HIGH ATLAS ENDURO DELUXE SINGLETRACK, MOROCCO
Morocco High Atlas Enduro Deluxe Singletrack Information
For a number of years, we have been working on developing a really good concept and qualitative climbing program in High Atlas. We have recognised countless trails, accommodations and spent a lot of time optimising logistics solutions.
Specialized Concept Store Göteborg (SCSGBG) has contributed to the last but very important components of the construction of the concept; quality bicycles and specialist skills both in cycling and mechanics. They also share our passion for cycling and the desire to spread this to others. Together with the store, we now offer an epic week-long enduro tour to the High Atlas.
We will have six Stumpjumper or equivalent (alu) for lending during the trip (for those who are resident or can go to Gothenburg). All you have to pay is the bicycle carrier on the airplane (approximately 500 SEK). On the trip, there are also two enthusiastic and competent cyclists and mechanics from SCSGBG. In other words, you have the chance to develop your knowledge of both cycling and cycling during the trip.
Launching directly into the beguiling, medieval madness that is Marrakech, we propel you through a million different vistas, enchanting villages and some of the best trail mountain biking known to man. Morocco’s trail network is still used by the Berber people and their trusty mules and donkeys help to keep the paths relatively clean, grippy and fast-flowing. That said, there are plenty of challenges for advanced riders here, with long (often rocky) descents, scree and sections with exposure. You should have a good technical ability and experience riding red (and preferably black) trail centre grades to get the most out of this tour.
In Marrakech (first and last nights) we stay at a top class, extremely inviting “riad”- a classic, Berber mansion house with cool, shady courtyard and rooftop terrace. This hint of unpretentious refinement continues throughout the week, and for 4 nights we stay at a very nice quality, family-ran lodge in Ouirgane. This hotel is one of the trip highlights… Set in beautiful gardens, with luxury swimming pool, good wifi, a licensed and well-stocked bar and excellent French / Moroccan food, you will also enjoy the alpine mountain lodge decor and cosy atmosphere.
Most days function on a similar routine. We normally make use of a morning transfer and uplift to get us started into a full day of biking, returning us back to our hotel base. We often meet our 4×4 support team at midday, and enjoy the most awesome, hand prepared camp lunches trailside in some fantastically beautiful locations. On one of the rides we actually load our bikes onto mules and trek up to a 2200m pass, from where the unfolding downhill trails will put a smile on anyone’s face! Another ride is a 2-day loop, and on that night we stay in a wonderful local gite (village house), complete with hamam / Turkish bath.
This tour is only moderately challenging on a physical level, but good bike handling skills, concentration and the right attitude to sensibly assess risks at short notice will reward you with oodles of enjoyment as well as a safe ride. We strongly recommend a full suspension mid or long travel trail / enduro bike with wide, tough tyres. As a minimum, soft-shell knee pads, long finger gloves and a decent helmet are required. Our Moroccan partner are the regional distributor for Giant Bikes, so we can obtain good quality trail bikes when you are not able to bring your own.
Have a look at the video below to get a good feel for the area. We don’t ride “freeride” like the Czech pro’s do, but our tour is still challenging enough enduro to satisfy keen, experienced riders. Don’t be shy…
Price: 1350 Euros
Trip length: 8 Days
Group size: 6-12 persons
Guides: European guide (Jon Bawn) accompanied by local Moroccan trail expert with every group
Smaller and private groups are possible- please ask about our group booking discounts.
We can also organise tours on other dates – please ask. The trip is sold excluding airfare, but we can help you with bookings if you wish.
Included in the trip
- All local transfers by 4×4 support vehicle
- Service truck with mobile workshop
- Mule transfers where specified
- English speaking advanced level MTB guide- travels from Europe
- Local Moroccan singletrack expert guide
- Chef and driver
- Two nights luxury B & B, Marrakech
- Four nights half board hotel, Ouirgane
- One night in a hostel, Ait Zitoune, half board
- All lunches Day 2- 7
- Bottled water whilst riding
- Mint tea and coffee at lunchtime picnics
- High quality dried fruit, nuts, energy snacks
Excluded from the trip
- Drinks (except as specified)
- Personal expenses
- Tips / gratuities
- Evening meals in Marrakech
Arriving in Marrakech is a sensory overload in all the right ways. Surprisingly more relaxed than it’s reputation suggests, Marrakech is like one massive village, complete with all the sights, sounds and smells that the hot winds of Africa’s Sahara can blow northwards. Truly a different world, the city is one massive melting pot of people, animals and vehicles from every direction, but refreshingly there are few concrete buildings, gas stations, supermarkets or shopping malls. Our journey from the airport into the city’s medieval old centre takes us through multiple walled courtyards, mesmerisingly switching between blocks of mud brick and rendered adobe that blend seamlessly into the desert backdrop.
The 20 minute journey brings us easily into the old centre, and the quiet, cool and refined historic ambience of a “riad” the local name for this kind of walled, upmarket residences. Our hotel is blissfully relaxing, with a central area decorated with antiques and complimented by a babbling water fountain. After a quick shower we head out into the “souks” and covered markets, soon emerging at the famous Jemaa el Fna square where street performers and traders ply their wares every evening. The ambience here is totally awesome, and we have our dinner and tour briefing in a nearby restaurant.
