Cycle Morocco in 14 days, small group holiday

“A two week guided, small group cycling holiday starting and ending in Marrakech, taking in mountains and desert. ”

Highlights

Marrakech | Sleeper train journey | Tangier | Chefchaouen | Fes | Cycling in the Rif Mountains | Ifrane | Cycling in the Middle Atlas Mountains | Midelt kasbah town | Merzouga | Todra Gorge | Dades Gorge | Cycling in High Atlas Mountains | Ouarzazate | Ait Benhaddou | Tizi n'Tichka Pass

Description of Cycle Morocco in 14 days, small group holiday

This two week cycling holiday in Morocco covers a wonderful circuit that takes in the Rif Mountains, Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountains, as well as some time spent in the desert. Morocco is an extraordinary country to cycle in, starting in Marrakech where we not only have time to absorb the famous fiesta mood that is omnipresent in its legendary Djemaa el-Fna Square but also cycle in and around the city.

From Marrakech we take an overnight train to Tangier, where we cycle around this historic port city on the shores of the Atlantic, with its eclectic mix of North African, Spanish, French and Portuguese influences. After a cycle along the coast, we head up into the Rif Mountains to the ‘Blue City’ of Chefchaouen, using a mix of pedal power and support vehicle for the more steep mountain routes, as we do at various stages along the way.

We move from mountains to medieval on our next stage of the journey, in Fes, an innately elegant town with beautiful ancient Islamic heritage and where we take time off our bikes to explore the city on foot. We then move up a gear, or down perhaps, as we head into the Middle Atlas Mountains, cycling to the town of Ifrane which was built by the French and has slightly incongruous chalet style houses. And after that, another complete change as we descend to the Sahara Desert to Merzouga, where giant dunes and arid landscapes mean that we swap our bikes for camels, heading off to a Bedouin style camp for the night.

Less well known, but often the highlight of this trip for many is Todra and Dades Gorges where we cycle along the valley floors for yet another Moroccan landscape spectacle, with the added bonus of a night in a kasbah in the former, and some superb hairpin bend cycling in the latter. Every day is definitely different on this cycling holiday where we ride between 15-50km a day, often starting early in order to avoid the hottest time of the day, but with some traditional 'hammams' along the way to soothe those well worked muscles. And always superb food to fill those hollow legs.

Travel Team

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04 Oct 2020
£1370
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11 Oct 2020
£1380
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08 Nov 2020
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07 Mar 2021
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21 Mar 2021
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04 Apr 2021
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11 Apr 2021
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30 May 2021
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26 Sep 2021
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03 Oct 2021
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10 Oct 2021
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24 Oct 2021
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07 Nov 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Animal welfare in Africa can often be a challenge which is why we partner with the SPANA animal hospital in Marrakech to care for the health and welfare of donkeys, dogs and cats.
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. It is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. We do believe in leaving more than just tyre tracks; this cycling tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like across Morocco.
As part of our commitment to the environment we deliberately step away from the traditional tourist accommodation and spend a night sleeping under the stars at a desert camp run by Berber nomads – this is the ultimate exercise in sustainability with no electricity, running water or permanent structures – it is just you and nature. We even eschew vehicles and travel there by camel!
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Travelling with respect in Morocco starts at the very first group meeting where our local Moroccan group leaders discuss how to behave respectfully in a Muslim country and break down the cultural barriers we often face.
In Morocco we have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, animal hospitals, artists, and the handicapped - all of which directly rely on the assistance of donations and products purchased by our travellers and other visitors. Project Handicapped Horizon, who have so far assisted with the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of more than 3,000 disabled people; and Kasbah Myriam, a carpet and embroidery workshop run by Franciscan nuns with the aim of providing sustainable employment and healthcare to local Berber women are both great examples of this.
We offer travellers an opportunity to interact with locals, to value their activities and crafts and help towards sustaining their livelihoods.
Travellers on this trip have the opportunity to stay in local guest house in remote M’goun valley in the High Atlas mountains. Far from the typical tourist hotel, this accommodation is run by a local family and other members of the community in the area hence encouraging genuine local interaction and an insight the real daily life of people. Our travellers are always welcome to go a bit further and actively assist the family in their daily life by helping out with the cooking or any other activities. As well as mutual interaction there is a genuine economic benefit to the local community as they are brought in to assist the programs and provide local produce for meals.
We make time to stop by a traditional Berber nomad family for tea. Nomads usually move around so we usually meet different families throughout the year instead of one, helping to spread both the financial and interaction benefit to these people that often live on the fringes of modern society.

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost is donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport, in the form of a bicycle.

Climate

2 Reviews of Cycle Morocco in 14 days, small group holiday

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Reviewed on 29 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Leaning about the culture, meeting Moroccans, and interacting with quite a few Moroccans. Seeing how the school system works and kids being kids was quite enjoyable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pharmacies close on Wednesdays until 5p, open for 1 hour, then close again.
Pharmacies are closed on Sundays. There is this behavior, only in big cities, where a Moroccan will act friendly, tell you (unsolicited or solicited) information or guide you someplace and then expect to be paid for the service. After a while, it makes a visitor suspect anyone who befriends the visitor of duplicity when in a few cases it is not warranted. A majority of Moroccans speak French and in northern Morocco Spanish is fairly common. The western equivalent of High School is called College in Morocco and the Western equivalent of Collage is called University in Morocco.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our visiting certainly benefited local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We discussed this topic as a group during the tour. Everyone stated that they probably received as good an overall exposure to Morocco as was possible for price of the tour. I am surprised that there is no request for process improvement, but I have 2 suggestions: 1 - Make and enforce a rotation system for riding the bus (we had people that claimed the best seat(s) for the entire ride and even if I put my gear in a seat first, they would move my gear when I went to fill my water bottle (for example), they fully knew what they were doing). We had people complain to the Guide about this issue and he said that our group had to figure that amongst each other. That aspect of the tour was totally un-cool! 2 - Another suggestion is to use the Mercedes tour buses or vans, the van that we had was a tired old sole (worn seats, maybe 4 seat belts operated correctly) that had to turn off the air conditioning in order to climb a hill, it only had enough overhead space to store each persons helmet. BTW, each person wanted to carry their helmet because the bike carrier solution was to throw all the varied personal helmets into one net bag and throw that bag into the back of the bike carrier, that too was very un-cool. Except for the matter of these two suggestion-issues, we had a wonderful experience on this tour.

Reviewed on 26 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The final day ride up the Atlas mountain as it was the most scenic and also conversation with the Berber Cave girl.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


As this trip covers areas fro the coast to the mountains, we experience all the 4 seasons so sufficient warm clothings is important as it was -4 C one morning at Ait Benhaddou.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Most local people directly involved with this tour benefitted but we are disappointed the operator no longer support the Horizon organization as stated in the itinerary.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Enjoyable and felt safe with the professional organization of Saaid the tour leader. Although felt too much time spend at the shopping stop although there was no pressure to make any purchases. This took away the time to spend at the places we visited.

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