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Route

Technical characteristics

Route Profile:  Medium. A good level of fitness is required for this trip as there are some climbs, with 21km as the longest. Great riding mainly on good quality tarmac with the occasional rougher section. Rides are mostly undulating with a number of optional long climbs and fast descents. Terrain and route: surface 90% tarmac, 10% unsurfaced road.

Distance: 392 km

Travel Season: Departures February 12; March 5; April 9; April 30; September 10; September 24; October 8 and November 5, 2022

Accommodation:

We stay in a mixture of hotels and small privately owned riads throughout the trip. A riad is a large Moroccan house or palace with an interior courtyard or garden normally containing a swimming pool; they are usually very well decorated in a traditional Moroccan style. One of the raids has a fantastic fruit garden surrounding the property; we can pick our own fruit directly from the trees and enjoy a swim in the pool. Single supplement not available on Day 2.

Encompassing the best of Morocco, this trip will take us past the foothills of Mount Toubkal, golden Kasbahs, impressive gorges and the long sandy beach of Essaouira. This spectacular route follows smooth tarmac roads and climbs over high mountain passes that reward you with spectacular vistas of the High Atlas Mountains. A real highlight is riding through Paradise Valley, close to Imouzzer, where a palm filled valley leads to a high pass with views down to the ocean below. After all the riding we will receive a warm welcome from a range of great hotels including a traditional Riad.

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival in Marrakech

We recommend walking or taking a taxi into the old city. Here there is plenty to explore like the old walled medina and its winding alleyways which are filled with souks selling everything from street food to pottery and jewellery.

Day 2

Transfer to Tadmamt; cycle in the foothills of Mount Toubkal to Ijoukak 16 km

We transfer out of Marrakech this morning to Tadmamt and begin our cycling journey into the foothills of Mount Toubkal. After a nice warm up on a wonderful undulating road, we enjoy a long descent into the Asni Valley with beautiful views. We then follow the river and cross over a number of bridges before arriving in Tigmmi n'Tmazrite and our hotel for the evening.

Day 3

Challenging climb followed by exhilarating descent from Tizi n'Test Pass (2100 m) to Oulad Berhil 87 km

The day begins with a challenging climb to the dramatic Tizi n'Test Pass (2100 meters). We are rewarded with dramatic views to the south over the Sousse Valley towards the Anti Atlas Mountains. After lunch we have a truly dramatic and, in places, quite steep descent as the road winds down to the valley. Once in the valley our ride takes us past orange, lemon and grapefruit groves as we approach Oulad Berhil. Here we receive a warm welcome, wonderful food and a relaxing evening at our beautiful riad. This converted palace is a wonderful addition to the end of our day with roaming peacocks and the chance to pick our own fruit straight off the trees.

Day 4

Cycle towards Tafraoute in Anti Atlas Mountains; optional transfer/ride to see the famous Blue Rocks 60 km

We have a morning transfer into the Anti Atlas Mountains and the real southern Morocco, much of it semi-desert and a complete contrast to the fertile Sousse Valley. We travel through argan country trying to spot the incredible tree climbing goats which are famously found here. From Irherm, we are surrounded by almond trees and our road has some wonderful ups and downs as we pass through many farms and little mud-walled Berber villages. The last section of the ride is another wonderful descent of about 12 kilometers through the most dramatic scenery to Tafraoute.

Day 5

Pass pink houses and kasbahs en route to Ait Baha Lake; transfer to Agadir 70 km

We transfer to Tizi M’Lil and begin another varied ride, undulating through spectacular hills, past traditional villages and hill-top kasbahs, with some superb balcony sections with excellent views. There are a few climbs, but the ride ends with an exhilarating descent to Ait Baha Lake and then we transfer to the coastal resort of Agadir

Day 6

Spectacular ride through the Paradise Valley; climb to Imouzzer 45 km

Today we enjoy a truly spectacular ride through Paradise Valley, a narrow gorge lined with palm trees. Towards the head of the valley we have another challenging climb with excellent views, eventually reaching a high plateau and the little town of Imouzzer, the end point of one of the most dramatic rides on our route. Originally the home of the Ida Outanane Berber tribe, Imouzzer retains a strong cultural identity.

Day 7

Cycle through traditional villages and palmaris to Essouira 60 km

We start cycling from the front door and begin with another excellent winding descent on a good road to a valley dotted with palm trees and traditional villages. There are a couple of moderate climbs over rocky hills and descents back into the fertile valleys before we reach the main coast road and the end of the ride. After a picnic lunch we transfer (one and a half hours) to our destination for the evening, Essaouira. This charming old Portuguese fishing port dates back to the 15th century, but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, Essaouira is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to Marrakech. There's plenty of interest in the narrow traffic free streets of the old town and we stay overnight in a traditional Riad hotel.

Day 8

Free morning in Essaouira; transfer to Marrakech; free time

After a free morning to explore lovely Essaouira, we transfer to the vibrant city of Marrakech. Simply enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice in one of the many rooftop cafés overlooking the Djemma El Fna Square, or perhaps take a calèche (a bright green horse drawn carriage) ride to the peaceful Majorelle Gardens. These small but tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo blue and house the small Museum of Islamic Art in the grounds. A final treat would be to go for a hammam, a traditional Moroccan steam bath. A visit to Djemma el Fna Square this evening is the ultimate reward for our week's cycling - with snake charmers, story tellers, smoky food stalls and souks, there is no other way to experience the exciting atmosphere of Marrakech.

Day 9

End Marrakech

Time today to see more of Marrakech before the trip ends

Prices

    Included:

    • 6 nights hotels, 2 nights in traditional Moroccan riads
    • Meals according to the program - 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
    • All transport and listed activities
    • Tour leader throughout
    • Support vehicle and driver
    • Bike rental - Ridgeback Element hybrid bikes

    Not included:

    • Travel Insurance
    • Visas or vaccinations

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