- Overnight luxury “riad” hotel, Marrakech
After a relaxing morning building up bikes and checking our kit we load the 4×4 roof racks and leave Marrakech, to arrive in Asni, a great little town that truly feels like the gateway to the Atlas. Here we can enjoy our first tagine, a Moroccan speciality slow cooked in a clay pot over an open fire. We begin biking after lunch with a steady climb, gaining height easily and then descending on a fun, rocky singletrack that is regularly used by villagers on the way to and from their fields. Heading towards Tinzert, the trail gets rougher, and requires some good trail skills and a careful choice of line. This is our first taste of an off the beaten track Atlas village, spell-binding in it’s simple, genuine nature and the friendliness of its people. From here the trail, still mostly downhill, becomes easier, and we cross a traditional salt mine to arrive at n’Ouisadene
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. Heading south west we pass through the villages of Toror, Anraz and Angoini, mostly on entertaining little singletracks between the garden terraces. Descending into Ouirgane for the first time we enjoy the panorama of the lake and wooded foothills, heading down through the villageon forest singletrack to the lake side. We skirt the lake and then climb up onto the prominent hill above the village. From here there are some great single tracks that lead all the way to our hotel. An easy first day’s ride, but not without it’s fair share of fun or challenge!
- Today’s biking: 28km / 700m Climb / 900m Descent
- Overnight Hotel, Ouirgane
This morning we drive for 1 hour up to Imlil and the shadow of Toubkal’s towering 4167m peak (snow covered for most of the year). Continuing in the support vehicles to the Tizi n’Tamartert pass (2100m), we begin the day’s ride- mostly downhill and a great chance to let the bikes roll and give the climbing legs a break! Contouring around the valley to Quanesekra, we enjoy panoramic views down the valley, and up to the Toubkal range itself. Then the real trails start to kick in, as we descend through a number of tiny villages to Tamguist, sometimes on fairly challenging singletrack, but always well used (by the locals) and always well surfaced. From here we follow a scenic dirt road downhill to Imsker, where we eat another great lunch in the shady settings of a local gite (15km done). Soon after the village we turn right and head onto a steep downhill section, crossing the river and climbing steeply to arrive on a very nice technical singletrack. This is true, entertaining trail biking at it’s finest, and as the rocks give way to muddy fields, orchards and irrigation channels we have time to reflect on the day’s descents. Option to ride 10km back to hotel on asphalt or take the transfer.
- Today’s biking: 24km / 350m Climb / 1400m Descent
- Overnight Hotel, Ouirgane
The first part of this ride is one of the classic trails that as put Ouirgane firmly on the world singletrack map. The canyon below Ouirgane’s azure, blue, lake is pure gold trail biking- just technical enough but stopping short of out and out scary, it’s elevated singletrack certainly has a few sections to keep the concentration sharp. After an initial steep climb (some hike a bike required) a wonderful trail leads mostly downhill, high up above the river valley, and this 10km section is definitely one of the tour highlights- absolutely awesome! Moving on, we bypass the normal dirt road route, at Ouchfilene village, contouring around the hills on small, smooth goat trails to easily arrive at Imi n’Tal’at village, where we eat a delicious, hand prepared picnic lunch (19km done). After lunch, we begin a climb up a dry river bed and then on a short section of dirt road to Tamsoult and almost as far as Ameghras. Here, we take an entertaining singletrack uphill, though the village and then looping back down same valley on a super-fast downhill singletrack. After some fun in the riverbed we hit the dirt road and soon arrive at Ait Zitoun where we stay at Berber guesthouse- complete with with hamam / hot bath. The setting of this place is the stuff of dreams, and after our feast of a dinner we can have drinks on the rooftop, lapping up the beautiful sights and sounds under a galaxy of stars…
- Today’s biking: 28km / 850m Climb / 750m Descent
- Overnight Village Guesthouse (gite), Ait Zitoun
After breakfast we begin with a 20 min transfer up the Anougal valley to around 1300m, and from there follow very nice singletracks up the river valley to Imi n’Ourmer, criss crossing streams as we go. There is plenty of clean, refreshing water around here in the early season! Above the village we hit a very rough dirt road up to the village of Ourmer, becoming challenging singletrack climbing that presents a good test for the best of riders. Concluding into a steep hike a bike (30 minutes) we reach a pass at 1800m and enjoy a picnic snack there. The head of the following valley presents unforgettable, top level (and at times risky) singletrack, with some exposure, that becomes more rocky as it turns into the stream bed. Less experienced riders can walk these harder sections- there’s plenty of time for others to stop and admire the stunning views! The challenging but super-fun sections continue until the village of Semghort, from where the gear gets decidedly more relaxing as we hit a dirt road section for 1km. Soon, however, we take a steep trail down into the valley towards Taghzout and then follow river valley mule trail. Another highlight of the tour, this trail is so much fun! Crossing the stream bed multiple times, we cool off in the crystal clear water, and have a chance to drink from natural springs that bubble up from underground. Arriving cloaked in a massive grin, you’ll be more than ready for an epic picnic (late) lunch at the riverside, lovingly readied by our driver and cook dream team. Then we load the bikes and transfer back 30 minutes to our hotel. A great day!
