Looking at the Atlas..


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.


4 responses »

  1. Hi Paul,Wow off again soon?You must have cycle touring in the blood now. Good luck to you and have a safe journey. I look forward to the blogs.

    • HI Tony! Hope you and the family are well and you are still enjoying the bike. I will book your place on the Moroccan express…and glad to have you on board.
      I cannot go quite yet as family matters have affected timing. But keen to get back on the road in the spring. Should be good.

  2. On your way over the Tizi-n-Tichka consider taking the unsurfaced route down to Ait Ben Haddou via Telouet (turnoff east not too far past the summit). We couldn’t ride it because recent bad weather had washed out the road, but they can tell you in Telouet about the current conditions, and it would be an awesome route to Ait Ben Haddou. Also, we had to wait a couple of days in Taddert for the weather to clear enough to cross the pass (late February.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s