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Morocco

High Atlas Traverse

Guided Mountain Bike Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,025 P.P.
Morocco

High Atlas Traverse

Guided Mountain Bike Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,025 P.P.
BOOK NOW
This mountain biking holiday in Morocco a classic west-east traverse of the High Atlas Mountains on some of the worlds finest mountain trails. Suitable for those with mountain biking experience and a good level of fitness, this thrilling trip is perfect for those looking for a challenging adventure in Morocco.
The High Atlas mountains are a fantastic venue for a biking holiday, with mile upon mile of uninterrupted jeep tracks and trails. On this biking adventure we take on some challenging climbs and superb descents en route from the olive groves of the Demnate area, up through the green Nepalese-like valley of Ait Bougmez, before ending in the pine forests and towering rock faces Of the Ahansal River valley.
 
The riding explores remote mountain roads, ancient trading routes and livestock trails. While good bike handling skills are essential, the routes are generally not of a high technical level.
 
The Central High Atlas is one of the most unspoilt and beautiful mountain regions anywhere in the world. The variety of landscape here is staggering - from stark mountains, fertile valleys and rocky gorges, to rivers, pine forests and isolated windswept plateaux. There’s also a great challenge on the last day, a long day in the saddle but without doubt a highlight of this holiday.
 
Nights are spent in basic ‘gite’ accommodation – family houses converted into friendly, no-frills, village guest houses. This is a simple trip geared to those want to experience off-the-beaten-track Morocco in an authentic and adventurous way. In the evening we have the chance to sample Morocco’s cuisine, whilst lunches are normally taken picnic style, usually in beautifully remote places.
 

Holiday Highlights

  • The winding and exhilarating descent to La Cathedrale
  • Sharing freshly baked bread and olive oil with High Atlas Berbers
  • The Ait Bougmez Valley – one of Morocco’s most picturesque spots
  • Morocco’s most epic day of remote mountain trails
  • The dazzling Ait Melloul river valley
  • Traversing the wild plateau of the High Atlas where nomads roam

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This was a trip of a lifetime for us – culturally enlightening, good company and interesting riding. Our tour leader was the best mountain bike guide we have ever had!

Debbie, Swindon

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Marrakech

Arrive at Marrakech Airport (RAK). Once you have collected your baggage and/or bikes you will be met by one of the Skedaddle guides, who will transport you to our hotel accommodation in the centre of Marrakech. You will have a chance to assemble your bikes, with the help of local staff, if required. The evening session will consist of a pre-trip briefing with your guide and then you will be free to head out for dinner.

Accommodation – Modern hotel with en suite rooms.

Day 2
Marrakech - Demnate, warm up ride.
18 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 480m

After breakfast we are met by our transfer vehicle and our Moroccan mountain guide to take us across the plains which surround Marrakech as we head in an easterly direction towards the Central High Atlas Mountains. Today’s transfer takes an hour and a half or so, and we quickly leave the hustle and bustle of Marrakech in our wake. With a relatively short transfer time to the start of the ride we have time to get used to our machines and the demands of riding in Morocco with a warm up ride in the area between the Ait Adel reservoir and the pleasant market town of Demnate. The region offers some varied terrain, from wild heathland to Mediterranean-style olive groves, and its situation in the first ripple of mountains makes it a relatively easy starter before we take on the giants of the High Atlas in the next few days!

Accommodation – Simple hotel close to Demnate with en suite rooms.

Day 3
Demnate - Taarbat
24 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1430m

Today we start at low altitudes, so a half hour transfer is used to leave us well placed for a day of cross-country riding with a slight downhill bias. The new road from Demnate to Ouarzazate allows us to access the previously wild terrain of the region, and today’s ride starts in a magnificent scenery of pine forests, framed with towering mountains. A good quality dirt track starts with a fast downhill before a sustained series of ups and downs takes us along a river valley and through some typical High Atlas village communities. The support vehicles may have to take a detour as powerful rivers sometimes wash out sections of the route, adding to the adventure!

