High Atlas Mountains Tour – Itinerary
30% of this tour is offroad and all the tracks we have chosen are ideal for the Docker Apollo motorbikes. Nothing too technical and no deep sand or ‘feshfesh’. The 70% asphalt sections are 99% country roads with little traffic.
Day of arrival
Pickup from the airport and a 30-minute transfer to our hotel located 20KM outside Marrakesh, on the outskirts of the High Atlas. A quiet harbor in the heart of nature, marked by a magical environment and a peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy the afternoon by the pool or a well-earned massage at the spa… or why not do both. Dinner and general briefing at the hotel at 20.00 hrs.
Day 1 – Drargua to Demnate (132 km)
Breakfast around the pool at 08.00 hrs. Once breakfast is done and the assistance 4×4 is loaded with your luggage we introduce you to your bikes with a brief explanation of how they operate. (Those with little riding experience will have booked an extra day at the beginning of the tour so that our guide can instruct you on how to ride the bike safely and competently). Today’s route is split into 3 parts A, B and C. Part A is 83 km long. The first 30 km takes us on road back in the direction of Marrakesh. At the town of Tahanout we turn south off the Marrakesh road and up into the Atlas mountains. Destination Tidli Mesfior where we will stop for our first mint tea at a local cafe. This section is very mountainous and green. Fields full of wheat and olive trees clinging to the sides of the mountain. We will pass through many Berber villages on our way. Part B is 22 km long. Now we are ‘proper’ into the mountains, with some steep climbs and descents. Truly beautiful. It’s an area of Morocco that most tourists will never see. In fact, this whole tour, with the exception of the Ouzoud waterfalls, is well off the beaten track. At the end of part B, we cross the main road from Marrakech to Ouarzazate in the village of Touama, it’s here we stop for lunch at a Moroccan roadside restaurant. Tagine anyone?? Question…Why do we often have tagine on our tours? Answer…Because a tagine (the pot the food is cooked in) is basically a pressure cooker…everything in there is dead, including the buggies. Part C is 71 km long and is all on scenic, winding country roads meandering through the mountains. We expect to arrive at our stunning Maison d’Hotes near Demnate at around 16.00 hrs allowing us plenty of time to enjoy the pool and facilities.
Day 2 – Demnate to Ouzoud (81 km)
Breakfast at 08.00 hrs, leave at 09.00 hrs. On leaving the hotel we head down the hill on the asphalt into Demnate, a bustling market town, where we will fuel up the bikes. Once fueled up it’s 5 km more on-road and then we ‘hit’ the dirt. Another real mix of tracks today, all beautiful with some stunning scenery. Morocco really is a magical place and so changeable. One minute we are on wide, winding tracks that remind me of Namibia, and the next we are picking our way down through a forested valley. It’s been 25 years that I’ve been off-road biking here and I never tire of it. Midway through the morning, we will stop at the Green River for a swim and a break from the riding. Swim over and we are off direction Ouzoud waterfalls. The scenery is much more open now and the tracks are dusty so spread out. Hopefully, you have downloaded the Wikiloc app and are able to follow our track on your mobile phone. It’s a great way to get around and not only adds another dimension to the tour but gives peace of mind too. On arrival at the Ouzoud falls we will park up our bikes and do the tourist thing. Sam, one of the local guides, will take you down through the olive groves to the falls basin where you can take a cooling swim. We have arranged lunch in a restaurant overlooking the falls. After lunch, there’s the option to go for a long walk further down the ravine passing more restaurants, campsites, and swimming spots. It’s a beautiful hike with great views as you walk further away from the falls. On our way back to the hotel we will pass shops where all the locals sell their wares. Watch out for the Barbary apes as they can be aggressive.
Day 3 – Ouzoud to Zouit Ahansal (172 km)
Breakfast at 08.00 hrs leave at 09.00 hrs. We leave the waterfalls and head to the market town of Azilal where we will stop for a coffee. Coffee done and we’re off deeper in the mountains with a spectacular view over the lake of Bin el Ouidane. On leaving the lake we head in an easterly direction through the village of Ouaouizerth where it’s our last chance to fill up with fuel as for the next 3 days there are no stations on our route (the support vehicle always carries extra fuel with her). We ride around the eastern side of the lake and back up into the Atlas mountains. More great riding as we head upwards towards the Cathedral rock. We will stop for lunch at Imsfrane. We have 25 km of well-established track in the Geopark of M’Goun, a UNESCO world heritage park. Stunning scenery with huge views across the valley. The track climbs up through the pine forest to a height of 1800 mtrs before descending back down to the asphalt near Zouit Ahansal, our destination for the night. Our very nice hotel for the night is built in a mountain lodge style. No pool but a nice terrace to chill out on. There is a big kasbah to visit just around the corner.
Day 4 – Zouit Ahansal to Tabant (105 km)
This day takes us from Zouit Ahansal to our hotel in the village of Tabant which is 60 km away. We will drop our luggage at the hotel then take a 45 km round trip to have lunch with a local family in the mountain village of Tamernout. Today’s route is in 2 parts A and B. Part A is 60 km in length and takes us over 2 passes of more than 2000 mtrs, the highest being 2750 mtrs. The first part is new, very smooth asphalt…skate park smooth. Shortly after starting, we are soon above the tree line. Again great views stretching off to the horizon. Lots of Berber villages dotting the hillsides with the locals tending their goats and sheep. A great rock escarpment to your left is one of the best climbing sites in Morocco. Our hotel is situated in the Ait Bouguemez Valley better known as Happy Valley. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Morocco. Part B is 45 km in total and takes us for lunch with a local family. A nice, winding 22 km of asphalt takes us up through the pine forests to lunch. Huge drop-offs into the river below. After lunch, we retrace our route back to our hotel in Tabant.
Day 5 – Tabant to Demnate (85 km)
The first 17 km are in the Palmeraie of the Ait Bougemez valley. We twist our way through the fields of apple trees and cereal crops on single-track walking paths. Lots of friendly locals with animals everywhere so it’s slow going. Real village life on show all around us. Palmeraie done, and it’s back onto the asphalt for more of the same scenic, twisting roads meandering through the mountains. We will stop for a mint tea in the shade of a walnut tree before setting off again to do the tourist thing at a natural bridge in Imi n Ifri. It’s well worth taking the walk under the bridge to admire the stalactites of this very touristy attraction. 3 more km to take us back to the amazing Swiss-run hotel that we visited at the end of the first-day riding, our lunch is waiting. A special place well worth visiting twice.
Day of goodbye
Today you can sleep in unless you have an early flight to catch. On this day we say our goodbyes… or maybe we start planning your next tour? Have you been on our Mountains and Valleys Tour? Make sure you don’t forget anything when you get on your way to the airport or your next holiday destination. Thank you for joining our tour! We hope you had an amazing time. Please leave your review of the tour on our Google page.