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Journey through the heart of Morocco by bike on this fast-paced cycling tour. Pedal through the remote Hamada Desert of the Sahara and take on the exhilarating High Atlas descent through Berber heartland. Pass through cool oases and traditional villages, exploring the Medinas and kasbahs within, before uncovering the hidden gems of Marrakech.
Explore Tour Leader
Assistant Cycle Guide
1 nights simple camping
6 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour of Morocco starts in the Red City. With its dusty rooftops, maze-like streets and bustling souks, Marrakech encompasses the essence of Morocco. Head to the Medina and people watch while you sip a mint tea in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square) or visit the Jardin Majorelle, just a short walk from our hotel. Alternatively, you might like to relax in the hotel's rooftop swimming pool before our adventure begins.
\kerning2 There are no activities planned for today, so you're free to arrive at any time. If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive at Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which is around a 20-minute drive from our hotel. Our tour leader will meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for a welcome meeting and then an optional dinner. If you arrive later, they'll catch you up as soon as possible.
Hotel Safia (or similar)
This morning, we'll drive into the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Our three-hour journey takes us over the High Atlas pass of Tizi n'Tichka at an altitude of 2,260 metres. We'll make a stop at the Kasbah Telouet, located on the former caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech. Not far from here, we'll swap our bus for bikes and take a moment to get acquainted with them before pedalling off.
Our first stretch of cycling is to the fortified city of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered one of Morocco's most picturesque sites, the city is famous for its earthen clay crenelated towers and kasbah, which you might recognise from scenes in Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Game of Thrones.
Tonight, we'll stay a short walk away from Ait Ben Haddou, giving us a chance to check in to our hotel and freshen up before discovering the site once the crowds have departed.
Our total cycling distance for today is 38 kilometres with a total ascent of 370 metres and descent of 340 metres.
La Kasbah (or similar)
Today, we'll depart Ait Ben Haddou by bus and drive over the dramatic Tizi n'Tinififft mountain pass, rising to an altitude of 1,800 amid the lunar landscape of the Anti-Atlas. We'll continue down into one of Morocco's stunning natural wonders - the Draa Valley.
Dotted with kasbahs and ksours (fortified villages), the Draa Valley is breathtaking to cycle through. We'll get on our bikes and push off toward the small town of Agdz, where we'll head south, descending through lush oases before returning to our bus. We'll stop for the night in Anif, a two-hour drive away.
Our total cycling distance for today is 42 kilometres with a total ascent of 460 metres and descent of 340 metres.
Kasbah Meteorites (or similar)
This morning, we'll depart along the southern foothills of the Jebel Sahro Mountain range towards the Hammada Desert, a remote part of Morocco. We'll stop in Rissani, where we'll take some time to explore the Tuesday markets and the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the great-grandson of the founder of the Alaouite Dynasty.
On the outskirts of Rissani, we'll hop on our bikes and cycle along the desert road towards the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Once we reach the golden plains, we'll swap out bikes for camels and trek out into the deserted landscape.
Erg Chebbi is home to the largest expanse of sand in Morocco, with dunes reaching as high as 150 metres tall. Landscapes like this one only cover around one-fifth of the Sahara's surface - the rest is made up of rock and gravel plains.
Our camelback caravan will lead us to our camp for tonight, right here on the Erg Chebbi sands. We'll experience the tranquillity of the desert at a Berber camp. Traditional goat hair tents are separated into twin, double and single compartments with mattresses, blankets, pillows, and towels provided. There is also a wash block with shower and toilet facilities.
Our total cycling distance for today is 37 kilometres with a total ascent of 80 metres and descent of 80 metres.
Nomad Camp - Chebbi Dunes (or similar)
Waking early, we'll watch the desert sunrise cast shadows across the rolling dunes before breakfast. Then, we'll return to Merzouga on camelback where we'll stock up on supplies for the day. Here, we'll get back in the saddle and cycle on to Erfoud.
