4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco

4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco #MuchMorocco

CO Africa, Roadtrip & Adventure, Travel Blog 5 Comments

Morocco is a country which literally has it all, it offers towering mountain ranges covered in snow, rivers flowing through deep canyons, paradise white sand beaches, the vastness of the Sahara Desert, and most importantly of all, it’s all connected together by some of the most amazing roads in the world. The perfect combination for an adventure motorbike trip in Morocco!

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

This is so important because Morocco is where we chose to rekindle our love of motorcycle travel. When we first met in Laos back in May 2013, over three years ago, I (Jonathan) was on a motorcycle trip with my best friend from home, so I invited BZFLAG to go out for the day with me into the mountains around Luang Prabang. That day of cruising around the mountains, stopping at view points along the way became our first date and the first of many motorbike adventures we had together all over Laos and northern Vietnam.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

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We continued travelling by motorbike in India with an old Royal Enfield, exploring the beaches and countryside of south India. After this though, we moved to South America where the regulations of owning and riding a motorbike are a lot stricter, so we fell away from motorcycle travel for quite a while – 2 whole years in fact!  When we had the opportunity to come to Morocco, we knew that this was the perfect moment to get back onto a motorbike on some of the best environments and roads for motorcycle travel in the world!

The next step in our plans was to find out the best way to do motorcycle travel in Morocco. As we didn’t have our own bike and we knew nothing of the routes and roads in Morocco either. We had a look online and while there were quite a few motorcycle rental companies in Morocco, but there was only one Official BMW Motorrad Partner – . To be an Official partner of BMW Motorrad means complying with a very strict set of operational guidelines, safety and of course quality and maintenance. This guarantees the highest levels of quality and safety in the motorcycles and equipment. As well being an official partner, the owner of Palm Road, Reda Jabri, is also a BMW Motorrad Certified Tour Guide, which means he has completed a series of expert training courses at the BMW Motorrad training center in Germany. Reda has been riding and offering tours in Morocco for many years and you can read more about him here – Reda Jabri – Motorbikes and Mountains in Morocco!

For our first time riding in over two years, our first time riding anything like the BMW and our first time riding in Morocco, Palm Road seemed like the perfect choice for our motorcycle adventure in Morocco!

Although I had never ridden a BMW motorbike before, motorcycle adventure films like ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ and Ewan Mcgregor’s ‘Long Way Round’ and ‘Long Way Down’ gave me the bug for adventure motorcycle riding long before I ever had my license.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Reda had a choice of BMW’s on offer at Palm Road; the iconic BMW adventure motorbike, the BMW 1200 GS; the tough middle weight BMW F800 GS – and the agile BMW F700 GS. These are all amazing adventure motorcycles in their own rite, but after two years of not riding I made my choice according to which bike allowed me to put my feet flat on the ground – the smaller BMW F700 GS! The F700 GS felt like the perfect bike straight away, enough size and power to handle itself on the open roads, yet light and agile enough to easily manoeuvre over any rough terrain.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Next up was to decide on our route, I met up with Reda in a Marrakech café to discuss the best route to take, so that we could experience the best that Morocco has to offer. Palm Road offers three standard guided tour routes, all of which combine different aspects of Morocco’s contrasting landscapes and intriguing cultures. As the time we had was a little shorter than the 7 days of his shortest route, Reda came up with a customised tour.

Day 1 Marrakech – Tichka – Ouarzazate – Agdez (270 Km) – Crossing the Atlas Mountains

Day 2 Agdez – Zagora – M’hamid (200 Km) – Through the Draa Valley

Day 3 M’hamid – Zagora – Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou (280 Km) – Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

Day 4 Ait Ben Haddou – Telouet – Tichka – Marrakech (200km) – The amazing ride home

With no distances greater than 280 km in any one day, we would never be riding for more than 4 hours and with plenty of breaks and viewpoints en-route.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco – Planning the route

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco – One of many incredible views

Monkey DividersDAY 1 – Marrakech – Tichka – Ouarzazate – Agdez (270 Km)

On the first day, we started from Marrakesh, navigating the busy roads of the city until the traffic gradually faded away and the flat straight road started morphing into a serpentine black ribbon wrapped around mountain slopes. These winding roads took us high into the Atlas Mountains where the wind grew stronger and colder and riding the motorbike started to become more of a challenge.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco – Last stop before the hardest part of the route

We stopped for coffee at a restaurant with a panoramic mountain view to rest and prepare for the toughest part of the day’s riding – the Tichka Pass. There was already a smattering of snow across the terraced slopes and there was more to come as we headed higher towards the snow-covered peaks we could see in the distance.