A picnic lunch will be set-up en route next to the river. After lunch the landscape opens out into more rolling scenery prior to our arrival in the afternoon in the adobe village of Taarbat, where traditional houses rule the roost, and it’s in one such house that we will spend the night in the shadow of Jebel Raat, one of many towering mountains in the region.

Accommodation – Gîte with shared rooms and facilities.

Day 4
Taarbat - Agouti
26 Miles / 42 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 920m

This morning starts with a gradual climb up to a pass before dropping down to the village of Ait Bouilli. Formerly an isolated village, in recent years it has become better connected with the outside world with the arrival of a surfaced road between Demnate and Ait Bougmez. It’s this quiet country lane that we pick up for a scenic ride along the valley and up into arguably the most picturesque valley in the High Atlas – the valley of Ait Bougmez – where we will spend the next two days. After lunch we’ll explore some singletrack around the valley of Arouss and there may be time to take a short hike through the interesting Arouss Gorge. Tonight we’ll sleep in a basic family-run gite in the village of Agouti.

Accommodation – Gîte with shared rooms and facilities.

Day 5
Agouti - Ifrane
26 Miles / 42 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 860m

After a leisurely breakfast we set off on a day’s ride across the Ait Bougmez valley. It’s a straightforward but beautiful day’s riding along singletrack valley trails and wider jeep tracks. Today the gradient is gentle, giving everyone time to prepare for tomorrow’s big mountain stage! The valley offers some excellent trails, through fields and typical villages where life has hardly changed in centuries. The valley is called “La Vallee Heureuse” (“Happy Valley”) on account of its friendly inhabitants and we’ll enjoy a cup of tea with the locals en route to Tabant, the main village in the valley. It’s from here we’ll climb out of the valley on a well-graded and well-maintained jeep road, before a descent in the afternoon takes us to Ifrane, one of the highest villages in Ait Bougmez where we will stop for the night in another local gite. As always there may be time for a walk at the end of the day and a chance to capture the valley on camera in the fabulous late afternoon light.

Accommodation – Gîte with shared rooms and facilities.

Day 6
Ifrane - The Cathedrale
36 Miles / 58 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1305m

Today is the last full day of riding, and what a day it is! We consider this day to be one of Skedaddle’s best cross country days, anywhere in the world! It’s a day of constant changes in landscape, extraordinary views, tough climbing challenges, and plenty of superb downhill. It is a true journey in itself and is a fitting way to finish the trip. Starting out from Ifrane the jeep track follows the valley before climbing sharply out of Ait Bougmez and up to a pass at 2600 metres above sea level. It’s a very tough 8km climb but you’ll be well rewarded with some fantastic views southward over the valley. Up at the pass the scenery changes as the greenery of the valley gives way to more stark, wild mountains punctuated with simple stone shelters (azibs) used by nomads in summer when they migrate from the burning hot south with their flocks of animals. It’s also good terrain for sighting Bonelli’s Eagles and Ospreys.

After a fast descent we stop for our picnic lunch in a river valley where a souk (open-air market) is held once a week. After a good rest we have another climb of 6km or so to tackle before some more glorious downhill to a tea stop on a wild and grassy plateau. This time we climb to 2700m – enough altitude to notice a shortness of breath in the lungs – but it’s all worth it as we descend through some wonderful scenery along a rough trail to the village of Telmest, set in a cultivated valley which seldom sees other tourists. From here we continue over another short sharp climb and over a dazzling pass before a fantastic descent takes us through pine forest and down to the Ahansal River and the magnificent Cathedrale Rock. It’s normally very warm at our destination and the order of the day is a dip in the cool waters of the river before dinner.

Accommodation – Gîte – All rooms with en suite facilities.

