. After submitting the Booking Form you will be returned to your chosen tours page TO MAKE THE BOOKING

4. Select the date of your chosen tour.

5. Select a single room supplement if required.

6. Select Deposit or Full Amount and click ‘Book’

– If you’re booking a tour more than 3-months prior to departure then we require a deposit of 20% with the balance payable 8-weeks prior to the departure of the tour.

Booking Screenshot

– If you’re booking a tour less than 3-months prior to departure then we require the full amount paying at the time of booking.

Booking Screenshot

7. You will now be on the Checkout page where you can complete your billing details, select your payment method and place your order.

8. That’s it…you’re done! Now get in the shed and get your bike fettled!

My Account

When you submit a Booking Form an account will be created for you. You can access your account via our homepage

This is where you’ll be able to add and edit all of your required personal information etc

You can make your balance payment via your account.

 

2020 Booking Form

Atlas Eight - 2020 - Booking Form

Please enter as much information as you can now (* required). You will be able to complete the form at a later date.

After submitting this form you will be returned to the Atlas Eight page to make a payment.

If booking more than 3 months prior to the departure date, you will need to pay a deposit. If you are booking less than 3 months prior to the departure date, you will need to pay the full amount.  

If you need any assistance please call us - 07462 729774

     
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Useful Info

Documents

Passport – valid for at least 6 months.

Driving License

Registration document (Logbook/V5)

Motorcycle Insurance

Green card – if available from your insurer, otherwise available to buy at the border.

D16 Temporary Import document. We’ll explain how to do this online once you have booked.

Health

It’s a good idea to check the validity of your current vaccinations prior to coming on tour. The following websites should be useful in determining what vaccinations you need.

https://www.masta-travel-health.com/

https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

Local currency

The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). ATM’s are widely available.

Language

The official language is Modern Standard Arabic but most government and official business is conducted in French so dust of your old school books. – “Deux bières s’il vous plait”.

Weather

Once we get down to the desert it’ll be comfortably warm but leaving Nador and crossing the Rekam Plateau can be quite chilly, downright cold if it rains. By the middle of day two we should see temperatures around 20°C and increasing to the mid-20’s as we head further south. Desert nights can be cold so a 0°C rated sleeping bag is recommended.

1 review for Morocco – Atlas Eight

  1. Ian Kimm, Scotland. Atlas Eight 2019 – BMW R1200GS.”

    I wanted a tour that would challenge my skills and hopefully improve on the ones I had. The level 2 [Atlas Eight] did that for me. I have done a little off road on smaller dirt bike when I was a lot younger, but I never done anything like the Atlas 8 on a 240kg + bike.
    I had been to Morocco before but I wasn’t confident wandering onto the trails by myself and without back-up or knowing where I was going – there is no AA or RAC breakdown recovery! You could spend several days looking for good trails to ride and time for me was limited due to work commitments. It seemed a smart move to go on a guided tour and well worth the money.
    I had a fabulous time on the tour, it gave me a true sense of adventure motorcycling. As the days progressed and my confidence and my ability improved I was keeping up with Adam….well almost.

    Don’t miss it. You will be reminiscing it for decades!

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