We'll begin our adventure in Marrakech, the stunning 1000 year-old ochre-colored city with a vibrant street life and a chaos of cultures. At night, we'll explore the walled Medina, the old town, and the labyrinth of ultra-narrow streets, through crowded markets and smoky alleys with saffron and cumin wafting in the air. Then, we'll drive in our Land Rovers to the highest mountain range in North Africa - the High and Middle Atlas.
These rugged, prehistoric, flat-topped mountains are laced with dirt roads and trails still used by the nomadic Berber peoples - the ancient race that inhabits the Atlas and has since Neolithic times. In the Atlas, we will ride for 8 days on a backcountry traverse, living among the Berbers, riding singletrack and double track up and over passes, through small villages and camps. Every night we will sip mint tea and stare up at the blanket of stars in the desert sky. Every day we will pedal where few mountain bikes have ever gone, and experience new adventures at every turn.
Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech, transfer to Hotel.
All major flights will come through Europe and arrive in the evening. We'll meet you at the Menara Airport and escort you to our hotel which is centrally located in the old part of Marrakech, just 5 minute walk from the focal point of the city, the remarkable central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna.
Day 2: Explore Marrakech.
Today is a great day to explore the Medina, it's labyrinth-like streets teaming with sights, sounds and scents. We'll also make sure that everyone's bikes are built up and that we are prepared for the trip. Tonight we will feast on a roof-top restaurant overlooking Marrakech. Again tonight we stay at Hotel Riad Sara or Al Jareza.
Day 3: Atlas Traverse: Zwat Ahanzal.
We make an early start for the spectacular 6-hour drive to «les Cathedrales des Rochers», situated at the north-eastern end of the Atlas. Driving eastwards towards Fez, the summits of the High Atlas are clearly visible off to our right. We have the option to ride this afternoon on a doubletrack road in a spectacular area. Tonight, we stay at a truly remote and basic Berber gite nestled in the mountains.
Day 4: Atlas Traverse: Timit.
The start of our ride is on a dirt road that the locals use for transporting goods between mountain villages. We will transfer to the top of the pass at 2650 meters (8700 feet) where we begin today's adventure. The beauty of this 50km (30 mile) ride is that you can either ride on double track or if tempted drop off and ride the endless mule paths. There is one challenging 10km (6 mile) climb today. We end the day riding through lush valleys and numerous Berber villages and ride into the little town of Timit.
Day 5: Atlas Traverse: Ait-n-Ito/
This is probably the most challenging day of the trip but also the most rewarding. We start the day with an early morning 1.5 hr transfer through spectacular valley and villages. We then ride for about 5km (3 miles) along well traveled paths and meet our local Berber friends and load up our bikes on mules for the start of our 3.5hr hike to the top of the pass at 2800 meters (9100 feet). At this point you will realize how remote we are and how spectacular of a country you are traveling through. Then we'll descend on some of the most spectacular singletrack in Morocco to a town that is only accessable by trails. We finish our final 10km (6 miles) of cycling along a river bed to the town of Ait-n-Ito.
Day 6: Atlas Traverse: Ouarzazate.
After a well-deserved sleep-in we transfer to another high pass where we start today's ride. At this point you can freeride on numerous arid mountain tops or and ride the exilerating road mostly downhill into the pre-Sahara desert. Tonight we sleep in the busling town of Ouarzazate where the classic film Laurence of Arabia was filmed and enjoy some well-deserved comforts.
Day 7: Atlas Traverse: Tis-n-Tischa.
This morning it's back to the mountains and the highest pass in North Africa, the Tis-n-Tischa at 2150 meters (7000 feet). Todays ride consists of mainly single track with some short hike-a-bike sections. The ride takes us through small villages with no road access, along canyon river beds and along mule tracks that have existed for thousands of years. Our Land Rovers meet us at the end of the day and transfer us to the beautiful Ourika Valley.
Day 8: Atlas Traverse: Ourika.
After enjoying the local market we head up and over to the Ouirgane Valley along double track road for beautiful views of Toubkal, Morocco’s highest peak. Today our drivers will cook us a traditional «Tagine» lunch, outide over an open campfire. Along our ride we will ride trough small local villages, occasionally dipping of on single track sections with North Africa's highest peak, Mount Toubkal, on your left.
Day 9: Atlas Traverse: Ouirgane.
Today you can either come along on an early morning ride along the numerous single track trails that link up the small villages in the Ouirgane Valley or simply relax by the pool or pamper yourself to a spa at the nearby Hammam. We'll transfer to Marrakech in the afternoon where we’ll prep the bikes for the flight and do some last minute shopping. Sleep in Marrakech, final night festivities!
Day 10: Fly home.
This morning we will drive you out to the airport for the return home.
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