Any tips for Morocco?

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  • Any tips for Morocco?
  • Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    sounds amazing, v jealous. 8)

    Only been to Marrakesh, everyone friendly, but everyone wants to sell you something. night-time food market in the Jemaa-el fna has to be seen (snake charmers, communal dining, sweet sellers)

    allthegear
    Member

    If you need a place to stay in Fès, stay here. Lovely place.

    http://www.booking.com/Share-KDFYW8

    Looked after me when I rode down there earlier in the year.

    How many in your group? Or riding alone?

    Rachel

    5lab
    Member

    essuera has a really good fish market where they’ll cook it for you, marrakesh is fun but super hectic. Take a packet of cigarettes to offer police (smooths the journey), be prepared to haggle on everything. If you’re paying more than half the price you’d pay in the UK, you’re being ripped off.

    Chefchuan and tagazout would probably be my highlights, but I recon they’re both a bit out of the way for you

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    Just me, riding solo. Will take a look, thanks

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
    Subscriber

    I will write an extensive reply later. But. I would choose Fez over Marrakesh as an intro to Morrocan culture. What type of bike are you on? Can it/you handle gravel tracks? This will make a huge difference in recommendations of where you should go and where you won’t be able to 🙂

    freeagent
    Member

    I’ve done 2 ‘Landrover’ touring holidays in Morocco, and will be going back as soon as I can afford another 4×4.

    Personally I enjoyed the area further south the best – Mhamid, Zagora, etc.
    They are proper old fashioned desert towns.

    However, try and go to Aït Benhaddou – just north of Ouarzazate.
    There are loads of auberge type guest houses, but worth trying to do a nights wild camping if you can.

    here is a couple of pics from our trips (2006 and 2009)

    Dakar rally route near the Algerian border –

    Salt lake in southern Morocco

    I think this was in the Atlas mountains –

    wild camping spot in southern Morocco

    Road from Mhamid to Zagora

    BillMC
    Member

    Make sure you make it clear that you want to stay where your bike will be stored inside a building. I struggle to think of many places in Marrakech’s medina that could do this but if you go to the hotels in the suburbs you will pay through the nose. I was in the Ourika valley earlier this year, that was pretty spectacular. I think more fun could be had in remoter areas than the usual tourist spots and be wary of riding at night as you get plenty of unlit donkey carts and animals running around. I’d be a bit cautious about camping rough, there’s some pretty exotic insects there that could f you up good and proper.

    marcus
    Member

    Are you sticking to tarmac ? If not have a look at Chris Scott’s book Morocco overland, which has some lovely routes in it.- Having said that, a few of them may be surfaced now.
    They are a bit further south than you are currently planning, but I would recommend Tafraoute and Taroudant are worth a look. Also Hotel Sahara Sky near Zagora and Hotel Bab RImal in Foum Zguid were very ‘sureal’

    allthegear
    Member

    Just tweeted a couple of pics of the parking at that place in Fès. Was pretty secure!

    Rachel

    marcus
    Member

    Just out of interest, whats it like sorting 3rd party road insurance out now ?

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Subscriber

    I went in 2001 when I was 19 so any advice is probably out of date, but it really is a wonderful place. However I still struggle to eat a tagine, it was all I ate for four weeks straight. The hash was superb 😀 and stick with the mint tea, it takes a few attempts to like it as its so sweet but its great for when after you have sweated balls all day. enjoy!

    scruff
    Member

    The tea is disgusting, the carpet seller’s are plentiful. They have seen women with blonde hair before.

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    Morning all

    Off to Morocco on Saturday for 6 days of touring on the motorbike. Planning a circular tour from Casablanca; I don’t want to spend all day on the bike so thinking 300km a day ish.

    I’d like to get up into the mountains, to the Sahara if possible and and also the coast. Essaouira has been recommended and I’d like to at least pop in to Marrakesh.

    Rough idea of route (but taking minor roads rather than the main roads that Google has plotted:

    http://tinyurl.com/ybrgdsnp

    Planning on a mix of wild camping where I can get away with it with the odd night in hotels. Any recommendations of places not to miss or alternatively
    avoid would be welcome.

