Cycling the Cols of Morocco

8 days
from
£1,149
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5 / 5 from 1 review >
Trip code: 
MMD
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Drop Bars
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Ride through Morocco from the Atlas Mountains to the coast

Morocco’s Atlas Mountains are an undiscovered labyrinth of picturesque switchback roads. Using our knowledge of this magical country we have crafted the perfect drop bar cycling trip which winds its way from the bustle of Marrakech, through lush green valleys, over isolated high mountain passes and down long flowing descents all the way to the ocean. If you are after an alternative cycling challenge, then forget about the Alps and Pyrenees and join us in the Atlas Mountains!

Highlights

  • Ride undiscovered mountain passes 
  • Perfect climate for Spring and Autumn cycling
  • An exciting change from the Alps or Pyrenees

Key information

  • 5 nights hotels and 2 nights in traditional Moroccan riads
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 100% tarmac roads (some rougher sections to be expected) with mountain passes 
  • Group normally 4 to 15, plus leader and drivers. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfast, 6 lunches and 5 dinners included
  • All accommodation 
  • All transfers and listed activities 
  • Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive)
  • Cycling guide and support staff throughout 
  • Support vehicles throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Bike hire (available on request when booking)
  • Single accommodation (request on booking)
  • Visas and vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Challenging: 13-23km/8-15miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 100% tarmac roads with mountain passes and longe ascents/descents. 

Day by day breakdown
Day 284.0km/52.0miles
Day 387.0km/53.0miles
Day 490.0km/56.0miles
Day 596.0km/60.0miles
Day 657.0km/35.0miles
Day 770.0km/43.0miles
Women shopping in the Souk, Fez, Morocco

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Marrakech; transfer to hotel.

    Our start hotel is situated just out of the centre of Marrakech. The hotel staff can arrange a taxi into the centre if you wish to visit the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa and souks and can even organise a guided tour on request. In the evening we will have a group meal and tour briefing.

    Hotel Amani   

     

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Transfer to Outghal; cycle a long switchback climb before descending to Ijoukak.

    After breakfast in Marrakech we have a short transfer away from the busy roads and start cycling in the small town of Outghal. From here we gradually climb through the foot hills of Mount Toubkal before a long descent into the Asni Valley. We follow the river through the valley before arriving at our hotel in Ijoukak.


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Ride from the hotel over the fantastic Tizi n Test climb (2092m). through the Souss Valley to Oulad Berhil.

    Today we continue to follow the river down the Asni Valley before turning on to the challenging climb over the Tizi n Test Col. This is a great climb gaining 1000m of altitude all the way up to the col at 2092m above sea level. The views from the top are amazing, and the descent is even better! Our ride ends in Oulad Berhil where we stay in a traditional riad.


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Short transfer to Irherm; undulating days ride before a long climb and 20km descent into Tafroute.

    In the morning we leave the High Atlas and transfer over the Souss Plain into the Anti Atlas Mountains. We will start riding from the small town of Irherm, from here it is an undulating days ride which is spent mostly up at around 1600m altitude until we start a fantastic 20km descent down into Tafraoute. Our accommodation tonight is in a fantastic old building with a well-stocked bar and a swimming pool with great views over the Anti Atlas Mountains.


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ride from the hotel; 20km climb over Tizi n Mill before an undulating ride and long descent to Ait Baha; transfer to Agadir.

    Today’s ride is probably the toughest of the week. We leave our hotel and head straight into the mountains for a fantastic climb over Tizi n Mill. From here we have 50km of undulating terrain culminating in a 50km downhill switchback road all the way to Ait Baha. From Ait Baha we transfer to the seaside town of Agadir where we spend the night. Our hotel is just a short walk from the beach allowing you to go for a swim in the afternoon.


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    A hilly ride out of Agadir and through the Paradise Valley before a final climb up to Imouzzer (1000m).

    After breakfast we ride directly from our hotel in Agadir, the first 10km of the days ride is on slightly busier roads as we make our way out of the town. Today’s ride is probably the most picturesque of the week, the Paradise Valley is an extremely fertile area and our climb winds its way through dense palm trees all the way up to Imouzzer and an open plateau at 1000m. Originally the home of the Ida Outanane Berber tribe, Imouzzer retains a strong cultural identity and is a facinating place to explore after todays ride.


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Ride from the hotel towards the coastal town of Essaouira; lots of ups and downs with spectacular views of the ocean.

