About desert rats

explore morocco on two wheels

Desert Rats is owned and run by John Griffiths, Su Downham and Martine Goldenbeld. While driving the 4×4 support vehicle on the Moto Aventures KTM tours John saw the local Berber people cruising the mountains and deserts on their Docker motorbikes, frequently with the wife, 3 kids, and a goat on the back. No stress, cool, taking their time… not at the fast, non-stop pace of the Moto Aventures KTM tours.
During Covid-19, with plenty of time to explore Morocco, we have created Desert Rats. Motorcycle tours for adventurous people who want to discover true Moroccan life, using the local way of getting around. No driver’s licence needed, off the beaten track, exploring Moroccan culture & hospitality, and very important, having a good time – the four main points our tours are based around.

Having spent several months testing local bikes and exploring Morocco for the best tracks, Desert Rats will be starting to offer tours from October 2021 (Covid allowing), in the Atlas Mountains & Sahara Desert of Morocco, on Docker Apollo motorbikes.

Head office is based in Ouarzazate where we have our garage and tour base for Moto Aventures’ fleet of 12 KTM450 and now Desert Rats’ 12 Docker Apollos.

Desert Rats

Martine Goldenbeld – Co Owner
Being brought up on a charter sailing ship in the Netherlands, means tourism, hospitality, and adventure are all in my bones. After working as a hospitality manager, camp manager, and lodge manager in several African countries I started Desert Rats Tours in 2020. With my Medical First Aid, Medical Care certificate, and enthusiasm, I am good to go!

I am responsible for the running of Desert Rats tours, I’ll be your Docker Apollo guide or drive the assistance vehicle and I take care of the well-being of our guests. Also, as a Graphic Designer, I am responsible for the website and social media.

I have also added Dutch and a little German to our team’s languages.

John Griffiths – Co Owner
I was born in Tanzania and worked for the 16 years prior to MotoAventures in the oil-related diving business. I have hyperbaric medical training and experience from my years working offshore, as well as the Wilderness Medical Certificate, and safety (a highly important issue in biking – one which is often not given sufficient attention) is something I pay particular attention to.
Being responsible for route finding and checking for our various different adventures, I get to wander around discovering hidden, lesser known parts of this beautiful country.
Early 90s I rode solo from London to Cape Town for over two years and apparently, I’m a very proficient off-road rider. I speak a little English, French, Spanish and Swahili.

Su Downham – Co Owner
I have lived and worked in Andorra for over 30 years working in tourism, PR, and running a small estate agency and construction company before moving into the world of motorcycles.
Through years of wandering the Moroccan backroads between operating our motorcycle tours with John I realised what an exceptionally beautiful and diverse country this is, and now split my year between here and Europe.
I will be helping with the Desert Rat tours by occasionally driving the support vehicle when needed, while continuing to organise everything, as I have through the years, for MotoAventures.
I speak English, Spanish, Catalan and French fluently and also have my Wilderness Medical Certificate.  

With over 25 years of organizing quality guided on- and off-road tours around the Pyrenees, Morocco and Southern Africa, John and Su bring in a huge amount of knowledge and experience to Desert Rats.