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    Thanks for all the responses. I’ll be on a dual sport so some potential for off road…

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    The tea is disgusting,

    If you’re talking about mint tea, no it’s not! 😆

    (Although I did tire of hearing them describe it as Moroccan whiskey, every single time they talked about it.)

    Rockape63
    Member

    Been to Morocco twice in the past year, Marrakech and Agadir and I can confirm the mint tea is disgusting! They keep serving it and I did my best but could never finish it.

    Don’t know enough about the country, but the west coast has some great beaches and some impressive views, so maybe Casablanca to Agadir would be a great route. Certainly sounds awesome!

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    but everyone wants to sell you something

    Mainly stuff mass-produced in China, made to look local eg mother of pearl inlaid boxed, all made by machine. You see the same stuff all over the middle east eg Cairo, Damascus, Marrakesh etc….

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Zagora and Imlil would offer some great riding and big scenery. Zagora is on the edge of the desert too.

    All the local villages we stayed in had simple accommodation, often with a small Hammam… Coastal route to Agadir and Essouira would be great. There is a lot of big open spaces of dry fields in the north.

    Dates gorge and some of the Tizi named passes would also be ace and are well surfaced.

    Premier Icon paulx
    Subscriber

    Ah yes – Morocco back in 2002.

    We did a 6 night organised ‘follow the leader’ dirt bike route.

    Ouarzazate, Tinghir, Erfound, Merzouga, Zagora. Was just superb.

    wl
    Member

    Fes is amazing. Skoura is well worth a visit and a night too – quite unlike anywhere I’ve been. Meknes is also smart, and the Atlas region too, obviously. Dades Gorge would be ace on a motorbike. Try to learn some basic Arabic (greetings, thanks etc). We found the the locals appreciate this more than speaking French. Mint tea? Not my cup of tea. I’ll get my coat…

    allthegear
    Member

    I’ll be on a dual sport so some potential for off road…

    Heh – all bikes are dual-sport if you try 😉

    Rachel

    oh yeah – and road signs can add fun to the occasion:

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Essaoura is interesting, fairly rough and ready fishing port famed for Orson Wells filming there, we stayed a bit up the coast in Riad Rebali. Pretty windy there well known for kite surf these days I think.

    Mountains where the highlight for us, we went in Jan and had first snows. Marrakesh is an assault on the senses and patience. Try and find a chilled Riad to get away from it all for a bit (Riad Hikaya for us)

    Premier Icon LittleNose
    Subscriber

    this :-

    Only been to Marrakesh, everyone friendly, but everyone wants to sell you something.

    In Marrakesh we found that our wallets were constantly worried about being assaulted by the friendly people… never once felt personally threatened.

    I’d also second that the road signage can be confusing… when we came back to the city looking for the airport we had to follow the airport bus.

    BTW I’m very jealous!

    scud
    Member

    I used to run 5 week trips round Morocco in an old converted truck, beautiful place and away from the salesmen, great people.

    Avoid, Tangiers it’s where the drugs and money changing takes place and avoid Casablanca unless you’re over that way, it’s the bureaucratic centre and apart from the mosque, not a great deal else there..Also avoid Agadir, it’s where old French people get winter sun, bit like Moroccan Bournemouth.

    As well as the places above i’d recommend Chefchaouen in the northern Rif mountains, great first place to get to if you are getting ferry across from Spain (Algercias to Ceuta best route), then from there, head down to Fez and Meknes, Fez is the largest ancient medina in the world, and worth getting a guide for.

    If you head in to the Atlas Mountains at all, worth seeing the gorges at Todra and Dades and the waterfalls at Cascades D’Ouzoud. If you’re planning to see the Sahara, easiest and most well know entry point is at Erg Chebbi and great campsite on route as Meski (old Foreign Legion camp built round natural spring)

    Second Essaoura as a great little town, different vibe to rest of Morocco and you may see the odd surfing arab with dreads.. some great restaurants too.

