Encompassing the best of Morocco, this trip will take us past the foothills of Mt Toubkal, golden Kasbahs, impressive gorges and the long sandy beach of Essaouira. This spectacular route follows smooth tarmac roads and climbs over high mountain passes that reward you with spectacular vistas of the High Atlas Mountains. A real highlight is riding through Paradise Valley, close to Imouzzer, where a palm-filled valley leads to a high pass with views down to the ocean below. After all the riding we will receive a warm welcome from a range of great hotels including a traditional riad.
Ride from the Atlas Mountains to the coast
Explore Marrakech and Essaouira
Conquer challenging climbs and exciting descents
Mogador Opera Hotel or similar – Marrakech
We recommend walking or taking a taxi into the old city. Here there is plenty
to explore like the old walled medina and its winding alleyways which are
filled with souks selling everything from street food to pottery and
Transfer To Tadmamt; Cycle In The Foothills Of Mt Toubkal To Ijoukak.
Auberge Tigmmi n'Tmazrite or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We transfer out of Marrakech this morning to Tadmamt and begin our cycling
journey into the foothills of Mt Toubkal. After a nice warm up on a wonderful
undulating road, we enjoy a long descent into the Asni Valley with beautiful
views. We then follow the river and cross over a number of bridges before
arriving in Tigmmi n'Tmazrite and our hotel for the evening.
Challenging Climb Followed By Exhilarating Descent From Tizi N'test Pass (2100M) To Oulad Berhil; Overnight In Traditional Riad.
Riad Hida or similar - Oulad Berhil
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The day begins with a challenging climb to the dramatic Tizi n'Test Pass
(2100m). We are rewarded with dramatic views to the south over the Sousse
Valley towards the Anti Atlas Mountains. After lunch we have a truly dramatic
and, in places, quite steep descent as the road winds down to the valley.
Once in the valley our ride takes us past orange, lemon and grapefruit groves
as we approach Oulad Berhil. Here we receive a warm welcome, wonderful food
and a relaxing evening at our beautiful Riad. This converted palace is a
wonderful addition to the end of our day with roaming peacocks and the chance
to pick our own fruit straight off the trees.
Cycle Towards Tafraoute In Anti Atlas Mountains; Optional Transfer/Ride To See The Famous Blue Rocks.
Auberge Chez Amalyia or similar – Tafraoute
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We have a morning transfer into the Anti Atlas Mountains and the real
southern Morocco, much of it semi-desert and a complete contrast to the
fertile Sousse Valley. We travel through argan country trying to spot the
incredible tree climbing goats which are famously found here. From Irherm, we
are surrounded by almond trees and our road has some wonderful ups and downs
as we pass through many farms and little mud-walled Berber villages. The last
section of the ride is another wonderful descent of about 12km through the
most dramatic scenery to Tafraoute.
Time permiting we will visit the somewhat peculiar site of giant painted blue
rocks, otherwise we'll visit these tomorrow.
Pass Pink Houses And Kasbahs En Route To Ait Baha Lake; Transfer To Agadir.
breakfast, lunch, dinner
We transfer to Tizi M’Lil and begin another varied ride, undulating through
spectacular hills, past traditional villages and hill-top kasbahs, with some
superb balcony sections with excellent views. There are a few climbs, but the
ride ends with an exhilarating descent to Ait Baha Lake and then we transfer
to the coastal resort of Agadir.
*Hotel Oasis or similar – Agadir*
Spectacular Ride Through The Paradise Valley; Climb To Imouzzer.
Imouzzer Ida Ou Tanane
breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today we enjoy a truly spectacular ride through the Paradise Valley, a narrow
gorge lined with palm trees. Towards the head of the valley we have another
challenging climb with excellent views, eventually reaching a high plateau
and the little town of Imouzzer, the end point of one of the most dramatic
rides on our route. Originally the home of the Ida Outanane Berber tribe,
Imouzzer retains a strong cultural identity.
