We transfer out of Marrakech this morning to Tadmamt and begin our cycling journey into the foothills of Mt 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 Dar Elmouahidines and our hotel for the evening. Approximate distance cycled 80km.
We enjoy an exhilarating descent this morning from Tizi n'Test Pass (2100m) before stopping for lunch with wonderful views. We continue into the Souss region, which exports most of their crops thanks to the rich and fertile plateau. Our day is complete when we arrive at Oulad Berhil to enjoy a warm reception, 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 tree. Approximate distance cycled 73km.
After a morning transfer, we head towards the Anti Atlas Mountains and real southern Morocco. We travel through Argan country trying to spot the incredible tree climbing goats which are famously found here, where an attractive mosque is perfectly set against the rocky cliffs behind. From Irherm, we are surrounded by almond trees and our road has some wonderful ups and downs as we pass through many farms and see how important agriculture continues to be for Berbers. When we arrive in Tafraoute, there is the option to visit the famous Blue Rocks, designed by Belgian artist Jean Verame, which are only 6km away (cycle or drive). Approximate distance cycled 60km.
Today we can see how important the colour pink is in Morocco, as we pass many pink houses through various villages. We have a beautiful ride on a quiet road and we can see the scenery change coming out of the Atlas Mountains. After a short photo stop at a golden kasbah, we cycle to Ait Baha Lake and then transfer to Agadir. Approximate distance cycled 70km.
Today we enjoy a truly spectacular ride through the Paradise Valley to Imouzzer, one of the most dramatic rides on our route. Originally the home of the Ida Outanane Berber tribe, Imouzzer reflects a strong cultural identity. We spend the night in a very comfortable hotel here. Approximate distance cycled 56km.
We start cycling from the front door and our route reveals a very different landscape today, as we take on a challenging climb to a beautiful viewpoint across the Atlantic Ocean and 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 are also many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants to sample before staying overnight in a traditional Riad Hotel. Approximate distance cycled 60km.
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 cafes overlooking the Djemma El Fna, 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.