Caryn Darley-Waddilove is part of Explore’s Customer Service team and had the chance to try out our Southern Oasis Cycling tour in Morocco. Here she shares the highlights of the holiday.
"This was the first cycling trip I had ever done with Explore - mostly I do trekking or multi-active trips - so I was slightly nervous as to what to expect. Well I needn’t have been! The group, the Tour Leader, the itinerary, the bikes, the hotels, the food - everything was great!
The tour is rated moderate, which fits perfectly as it wasn’t an easy tour but the cycling wasn’t strenuous either. It had a little bit of everything from the steep ascents that burnt at your thigh muscles and the flat, long endless motorways with little traffic, to the winding roads passing thousands of date palms and Kasbahs and the sharp descents through the High Atlas.
There were different types of cycling for all - so a bit of endurance, a bit of extreme downhill, some major hill climbs, some fast-paced days and some relaxed-paced days. Because of this the tour was able to satisfy the different types of personalities and ability levels we had in our group. The hotels were lovely and the staff friendly; the food was typically Moroccan and wonderful.
The tour leader - Siad – was very good and really catered to everyone’s needs – he kept the group together on some days with a more relaxed pace and then let the reigns go on other days to increase the pace for the keener cyclists.
Highlights on this tour will depend on the type of cyclist you are. The major highlight for me was coming down the High Atlas Mountains on the penultimate day. It was at this point that I was able to show my true colours as a lover of adrenaline-fuelled activity! This was a day for those looking for a bit of a rush. We whizzed past the more cautious members of the group, tearing up the road in front of us, coming to the end coated in mud and dirt and freezing from the rain and wind - but with the biggest grins on our faces.
Another highlight was the camel ride - we were half way through the ride when a massive thunder and lightning storm hit. How many people can say they have experienced a thunderstorm on the back of a camel whilst out in the Sahara Desert?
Overall, I’d say the trip was brilliant; a good, well-paced itinerary and I am now trying to choose my next cycling tour and cannot wait!"