*Hotel des Cascades Ecolodge or similar – Imouzzer*
Cycle Through Traditional Villages And Palmaris To Essouira.
breakfast, lunch, dinner
We start cycling from the front door and begin with another excellent winding
descent on a good road to a valley dotted with palm trees and traditional
villages. There are a couple of moderate climbs over rocky hills and descents
back into the fertile valleys before we reach the main coast road and the end
of the ride. After a picnic lunch we transfer (1.5 hours) to our destination
for the evening, Essaouira. This charming old Portuguese fishing port dates
back to the 15th Century, but the present town was constructed around 1760 by
Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt
from Agadir. Today, Essaouira is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses
with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a
marked contrast to Marrakech. There's plenty of interest in the narrow
traffic-free streets of the old town and we stay overnight in a traditional
*Riad al Madina or similar – Essaouira *
Free Morning In Essaouira; Transfer To Marrakech; Free Time.
After a free morning to explore lovely Essaouira, we transfer to the vibrant
city of Marrakech. Simply enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice in one of the
many rooftop cafés overlooking the Djemma El Fna Square, or perhaps take a
calèche (a bright green horse drawn carriage) ride to the peaceful Majorelle
Gardens. These small but tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo
blue and house the small Museum of Islamic Art in the grounds. A final treat
would be to go for a hammam, a traditional Moroccan steam bath. A visit to
Djemma el Fna Square this evening is the ultimate reward for our week's
cycling - with snake charmers, story tellers, smoky food stalls and souks,
there is no other way to experience the exciting atmosphere of Marrakech.
*Mogador Opera Hotel or similar – Marrakech*
The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be taken to
the airport in time for their flight home.
Explore Marrakech if you have time before your flight. The best places to get
a view over the square are the La Grand Balcon du Cafe Glacier or Cafe de
France. You have to buy a drink, but at MAD 20 it's worth it for a great
Majorelle Gardens, or Le Jardin Secret make a great escape from the
bustling city, and offer a chance to discover its gardens and buildings,
which are outstanding examples of Islamic art and architecture.
A top tip for great food would be the Moroccan roast lamb, found at Chez
Lamine just off the Djemaa el Fna square. Made famous by Jamie Oliver's
visit, it remains the best place to try this speciality. Go between 12noon
and 3pm or you'll miss it.
If you're craving a cold beer or a glass of wine, make your way to La Salama,
again just off the Djemaa el Fna square. You can enjoy the
beautiful interior and lively atmosphere.
Taxis can be found easily around the Djemaa el Fna square, to take you back
to your hotel in the new city.
All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.
Moroccan food is excellent, though not particularly varied. Breakfasts
usually consist of bread, croissants and jam with tea or coffee and freshly
squeezed orange juice. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - a lamb or
chicken tagine (a local speciality) will cost about GBP5. In main towns it is
possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and
French wine will cost anything from GBP15 upwards. Local beers, wines and
soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but you can pay UK
prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader can help recommend
restaurants for the two evenings where dinner is not included. Vegetarians
can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian tajine,
cous cous, omelettes and salad. This is particularly the case during the more
rural sections of the trip.
Lunches are a mixture of packed lunches or eating in a local restaurant. They
are generally a mixture of bread, pasta, rice, veg, cheese, fish, ham,
Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should
inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific
medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring
some items of food with you from home. All mineral drinking water is included
We stay in hotels, an auberge and two riads during this trip. Apart from the auberge, these are three- and four-star properties (local ratings). Below are some of the places we typically stay.
Tafraoute: Hotel les Amandiers
Perched on a rocky hillock, Les Amandiers overlooks the valley and is surrounded by pink granite mountains. The property has a pool with mountain views and a lounge where you can relax.
Imouzzer: Hotel des Cascades Ecolodge
After one of our most spectacular rides of the trip, Hotel des Cascades is the perfect place to unwind and reminisce. There's an outdoor pool for a post-cycle dip and sun loungers if you just want to kickback. Best of all, however, might be the views, which stretch over the surrounding Atlas peaks.
Essaouira: Riad Al Madina
Built in 1817, this traditional riad in Essaouira medina provides an authentic look into a bygone age. The hub of social interaction is the patio, but you can also enjoy Moroccan tea in one of the lounges. When you're ready to explore, the beach is just 655ft (200m) away and you're near all the attractions and souks.
A single supplement is available; however, this does not apply to the night spent at Auberge Tigmmi (Day 2).
Riads are traditional Moroccan homes, generally in the old part of the city or medina, where the wealthiest people would historically live. They’re typically built around a central corridor with windows facing an internal courtyard (external windows are rare). Most have a rooftop terrace where breakfast is served. A night in a riad is an authentic Moroccan experience; however, riads do not have hotel-style facilities. Additionally, the rooms are not standardised and come in different sizes and shapes.