What came next was honestly the most-challenging ride of my life so far – the below freezing temperatures, gale-force gusts of wind, snow and icy mud – all creating conditions that were a massive step up from anything I had ridden through before. It was a tense ride, but reaching the top of the pass made it all worthwhile, despite being an almost total whiteout.

As we descended back down the other side of the Atlas Mountain range, I realised how much I had taken smooth, dry, grippy tarmac roads for granted as we got back to swinging the bikes smoothly through the corners while the snow melted away again to reveal the rocks and sand of the desert lowlands.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco – Recovery stop after the challenging Tichka Pass

After lunch in Ouarzazate we continued to the ancient town of Agdez, where we spent the night at DAR QAMAR STE ASLIM MOBILIER, a beautiful boutique hotel located in the heart of the old village.

Check out our full review of Dar Qamar Ste Aslim Mobilier, a true hidden gem of a hotel in Agdez.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco – Dar Qamar Ste Aslim Mobilier

Monkey Dividers

DAY 2 – Agdez – Zagora – M’hamid (200 Km)

Day 2 – Agdez – Zagora – M’hamid (200 Km)

The next day we rode another 200 km’s on twisting, curving roads, through Zagora and onwards to M’hamid, also known as the end of the world, where the road ends and the desert begins. From here we travelled by 4×4 into the desert with Sahara Experience, to spend the night in a luxury desert camp and even ride camels through the stunning sand dunes at sunset.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

This ride would be one of the most spectacular, as we entered Draa Valley with its carpet of Palm Trees, riding through the twisting roads of the valley with a renewed confidence after two years without any riding at all. The BMW F700GS was the perfect motorbike for these roads; big enough to be well-balanced and capable with rider and pillion, powerful enough to pass several vehicles safely between corners, yet nimble and agile enough to carve up the turns with no more than slight shift in the hips. The F700GS should not be overlooked in favour of its bigger, more popular brothers, it’s a perfect touring motorbike in its own right.

On the final stretch of the ride to M’Hamid, we passed through the town of Zagora and then out into the dusty, dry heat of the desert. The contrast to the previous day’s riding could not have been greater; the hot air blasting up through the helmet, which replaced the icy air and drifting snow of the day before turned to spirals of sand whipped up by the desert wind. The nearer we got to our destination, the more the perfectly smooth Moroccan tarmac started to crumble and narrow at the edges, until we reached M’Hamid, referred to as the end of the world, where the road simply stopped altogether and the desert took its place.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

As the road ended and the desert began we rode into the towered entrance of Hotel Kasbah of Sahara Experience, where we would rest for lunch and prepare for the journey into the desert, swapping two wheels for four with an experienced local Berber to navigate us safely through the constantly shifting sand dunes. With our heads covered with traditional Berber blue desert head wear, we drove for almost two hours through the desert, stopping along the way to visit a nomadic family living in a desert tent, surrounded only by rocks, sand and the few animals they kept.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Our final stop for the night was a desert camp in a large hollow between sand dunes. To find it there at all was a complete surprise, completely hidden by the towering sand on all sides. The luxury desert camp was made up of ten or more white tents, about ten feet tall by ten feet wide. Inside we were amazed to find a comfortable double bed, electrical points and lights, even a fully functioning bathroom with running hot water!

BZFLAG Travel - morocco motorbike trip4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

As the sun started to set, a man arrived with three camels to take us on a sunset camel trek through the desert. The camels groaned in noisy protest as they kneeled for us to clamber onto their backs. As we rode a short distance from the camp, it became obvious how easily people could get lost in the desert, as within minutes the camp was out of sight and every dune looked the same as the next. Only our local guide really knew where we were. As we headed back towards the camp, the sun fell slowly into the sand.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

That evening we sat down to a home cooked Moroccan dinner of lamb tagine and couscous, before moving to the large campfire outside, where there was no noise to disturb the peace and stillness of the desert and no light but the fire, allowing every star to shine clearly against the black sky.