Today's ride is in the Rissani region - the homeland of the Alaouite dynasty, which reigned in the area for 300 years. Cycling through the expansive landscape, we'll spot locals going about daily life, herding goats and camels.
Our total cycling distance for today is 54 kilometres with a total ascent of 450 metres and descent of 20 metres.
Kasbah Tizimi (or similar)
Today, we'll set off by bus towards Tinerhir in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. We'll stop to see the ancient 'foggara' subterranean irrigation system and learn how the ancient system provided water for the surrounding villages. After two hours driving, we'll mount our bikes for a refreshing ride through a lush oasis of date palms, olive groves and fruit orchards to Tinerhir.
On arriving in Tinerhir, we'll climb to the viewpoint before freewheeling down to the Todra Gorge, one of the most spectacular canyons in the region. We'll have time to explore the narrow mountain chasms on foot before meeting our bus to continue along the former caravan route to El Kelaa des M'Gouna. Known as the 'town of the roses', El Kelaa des M'Gouna is blanketed by scented blossoms each spring. These are harvested each May in the Festival of the Roses, before being processed into rosewater which is then sold throughout the Islamic world.
Our total cycling distance for today is 43 kilometres with a total ascent of 880 metres and descent of 20 metres.
Hotel Ksar Kaissar (or similar)
After an early breakfast, we'll drive into the High Atlas to the Tizi n'Fedrhate Pass - around two hours away. From here, we'll start our cycle down into the northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Amid the silence of the mountain valleys, we'll pass by local Berber communities at work on their farms, producing olives, figs and wheat. We'll eventually catch up to our bus, where we'll board to travel back to Marrakech, around two hours away.
Our total cycling distance for today is 34 kilometres with a total ascent of 170 metres and descent of 1570 metres.
Note: This cycling route may have to be altered during periods of adverse weather.
Our tour of Morocco ends at our hotel in Marrakech.
There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like an airport transfer, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
Total distance : 248 kilometres
The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (if sight seeing is included we will do our best to avoid the heat of the day during this period). Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day's heat rapidly diminishes. From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 18-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.
2 Pin Round
Arabic, Berber, French.
Marrakech - Hammam GBP 20
We recommend you bring padded cycle shorts and quick drying cycle shirts for the daily cycling. Soaked cotton clothes tend not to dry while cycling. Cycling gloves are strongly recommended as they will protect you from sunburn and may also help protect your hands if you fall. Evenings and nights can become quite cold between October and March. It is advisable to take warm clothing (e.g. track suit or thermal underwear) to sleep in, as some of the Moroccan hotel rooms do not have heating. Keep in mind that at altitude and in the desert, temperatures can drop rapidly, so a warm sweater or fleece, plus waterproof/windproof shell garment, hat and gloves are essential. Don't forget your swimming costume in the warmer months. Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. People may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention. We advise that in general both men and women should cover shoulders, upper arms and knees. Transparent, 'plunging' necklines and tightfitting clothes should be avoided. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non-Muslims. For those clients on a cycling holiday please bear this information in mind for times that you are not on the bikes. While cycling it is no problem for both men and women to wear your regular cycling gear, tight fitting or not.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage. Please note that for the desert camping beds and all bedding is provided as well as towels should you wish to use the shower block.
Few destinations give you as warm a welcome as Morocco and our accommodation has been chosen to reflect that. We choose our accommodation based on location, quality, and traditional style to give you a real taste of life in the country. It's worth bearing in mind that Morocco is a developing country and standards might not always be equivalent to those at home. Some properties might be simply furnished, access to hot water may be sparse in certain stays and the level of service might vary from place to place. Older buildings can get cold in the winter months and don't have heating facilities, so you might want to pack an extra jumper - hotels will provide extra blankets.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Morocco: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. UK passport holders are requested to have at least 3 months validity from the date of entry into Morocco. All other nationalities please check with your nearest embassy for requirements of passport validity.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2024, Ramadan runs from the 10th March to the 9th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
The following 2024 departures will coincide with Ramadan.
9th, 23rd, 30th March 2024
6th April 2024