Cycle Morocco - Atlas to the Sahara

Cycle Morocco - Atlas to the Sahara

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8 Days
From

$1310

$992

Cycle Morocco - Atlas to the Sahara

8 Days Starting and ending in Marrakech

Visiting: Marrakesh, Aït Benhaddou, Alnif, Erg Chebbi, Erfoud, todra gorges, Kalaat M'Gouna

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

CSO

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Moderate

Age range:

Adult

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Active

Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Cycling, Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$1310
$992 (USD) Operator discount: -$290 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$28 -24%
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Tour Overview

Discover the kasbahs, tribal villages and cool oases of the Draa Valley on this cycling holiday in Morocco. Cycle through the remote hamada desert of the Sahara and enjoy an exhilarating High Atlas descent through the Berber heartland. Overnight Sahara camp - Ride camels through Saharan sand dunes and camp overnight under the stars Thrilling descent - Enjoy a scenic descent from the stunning High Atlas mountain pass of Tizi N'Fedrhate Marrakech - Discover Morocco's vibrant Red City, with its atmospheric medina and lively Djemma-el- Fna Square

Highlights

  • Overnight Sahara camp - Ride camels through Saharan sand dunes and camp overnight under the stars

  • Thrilling descent - Enjoy a scenic descent from the stunning High Atlas mountain pass of Tizi N'Fedrhate

  • Marrakech - Discover Morocco's vibrant Red City, with its atmospheric medina and lively Djemma-el- Fna Square

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Join Trip In Marrakech
Location: Marrakesh
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel Almas (or similar)

Arrive in Marrakech. Morocco's famous Red City, Marrakech is the spiritual heart of the country, a cultural melting pot of the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the south. Blessed with some of the most stunning architecture in Morocco, its mix of tradition, colour and history makes it the ideal starting point.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Marrakech at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK), which is around 20 minutes from the hotel. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to relax beside our hotel's swimming pool or take a stroll around Djemaa el Fna Square.

Day 2 - Drive Into The High Atlas; Cycle To Unesco Site Ait Ben Haddou
Location: Aït Benhaddou
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: La Kasbah (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

.This morning we start by driving into the heart of the Atlas Mountains. This 2 and a half hour journey takes us over the dramatic High Atlas pass of Tizi n' Tichka at an altitude of 2,260 metres. We stop for a photo then continue on to the intricately decorated Kasbah Telouet. Built in the 1860's by the El Glaoui family and located on the former caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech. Not far from here, we get on our bikes and have some time to get familiar with the set up making any necessary adjustments. We then cycle to the spectacular fortified city of Ait Ben Haddou - classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered by many as one of Morocco's most picturesque settings. Richly decorated and studded with crenelated towers, the town's spectacular kasbah may be recognised from scenes in Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and, most recently, Game of Thrones. Our hotel is located a short walk from Ait Ben Haddou, allowing us to check in and freshen up then enjoy the site after the crowds have gone.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 38 kilometres (370 metres total accumulated ascent and 340 metres descent).

Day 3 - Cycling In The Draa Valley, Then Drive To Alnif
Location: Alnif
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Kasbah Meteorites (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

Leaving Ait Ben Haddou by bus, we drive over the dramatic Tizi n'Tinififft mountain pass, rising to an altitude of 1,800 metres amid the lunar landscape of the Anti-Atlas. We continue down into one of the most stunning natural wonders of Morocco - the Draa Valley, where we have the opportunity to enjoy an exhilarating cycle ride. Dotted with kasbahs and ksours (fortified villages), the Draa Valley is the largest date palm oasis in Morocco. We begin cycling before the small town of Agdz and head south on descending terrain though lush oases. We will return to our vehicle for the last part of the journey to our overnight stop at Alnif which takes about 2 hours.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 42 kilometres (460 metres total accumulated ascent and 340 metres descent).

Day 4 - Cycle The Foothills Of The Jebel Sahro; Camel Trek To Overnight Sahara Camp
Location: Erg Chebbi
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Nomad Camp - Chebbi Dunes (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we drive from our hotel along the southern foothills of the Jebel Sahro mountain range, against the spectacular backdrop of the 2,712- metre Amalou n'Mansour peak. This drives takes around 2 hours, we head to a remote part of Morocco that forms part of the stony Hammada Desert. Our first stop is Rissani where we explore the Tuesday markets and mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif - great grandson of the founder of the Alaouite Dynasty. On the outskirts of the town we hop on our bikes and cycle along the desert road towards the imposing Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Once we arrive in Mergouza we swap our bikes for camels and take an exciting camel trek to explore the contrasting and more classic desert landscape around Erg Chebbi. This spectacular natural wonder is home to the largest expanse of sand in Morocco, with giant dunes peaking at an impressive 150 metres. Landscapes like this only cover about one fifth of the Sahara's surface, the rest is made up of vast rock and gravel plains. Our camel trek brings us to our desert camp where we spend the night. The camel trek takes approximately one and a half to two hours, and you can walk alongside your camel if you prefer. Our desert camp allows us to experience the tranquility of this desert setting and comprises of a traditional goat hair tent separated into bedroom compartments of twin, double and single beds. Mattresses, blankets, towels and pillows are provided. There is a wash block with three showers and three 'sit down' flushing toilets.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 37 kilometres (80 metres total accumulated ascent and 80 metres descent).

