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Duration
8 Days
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    Duration - 8 Days
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Suitable Bike
Mountain Bike
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    Suitable Bike - Mountain Bike
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Fitness Grade
3
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    Fitness Grade - 3
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Skills Grade
C - D
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    Skills Grade - C - D
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Navigation
Fully Guided
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    Navigation - Fully Guided

Morocco High Atlas Singletrack Full Itinerary 


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The Mountain Biking - Introduction
 

Travel deep into the Atlas Mountains on remote trails known only to our local, experienced mountain bike leaders. Stunning singletrack, challenging terrain, beautiful scenery and seldom visited villages, that’s what this holiday is all about. You’ll also spend each night in a comfortable hotel or delightful French-Moroccan guesthouse, sampling wonderful food and enjoying the very best Moroccan hospitality. This is Moroccan "All mountain" biking at its very best.

Highlights

  • Miles and miles of amazing singletrack
  • 4x4 support for uplifts and bag transfers
  • Minimum drive time, maximum ride time
  • 2 professional mountain bike guides
  • French Moroccan guesthouse / hotel Accommodation

 

Our Moroccan MTB Partnership
Every CycleActive tour is led by an MBLA qualified, highly experienced CycleActive guide from the UK. For this tour we have teamed up with the most experienced mountain bike guides in Morocco, with 20 years experience in the Atlas Mountains. This combination gives us great flexibility and unprecedented access to secret trails. Their skills as leaders, mechanics and instructors will make sure your rides run smoothly and safely. 

Please Note: This is a sample itinerary only as the guides will select the best rides for each day, depending on the group, the weather and other factors.

Usual daily distances: 32 to 45km
Days of cycling: 6
Tour staff: 2 Mountain bike guides, 2 drivers
 
 
If you want to find out more about the mountain biking, the guiding or anything else about the Altas Mountains – please just give us a call. Our office team is always ready to help with enquiries.
 
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Contact us to find out more or reserve your space:
Email: admin@cycleactive.com
Call: + 44 (0)1768 840400

 

 Day 1 Saturday – Arrival in Marrakech
   
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There are many flights into Marrakech from the UK, with carriers such as Easyjet, Ryan Air and British Airways. Most land in the morning so once we’ve taken you to the hotel (15 mins from the airport) there is time to build bikes, freshen up then head into the heart of the city.

Our destination is the Medina, or old walled city, where you can head into the narrow alleys known as souks. This covered labyrinth contains stalls that sell just about everything, and it’s a great place to test your haggling skills if you want to buy something. As evening comes it's great to explore the main square, Djemaa el Fna. There is no place on earth like it, with its snake charmers, musicians, acrobats and entertainers. From here we head on to a great French/Moroccan restaurant for dinner, followed by a good rest before the first day of biking.

  • Cycling: 0km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Akabar / Hotel Amani / or similar - Marrakech
  • Meals Included: None

 

 Day 2 Sunday - Foot hills off Talbanine
   
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This morning we get away early for the 1 hour transfer into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. There are other short drives later in the tour, but mainly to get us from the valleys to the high passes so we can get in as much varied and top-notch biking as possible.

Our destination is the remarkable farm land foot hills just outside the town of Talbanine (760m), a beautiful yet crumbling place which is surrounded by fertile, rolling countryside still tended by the local villagers in a traditional way. This morning we ride 26km of undulating rock track, which is a great way to acclimatise to the varied technical trail conditions for the week ahead. This flowing singletrack takes us into the back streets of Touama, where we twist and turn through the hustle and bustle of market town life. This is followed by a superb traditional lunch in the heart of town.

The afternoon has a full 24km of flowing, scenic and sometimes technically challenging riding. With craggy mountains looming over lush green rivers, villages appear out of nowhere, disguised by their simple construction using the soil and rock of the surrounding mountains. We ride through one of these villages, Douar Ifghan Negra, before making our way down to our hotel close by.

  • Cycling: 45km
  • Accommodation: Auberge Le Maquis (Guest house / small hotel)
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

 Day 3 Monday - Mountains not hills!
   
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After breakfast we have the drivers load the Land Cruisers with our bikes for a short but steep 45 minute uplift transfer on a dirt track into the mountains, taking us to our high point of the day. 2256m in altitude is the start of our ride, potentially with patchy snow on the ground in 25 degree heat (April). Today is all about Atlas freeriding – letting gravity do its work, but still with some great pedalling sections along the way. With 1190m of descent made up of steep switchback turns, rocky outcrops and forest runs in the lower tree line below we get to experience all kinds of trails as we pass through different ecosystems on our way back into the valley. And that's just the morning!

Lunch is at the panoramic view point Pre de Tiglatine, which overlooks our afternoon ride. We may have left the mornings steep slopes behind, but the rocks are still plentiful. With some punchy climbs in the mix after lunch we get to enjoy a great rollercoaster of an afternoon, still predominantly downhill, and giving a grand total of 2060m of descent on the day. We finish back at Auberge Le Maquis for another night.