    If i think of anything else while avoiding work i’ll let you know, but if you have questions email me, got loads of books and mapping here too (although 15 years old many of them), spent over 2 years there in total and loved it

    [/url]Untitled by Scud75, on Flickr[/img]

    [/url]Untitled by Scud75, on Flickr[/img]

    jonah tonto
    Member

    My only advice would be to get away from Casablanca as quickly as possible. South of there morrocco is lovely.

    The atlas are amazing. Ride over the tizi n’test pass.

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    Absolutely plan to, only there for the night prior to the trip and fly out the same day I return.

    Thanks for all the input, appetite truly whetted 🙂

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    @paulx
    What bikes are those? Ténéré?

    That is basically what I want to do, any feedback on the bikes?

    I lived there for 2 years whilst working on an engineering project.
    Most things are covered above, but;
    Don’t speed even on the empty autoroute upto Meknes/Fes – lots of cops have speed cameras.
    Be aware of the local motorbike mounted guides as you approach Fes-harmless but will mither you (every single day whilst commuting between Meknes and Fes).
    Sheraton Fes has a decent happy hour in the bar if you need to escape the mither
    Be a bit switched on if your going through the Rif weed growing areas
    Buy 200 Malboro’s before arriving to ease any officialdom
    Don’t trust the hotel car park ‘guardians’ – had my local car damaged (broken window/rummaged interiors) a few times despite always tipping the guy (Casablanca)

    Take plenty of pics and post them on here when you return!

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    300km a day but have you factored stopping in 45 degree heat to rehydrate?
    19 years old on a DT125R from Marrakech to Essaouira was amazing but be carefull of the heat.

    bazzer
    Member

    Ahhh I want to go, if my contract does not get renewed in two weeks I might just go 🙂

    bazzer
    Member

    How much hassle is the customs/border crossing ?

    Premier Icon paulx
    Subscriber

    @paulx
    What bikes are those? Ténéré?

    That is basically what I want to do, any feedback on the bikes?

    This was back in 2002 on Honda XR400r s- they were bullet proof – not the most comfortable but oodles of fun. I se they are running KTM’s now,

    We went with these guys Wilderness Wheels. I think they had just started back then. Peter is the guy to speak to to at WW.

    The thread has got me thinking I should get the gang back together for a 15 year anniversary re-run of the tour. Might have trouble getting that past the good wife as I have explained many times that the MTB’s were to replace the dirt bikes…

    allthegear
    Member

    I didn’t don’t it a problem at all. Had a good laugh with the border officials and was first out.

    I did have to explain that no, I wasn’t looking for a Moroccan husband, though.

    Rachel

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    1991 on a DT125R and 19 years old and totally stoned. If I hadn’t spent all my money of petrol and dope I’d have some photos to share.

    Whilst driving thru a village in the middle of nowhere Morocco I spotted a kid riding a mint condition early Raleigh Chopper! I turned round and tried buying it off him but he wouldn’t sell it.
    Completely random!

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    At Paris CDG waiting for the flight to Casablanca.

    Thank you all for the input – I’ll try and post a couple of pics during the week.

    ivnickkate
    Member

    Hi Ben, check that your insurance covers Morocco.

    Here’s the start of my friend’s story, he was a member of a motorbike forum, when he replied to a post that a group of them should tour Morocco……….. 😀 What could possibly go wrong?

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Pics … please do

    allthegear
    Member

    Yes, pics please!!

    Rachel

    Premier Icon ben
    Subscriber

    I’m back. Didn’t quite manage to share any pics during the trip, but made it safely home last Sunday.

    It was an incredible week, such an amazing country. Everybody was so welcoming, the wild camping was fantastic and the trails amazing. I mainly stuck to the road, with the occasional bit of off road. Definitely want to return with more time and my own bike and explore some more pistes with less time pressure.

    Route was basically Casablanca – Azrou – Erfoud – Merzouga – Ouarzazate – Aït Benhaddou – Telouet – Marrakesh – Essaouira – Casablanca

    1650km in 7 days in the end, can’t wait to return.

    A few photos:

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