Day 5 - Enjoy Sunrise In The Sand Dunes Then Pedal To Erfoud
Location: Erfoud
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Kasbah Tizimi (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning, we recommend rising early to watch the spectacular desert sunrise as it casts shadows across the rolling dunes. After breakfast, we return to Merzouga by camel where we buy lunch supplies. We then get back in the saddle and cycle to Erfoud. Today's cycle ride is in the Rissani region - homeland of the Alaouite dynasty, which reigned in this area for 300 years. Cycling through an expansive desert landscape, we will see people going about daily life and, depending on the time of year, you may see shepherds moving herds of goats and camels to higher ground for grazing in the summer months.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 54 kilometres (450 metres total accumulated ascent and 20 metres descent).

Day 6 - Bike Though Local Villages En Route To El Kelaa Mgouna
Location: todra gorges, Kalaat M'Gouna
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel Ksar Kaissar (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning, we set off by bus towards Tinerhir in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. We stop to see the ancient 'foggara' subterranean irrigation system and lean how this ancient system provided water for the surrounding villages. After about 2 hours of driving we mount our bikes and cycle through a lush oasis, abundant with date palms, olive groves, fruit orchards and almond trees, all scattered through a fertile landscape of grain and vegetable crops. Once arriving at Tinerhir we have one climb to a great viewpoint before a free wheel down to the Todra Gorge - renowned as one of the most spectacular canyons in the region. Here, ochre-coloured rock walls rise vertically to a height of 160 meters, leaving just a narrow pass through which the track and river wrestle for right of way. We have time to explore these deep, narrow mountain chasms on foot before continuing our journey by vehicle along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech to reach our overnight stop in El Kelaa des M'Gouna. Our driving time for this second section is about 1 1/2 hours. Known as the 'town of the roses', it is surrounded by a landscape of scented blooms each spring. These are harvested in May during the locally famous Festival of the Roses, before being processed into rosewater and sold throughout the Islamic world.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 43 kilometres (880 metres total accumulated ascent and 20 metres descent).

Day 7 - Ride Down Through The Atlas Mountains; Return To Marrakech
Location: Marrakesh
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel Almas (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

After an early breakfast, we drive into the High Atlas to the Tizi n'Fedrhate Pass at an altitude of 2,150 metres. This journey takes around 2 and a half hours. From here, we start cycling down into the northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains, through some of the most dramatic scenery of this entire trip. Amid the silence of the mountain valleys, the hardy Berbers cultivate fields of barley, wheat, olives, figs, beans, peas and almond groves. Here, tradition is strong and social organisation remains uncompromisingly tribal. These 'Lords of the Atlas' present us with a unique view of a way of life lost to the rest of North Africa, where music and dance, even language and religion, are far removed from their Arab neighbours. Later, we return to our vehicle for a drive of around 2 hours back to Marrakech, arriving late in the afternoon.

Our total cycling distance is approximately 34 kilometres ( 170 metres total accumulated ascent and 1570 metres descent).

Please note: Today's cycling route may have to be altered in adverse weather conditions.

Day 8 - Trip Ends Marrakech
Location: Marrakesh
Meals Included: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Marrakech.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Marrakech at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which is a 20 minute drive from the hotel depending on traffic.

Depending on the time of your flight, you might be able to spend some additional time exploring the city independently.

What's Included

  • Fully Guided

  • Accommodation

  • Bike rental

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Country Entry Visas

Why Book this Tour

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. We also provide a support vehicle, spare parts and take care of day to day bike maintenance. All you need bring is your own helmet.

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Check out our Q&As

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Yes

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Andrea  

Southern Oasis Cycling

13-Oct-2017

I didn't know Explore before and It has been a pleasant discovery. I think I'll do other holidays with you

Aadila  

Southern Oasis Cycling

01-May-2018

The December 2017 southern oasis was an EPIC adventure enjoyed by all. The Explore team made the trip the most enjoyable.

Richard  

Southern Oasis Cycling

12-Mar-2019

The Leader was exceptional

Elizabeth  

Southern Oasis Cycling

20-Apr-2018

The tour was superbly organised and we managed to fit in a lot of experiences and sights!

Pauline  

Southern Oasis Cycling

01-Aug-2019

Was yet again another excellent Explore trip.

Jacqueline  

Southern Oasis Cycling

24-Oct-2018

It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. The guides both made it really special and the mix of the group was perfect. I loved the variety as well. Great location. I’ve fallen in love with Morocco.

Christopher  

Southern Oasis Cycling

01-Mar-2018

A brilliant trip - you have converted me to Explore - I'll be back

Read all 7 reviews

Dates & Availability

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Saturday - Saturday

Mar 09, 2024 - Mar 16, 2024
$1310 $992 (USD)

Operator discount: -$290 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$28 (USD)

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 30, 2024 - Apr 06, 2024
$1310 $1011 (USD)

Operator discount: -$270 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$29 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 21, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 21, 2024 - Sep 28, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 28, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 12, 2024 - Oct 19, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 26, 2024 - Nov 02, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Nov 09, 2024 - Nov 16, 2024
$1310 $1274 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$36 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Feb 15, 2025 - Feb 22, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 08, 2025 - Mar 15, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 22, 2025 - Mar 29, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 29, 2025 - Apr 05, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Apr 05, 2025 - Apr 12, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Apr 26, 2025 - May 03, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 13, 2025 - Sep 20, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 20, 2025 - Sep 27, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 27, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 11, 2025 - Oct 18, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 25, 2025 - Nov 01, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Saturday

Nov 08, 2025 - Nov 15, 2025
$1340 $1303 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$37 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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