  • Cycling: 30km
  • Accommodation: Auberge Le Maquis (Guest house / small hotel)
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

 Day 4 Tuesday - Jurassic Park into RedRocksRide
   
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Another swift and steep 40 minutes transfer in a completely different direction sees us dropped off at the secret start location for today’s action. This morning's ride changes tack from yesterday's, as we climb up and out onto the craggy mountainside, following a spine of rocky terrain like the giant back of a dinosaur. Following this spine of angular rocks we navigate round on smooth flowing tracks. Here on this prehistoric knife-edge we have our best view of the plains with Marrakesh to the north. The descent off Jurassic Park takes us through a mixture of lush valleys, arid hilltops and winding trails across beautiful ridgelines. Pencil thin singletrack changes to wide open doubletrack as it switches left and right before a final descent of the morning, Red Rocks! This amazing trail holds great memories for everyone who visits Morocco with us, and for very good reason. It loses height gradually as we rise and fall on snaking red singletrack, peppered with rocks, drops and sneaky switchbacks. Beware of the donkeys, they don't move and win every time!
 
The Ourika River is where the vehicles pick us up and transfer us back up to 1660m in the midday sun. At the top we grab a picnic lunch while contemplating our way down, as you can see the finish far below.

The afternoon is "all down" and requires lots of concentration, with some impressive drops to our left hand side we pilot our bikes on this fast cambered descent.

  • Cycling: 40km
  • Accommodation:  Al Maqam Hotel in Tahnaoute village
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

 Day 5 Wednesday - Ourika Explored
   
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Today we give you a full day of flexible riding choices in this most beautiful and varied part of the mountains. After breakfast the support vehicle will head out with those that wish to get in a big ride. The choice for these riders is the magnificent Amassine Trail on Ikis Mountain: a challenging and scenic route which takes even the best riders 4+ hours to complete. For those who want an easier day the vehicle can transfer them up to the high point to meet the rest of the group. From here you can continue the climb and ride the singletrack down to the valley floor.

Another great alternative for those who want a rest from the bike but a chance to experience another side of Morocco, is to take a short taxi ride to Setti Fatma, the village at the end of the valley. The Ourika Valley is a national park and has plenty of beautiful sites to see, Setti Fatma is just one in this tranquil region. Being a dead-end valley there is little traffic along here, making it a great place to enjoy a lazy lunch and a splash in the river.

  • Cycling: 32km
  • Accommodation: Amezmiz / ALI's 2000m Mountain Gite. (Large guest house)
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

 Day 6 Thursday – Mountains to Plains (The magic carpet ride)
   
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A winding road leads south into the highest peaks of the High Atlas, and our support vehicles take the strain as we climb multiple hairpins into the ever-thinner air and ultimately reach our high point of over 2300m. This is the start of a breathtaking journey which cuts through just about every climate zone, every type of terrain and some amazing village scenes, as we blast from high mountains to open plains.

The whole of this ride is a scenic, biking extravaganza but the final 16km singletrack section is a real highlight of the trip, with possibly some of the best mountain biking you’ll ever do. It gets call the magic carpet ride, due to is flowing undulating nature. Here you can pedal or pump your bike for speed, ride the small ridges and flow in between. This is the ultimate mix of four-cross bmx all mountain flowing freeride as we pump, jump and float our way down these remarkable trails.

 
As we reach the lower slopes and pass through villages the local children wave, smile and sometimes give chase while the elders look on and laugh. Eventually, tired and smiling, we pop out at the wide dirt road to meet our vehicles for the final uplift of the trip – all the way back up to Amezmiz 2000m. After a full day of biking and a transfer of about an hour and a half, we arrive in the dark at Ali's Mountain Gite where we’ll be spending a second night. The Gite is run by Ali and the accommodation is made up of 6 twin rooms (4 ensuite).  It's very clean, comfortable and in a truly impressive location. The food is very good, there are comfortable lounges with a log fire to relax in.  There is also a steam room for the people who need to sweat some more.  It feels more like a small hotel and is a million miles away from the buck house gite which peoples minds conjure up.  All you need to bring is a towel and a few bottles of wine from the previous hotel as no alcohol is sold, but can be consumed on site.
 
  • Cycling: 37km
  • Accommodation: Amezmiz / ALI's 2000m Mountain Gite. (Large guest house)
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

 Day 7 Friday - Toubkal Trails
   
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Once you step outside and get your first taste of cool mountain air, and an eyeful of this high alpine environment, you’ll be itching to get on your bike. This location is over looked by the highest summit in North Africa – Toubkal - which is towering above us at 4167m.
We start the ride with a short climb and can soon make out the full line of peaks which lead to this high point and beyond, stretching south as the High Atlas join the Anti Atlas, winding towards the coast. The final ride is every bit as spectacular as the view. The morning is  fast, exciting and rocky with fire road and challenging rocky singletrack, which cuts the comers. With steep ridgeline descents on scree slopes and uncharted descents on loose terrain through these high mountains this ride is not for the fainthearted.  With a fast singletrack down to the village we end up finishing the ride for a late lunch after a full throttle long morning on the bike.  What a great way to finish a sunny, dust week of riding !
 