Read all about our luxury desert camping with Sahara Experience.

The desert is such an integral part of Moroccan life, history and culture. In fact, it might even be possible to say that you can learn more about Morocco from one night in the desert, than from a week in Marrakech.

Monkey Dividers

DAY 3 – M’hamid – Zagora – Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou (280 Km)

Early the next morning, we had a light breakfast and jumped back into the four wheel drive to head back to M’Hamid, back to our bikes and back to the road, to shower and change in the Hotel Kasbah ready for the first leg of our return journey to Marrakech.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Leaving the desert behind, we rode back through Zagora and Ouarzazate, to the town of Ait Ben Haddou, where we spent the night in the luxurious Riad Ksar Ighnda, a palatial luxury hotel built into the ruins of the old town, or the Ksar. The Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a traditional pre-Saharan settlement, made up of earthen buildings packed together within defensive walls and reinforced by towers in the corners.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Riding up to the gates of Ksar Ighnda felt like approaching a castle, with high walls, towers and tall wooden doors. Our rooms were located on the roof top where a network of interconnecting roof terraces gave incredible views across the surrounding landscape, a carpet of lush green vegetation and palm trees filling the small valley. In the inner courtyard was a large, cooling pool shaded by foliage and native trees. After exploring the various overlapping levels and shapes of the hotel itself, we headed for the hamman to soak out the dust after the exhilarating ride back from the desert.

Read our full review of the Riad Ksar Ighnda in Ait Ben Haddou.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

Monkey Dividers

DAY 4 – Ait Ben Haddou – Telouet – Tichka – Marrakech

The final day of our motorcycle adventure would take us all the way back from Ait Ben Haddhou, over the Atlas Mountains through the Tishka Pass and all the way back to Marrakech. The amazing thing about this route is that even though we were riding the same way we had come from, every corner and every view is a totally unique experience when riding in the opposite direction!

As we climbed back up to the top of the Tishka Pass, much of the snow had melted away and the gale force winds of the previous days had disappeared making it a much easier and pleasant ride.

4 Day Motorbike Trip in South Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

This last leg of the ride was a chance to reflect on the whole journey of the past few days; how it was possible to experience a bustling city, a snow-covered mountain pass, a palm-filled valley, rocky plains and the unending vastness of the Sahara Desert, all in just several days. To say my riding had improved would be an understatement. The challenge of a bigger bike, snow and mud, and a constant stream of tight mountain bends, all combined with the watchful eye and expert advice from Reda, increasing my skills and confidence on the bike.

This was our first time back on the motorbike together in two years and it was a truly incredible to experience first-hand what keeps luring adventure bikers here from all over the world, year after year.

We rode all the way from Ait Ben Haddou back to Marrakesh, back over the Atlas Mountains through the Tichka Pass, stopping to take in the amazing scenery along the way, ending our day at Marrakech Riad Cinnamon.

Hotel Review Riad Cinnamon, Marrakech Morocco4 Day Adventure Motorbike Trip in Morocco

It felt amazing to be back on two wheels again, especially such an amazing bike (the BMW F700GS) and being guided through the best routes by Reda. We were officially back on two wheels, with many more motorbike adventures yet to come!

Monkey Dividers

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Comments 5

  1. It seems like you had enjoyed a lot on your motorbike trip adventure in Morocco and made a lots of unforgettable memories. Guys follow me on Twitter @daisyvanderson

  2. Don’t you think 4 days are less time to visit morocco. I had here for 7 days and still there was many places i left. But i loved BMW Gs bike best commuter for adventure rides.

  3. That is quite an adventure on a bike. Riding over 200km a day is actually admirable with all the wind in your hair… Morroco is truly magical with its beaches, snow mountains, the desert and river valleys. I wonder, is the south towards the desert safe for tourists…. that area is known for terrorism groups but i’m not sure if that affects Morocco side of the Sahara.

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