Day 7
La Cathedrale - Marrakech (morning ride possible)
10 Miles / 16 Kms Approx. (optional)
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 330m

Today we have a five hour journey back to Marrakech but for keen riders some singletrack riding can be arranged early morning around the Cathedrale Rock.

The road back to Marrakech is a scenic route via the Ben Al Widane lake and there may be time to make a stop at the Ouzoud Falls – Morocco’s most spectacular waterfall, where three tiers of water cascade impressively into the pools below. On arrival in Marrakech we’ll head out for a farewell meal and overnight is spent in a hotel in the Ville Nouvelle.

Accommodation – Modern hotel with en suite rooms.

Day 8
Departure
  • Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to airport for homeward flight. Most flights depart in the afternoon so there’s time to explore the city and pick up a few last minute souvenirs.

PLEASE NOTE

Morocco is one of the world’s most rapidly changing countries and at times one of the least predictable! Pistes become tarmac roads in the blink of an eye, hotels close down unexpectedly and new, often better, options appear just as fast. We try to move with the times and as a result there may be occasional deviations from the publicised itinerary / information. Similarly, weather conditions in the Atlas are unpredictable and we reserve the right to make such changes where appropriate, with the group’s safety a priority.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Much of the riding on this trip takes place on vehicle width tracks, which vary from relatively smooth and well-maintained to rocky and sandy in places. Although much of the riding is non-technical, good bike handling skills are required in order to cope with loose stones and sand, and for riding in terrain which is very different from what many people will be used to. There are some singletrack sections with varying levels of technicality, from easy valley trails to some optional rocky descents. Above all, a very good level of fitness is required to cope with some very mountainous terrain, with ascents up to 1000m/3280ft in height gain and 15km/9 miles in length. We recommend you bring a bike with full suspension for your own comfort, or alternatively a good quality hardtail.

Mountain Biking Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4 : Challenging

Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day

For regular mountain bikers who have a good level of fitness

Routes with frequent moderate to difficult technical sections

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

As well as keeping a good level of fitness you are also an experienced biker and enjoy riding more challenging trails. You usually ride most weekends and can cover between 30 and 50 miles over a full 8-9 hour day (with breaks). The routes you choose generally include more challenging 1-2 hour long climbs perhaps with sharp switchbacks and sections of large and loose rocks. You are comfortable riding most trails including sections of technical or exposed singletrack with some testing obstacles such as drop offs and steep downhills. Our grade 4 trips should suit you.

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Top draw, never done something like this before! Guides were outstanding, I learned a lot from them.

Storm, Newcastle

Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
22/05/2021
Return Date
29/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,025.00
Start Date
11/09/2021
Return Date
18/09/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,025.00

Whats Included Tick

A) All accommodation during the trip (usually twin-shared rooms except in family houses where you may be required to share with people from your group)

B) Meals as specified in the Trip Notes – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

C) Full tour service including guide(s) / support staff and support vehicle.

D) Mint tea, bottled drinking water.

E) Airport transfers to and from Marrakech Airport (RAK) on scheduled arrival and departure days.

What's not Included Cross

A) Personal clothing and equipment (including a sleeping bag).

B) Travel to and from Morocco.

C) Alcoholic drinks.

D) Travel insurance.

E) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.

F) Bike hire (if applicable).

G) Bike carriage on flights (if applicable).

H) Tips for local guides/drivers.

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into and depart from Marrakech (RAK). Due to the proximity to the airport of our accommodation in Marrakech we can accommodate arrivals and departures throughout the day.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

For the majority of this tour we stay in Gîtes, which are local houses converted into basic tourist accommodation. Rooms sleep up to four and have shared showers/toilets. Some gites have a wood-fired hammam (Moroccan steam room) – good for easing aches and pains. The remaining nights are spent in guest houses or hotels.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. For the High Atlas Traverse these bikes are typically very good mountain bikes featuring full-suspension, disc brakes and good quality components.

If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

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