I am currently at the planning stage for a trip to Morocco. The Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountain ranges have an excellent reputation for cycle touring. All going well it will give the Surly LHT a good run and stretch my legs a little.
The Tizi-n-Tichka pass at over 2000m is an attractive challenge and figures on many cyclists itineraries. It is, naturally, tempting to visit some of the ‘Royal’ cities on the way down to the mountains.
I did visit Tangiers as a teenager with my parents but always fancied heading further South to Marrakech. At the time the ‘Magic Bus’ travel service provided a very cheap route for backpackers to find their way there ‘on the hippy trail’. It will be good to finally get there. Better late than never.
A rough itinerary: Rabat – Fes – Rich – Skoura – Marrakesh- Rabat via Casablanca. This could be augmented with a few side trips. i.e. Todra Gorge and it would be fun to reach the Sahara for tea.
Pouring over the maps: A little more in depth planning reveals that it would be sensible to drop down along the Atlantic coast and sweep inland to Marrakech before crossing the Atlas range via the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. A side route from there past Alt Benhaddou before following the Vallee du Dades East. Then recrossing the Atlas range via the Todra gorge to Khenifra in the North. A hop to Fes via Ifrane and then back West to Rabat taking in the Roman ruins at Volubilis. Entirely do-able. That is now the er.. um.. plan.
And like previous trips the plan often changes. With a little further time to digest the possibilities and my slight aversion to cities and tourist traps, my attention is drawn even more to the High Atlas. The route South over the range from Denmate to Skoura is a very attractive and preferable option. ‘Happy Valley’ or Ait Bougmez is on the itinerary now. Looking good.