    For our final day of riding we start with a fantastic long descent from our hotel in Imouzzer. Most of the day will be spent riding through Palm trees and past traditional villages. There are several challenging climbs and plenty of fast descent as we make our way towards the coast. After lunch we will aim for the small village of Assaka, here we load the bikes onto the vehicles and transfer into Essaouira. In Essaouira we stay in a lovely traditional riad just out of the town, in the evening we will walk into town for a large celebratory meal!



    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Marrakech; fly to London.

    After breakfast we have some free time to pack up bikes and explore the charming old port town of Essaouira. From here we transfer to Marrakech Airport to catch the return flight to London. This transfer usually takes 2.5hours.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners are included.

Moroccan food is excellent, though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and croissants with a selection of jams, tea, coffee and freshly squeezed orange. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced – a lamb or chicken tagine (a local speciality) will cost about £5. In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from £15 upwards. Local beers, wines and soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but you can pay UK prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants for the two evenings where dinner is not included.

Weather

Mountains can always make their own weather and as a result we may occasionally be forced to amend the itinerary for part of the trip. On the plains, the days are usually warm to hot (above 25ºC) but the nights are cooler. In the higher areas and the mountains, days should be warm or even hot in October and April, with clear skies, but the nights are often cold. On the high ridges of the High Atlas there can be snow, but not normally enough to affect the areas we cycle in - in the event of a road being closed we will arrange a suitable alternative ride. Rainfall in the areas we visit is relatively low though there is a chance of rain particularly on trips in December, January and February. Although unusual, there is also the possibility of much colder weather during these months and into the beginning of March.

MMD

Is this trip for you?

This tour is classified Drop Bars

Activity level 6 (challenging/Tough)

6 days cycling with an average daily distance of 81km through mountainous terrain

The route is made up of lots of mountain passes with long assent’s and descents. You should be a confident road cyclist and comfortable riding the distances outlined in the itinerary. There are challenging ascent on this tour so naturally the group will get spread out, however we always re group at the top and aim to cycle as a group whenever possible. This tour is not a race and all rides are at a talkative pace. There is full vehicle support on this tour; the vehicle is on hand to carry all spares and essential items leaving you free to concentrate on the cycling and is also available to carry clients who do not want to cycle anymore.

There is very little traffic in the mountains of Morocco but sometimes the roads can be narrow so we recommend taking care on the descents, especially on blind corners and areas where sand could be on the road. The towns can be very busy with cars and pedestrians, our guide will always be cycling with you through these sections to ensure all of the group members stay safe. The majority of roads are in good condition but some potholes are to be expected. It is also common to find sand and small stones on the roads in some places, our guides know these roads well and will give warnings in advance of any areas they know to be hazardous. Morocco can get very hot in the middle of the day, it is generally cooler when in the mountains but there are sections without shade. Please make sure you drink plenty of water, stop whenever you feel tired and come equipped with the appropriate cycling kit.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

6 nights hotels and 2 night in traditional Moroccan riads

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

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

  • Reviewed November 2016
    Patrick Walker

    Flying carpet trip over the Atlas Mountains

    The Exodus feedback form asks whether any aspect of the trip was disappointing, Aside from purchasing a magnificent carpet which has so far refused to fly, I could think of little. The routes were well planned and provided wonderful climbs and descents on every day. The leaders were professional but relaxed, thoughtful and enthusiastic and took care of a group with a range of ages and abilities. The support vehicles and 'snack stops' were well organised and left us free to enjoy the cycling without worrying about luggage or water. The mountains are very beautiful and the dry warm sunny days allowed us to cycle in short sleeves but without overheating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoying summit after summit with a great bunch of guys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Radu Man is professional but relaxed and a great leader who made sure everyone was looked after regardless of age or ability. He was assisted by Liz who was also great. Having two leaders was an important part of the success of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The description of '100% tarmac' is hopelessly optimisic. Quite long stretches amount to little more than dirt or gravel and potholes are a regular feature. This should not discourage anyone from taking the holiday but I would suggest the ideal bike is a lightweight gravel bike with disc brakes, decent hill gearing and 28 or 25 tyres of the most bombproof you can find. I rode 25 gator skins and was surprised to last the week without mishap. The hire bikes are of good quality but they are not all triple (as described) and some do not have mountain gearing. November seemed perfect weather for this trip

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have probably never written as positive a review of a holiday before but it was really excellent...and no, I have not been paid or asked to write this review!

Dates & Prices

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Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936