Lunch is probably the very best you’ll have in Morocco, not just for the quality of the food but also for the location. Our local guides know the villagers here and even though there is no official restaurant we get served a fabulous meal, sitting on a wide grassy terrace overlooking the silent, beautiful mountains. It’s a real treat for the last day.

After lunch we start our drive back to Marrakech, which takes 1.5hrs.  This gives us a little time to pack bikes and freshen up before heading out for a last night's meal together.

  • Cycling: 30km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Akabar / Hotel Amani / or similar - Marrakech
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

 Day 8 Saturday - Souks then Home
   
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Depending on flight times you may be able to fit in an early visit to the souks. It’s fabulous to see the markets as they open up for the day, before the crowds start to arrive. Even if you just visit for an hour before breakfast, then get back to the hotel to pick up your things, it’s well worth getting a last flavour of Morocco and perhaps picking up some unusual gifts at the same time. Just make sure you allow enough time for the bartering! We will then transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
 
  • Cycling: None
  • Accommodation: Hotel Akabar, Marrakech
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
 

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FURTHER INFORMATION

Choosing the Right Holiday
At CycleActive we carefully grade our trips to a required level of fitness and, for a required level of mountain biking skill. We also offer personal advice to anyone who needs it, by email or on the phone, thus ensure that you find a holiday suitable for your abilities and desires. This is not a downhillers holiday and is classed as an "All mountain" trip.

Fitness grade 3. Good fitness from regular exercise sessions and time spent actively involved in mountain biking. This is an "All Mountain" trip with a good downhill bias. There are climbs every day, combined with the high mountain terrain and full days in technical ground.

Skill grade C & D. There is a great deal of singletrack riding, sometimes on narrow, steep, rocky trails which cling to the sides of the mountains. In places there are options to avoid the most technical riding, but a good level of skill and confidence is required throughout the tour. "Drops-off" are avoidable if needs be.

Geography & Climate
The variety of this tour means we spend time in warm lowlands, as well as cooler mountain areas. In general we expect good weather with plenty of sunshine and temperatures ranging from 15 to 30 degrees centigrade as we ride. However, we can experience cold spells in the high mountains and as with all mountain areas there is the possibility of rain, so riders should always come prepared for a mix of conditions.

Accommodation & Food
We have made this tour as comfortable as possible so you can enjoy a good place to finish each night, with a hot shower and tasty food. We use a 3 star hotel in Marrakech, chosen for its character and quality, then a mix of hotels and good auberges throughout the tour, all with comfortable en-suite rooms. 

Cycling Support
While cycling in Morocco you will not have 4x4 support right behind you, as we spend so much time on singletrack trails. Our expert leaders are experienced at looking after groups in high mountains but you still need to be able to carry your own basic provisions and tools. Our leaders carry a good toolkit and will help to fix most bike problems out on the trail. One guide always travels with a good first aid kit and contact details for outside assistance, if needed. The UK guide will also deal with any medical issues as they are training in "outdoor incident management 1st aid". Our vehicles will be permanently on standby as we ride, drivers have mobile phones, and are ready to give support should it be required. Note that while we do have access to some spares as well as the possibility of getting spare bikes in the event of a major failure, this can be a time consuming/costly process. You must therefore ensure that your bike is in good working order before coming on the tour and ride within your abilities.

Cycle Rental
If you want to use your own bike it is usually easy to find flights which are suitable and we will send you our guideline packing instructions. If you prefer to rent one we have bikes in the UK as well as in Morocco – these are constantly changing and being updated so contact us for latest rental information.

Flights and Transfers
We can book your flight through an ATOL bonded agent and you will have a separate contract for your flight with them. Alternatively you can book your own flights through a range of airlines, including Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways although you should not reserve any flights until we have confirmed that you can go ahead and do so (as we need to confirm that we have reached minimum numbers for the tour first). We aim to include one transfer for the whole group at the start and finish of the tour and will let you know when this transfer departs from/for the airport. Extra transfers can be arranged to and from the hotel, please see the website for prices.

Passports and Visas
For entry into Morocco, UK citizens need a full passport, but a visa is not required. You will need to fill out a simple landing card on arrival.

Clothing and Equipment
On booking, a detailed list of useful and essential items will be sent to you. You must bring your own cycle helmet that must be worn for all cycle rides. All clothing and equipment must be packed in one bag, either a soft holdall or soft rucksack. This is the maximum luggage allowed as all luggage is carried on top of the vehicles. A Camelbak or similar cycling rucksack is also allowed and is carried inside the vehicle with you. Bike bags and boxes are stored in Marrakech while we are on tour in the Atlas Mountains. We advise you not to bring laptops as luggage travels on top of the cars in the sun. (Laptop screens don't like lots of heat).

Pre-Travel Information
When you book a more detailed pre-travel pack will be sent to you with information on clothing to bring, money, bike packing and other useful topics.