- Today’s biking: 28km / 850m Climb / 750m Descent
- Overnight Hotel, Ouirgane
This is a big day! We have breakfast at 07.30 and then drive for 1 hour on a rough dirt road to the remote village of Amislane at 1800m. The 4WD ride is exciting enough in itself! The day starts with a steep double track climb through lush green high mountain scenery, climbing to 2100m and then hitting an incredible downhill singleteack section that takes us from high plains to green gardens and down onto rocky mule tracks above the thriving village of Tizgui. We stop briefly here, before beginning the first part of the day’s big climb- there are some hike a bike sections but in general it’s rideable. We meet with the mules before the climb gets too steep, and walk together for about an hour, up over a pass and down through a rough canyon.
The biking resumes again on a unique stretch of fast, loose, pea gravel with plenty of grip and a wide target- free of the worry and concentration requirement of other trails on the tour. We meet the support car in Assif Zagrawari, and after a good lunch have a short section of relaxing downhill “piste” before the singletrack starts again in earnest! Now comes an 8km descent on well graded, fast and flowing singletrack through the forest high above Ouirgane- the views and the terrain are truly remarkable. Arriving in Tighfist village, the trails don’t let up, and we manage to stay on solid gold trails all the way down to the lake shore at Ouirgane, from where it’s an easy 4km on asphat back to the hotel. What a day!
- Today’s biking: 40km / 1400m Climb / 2400m Descent
- Overnight Hotel, Ouirgane
Our last day’s ride is relatively easier, but offers amazing views over much of what we’ve covered over week’s course- an elevated position atop the Tik Plateau making for incredible photo opportunities and some tremendously fast, and fun terrain. We have a short 20 minute transfer uphill to Moulay Brahim and begin riding on the plateau, cutting across country to join rough dirt road that runs parallel with the edge of the plateau. We follow this into open, sweeping meadows that are awash with flowers after rain, or in the early season. The views over to the Toubkal range are also superb. There is a great descent on rough, wide singletrack with plenty of smooth jumps, fast rolling berms and smiles all round. After a picnic feast in Agdour we continue on dirt road, becoming rough at Tadcherte, where we skirt the valley head. From there we ride around the canyon edge to enjoy awesome views, before heading downhill on a fast descent to Tagenchoute, with some rough, fast switch backs. Our support car waiting at bottom of the descent, and we load the bikes and transfer back to Marrakech.We aim to finish biking by 3pm today, in order to allow plenty of time for sightseeing, shopping and relaxing amidst the wonders of Marrakech. For our last night a special meal and some light festivities may well be in order…
- Today’s biking: 28km / 500m Climb / 1100m Descent
- Overnight Luxury “riad” Hotel, Marrakech
Depending on your flight times there may be opportunities for further explorations of the city, or you may well like to extend your stay here. Please contact us for advice. Tour ends at Marrakech Airport, a short 20 minute drive from the old town centre.
Tour ends here.
GOOD TO KNOW...
To safely enjoy this trip you should be an experienced trail rider and prepared for properly steep cycling on narrow paths with some minor drops, large stones, stream beds and some exposed. Many harder sections can easily be walked, so we don’t wish to discourage careful, adventurous intermediate level riders. “Better safe than sorry” is a valid slogan in this context.
There are no long distances but the days are still quite demanding so you should have a decent physical condition. However, strong riders who spend too long in the pub will also feel at home, and in this context technical skills are more important than being able to ride far and fast.
We recommend using a full suspension trail, all mountain or enduro bike with a decent amount of travel.
For those traveling based on Gothenburg we will have 6 Stumpjumpers or equivalent to lending. (A few different sizes). In addition, we will bring a solid set of spare parts to these. However, you must be prepared to pay the air freight of approximately 500 SEK. It is first come first served, those who book first and want to borrow a bike may have a preference. SCSGBG will help to unpack the bikes, and of course we help to assemble them on site in Morocco.
If you bring your bike from home so you will need at some flights have it packed in a so-called hard case. Remember to bring spare parts specific to your bike such as rear mech hanger, brake pads etc. We divide spare parts and tools between us that we can share. If you rent a bike you can bring your own SPD pedals and shoes, some even prefer to bring their own saddle.
During the tour we will stay in a double room at all hotels on all nights except one night, when we will stay in shared rooms in a simpler hostel dormitory. You can get single rooms at the hotel for an extra fee (not in the hostel). In Marrakech, we stay in a nice riad (small hotels), where breakfast is included but evening meals in Marrakech are not.
You can expect daytime temperatures warmest 20-25 ° C, but normally around 10-20 ° C. We will pass some high passes and so it is important to be prepared for cycling in both warm and chilly weather. Before the trip, you will receive more written information about packing and facts about Morocco.
QUESTIONS AND EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
If you have questions about this trip? Do you want to submit an inquiry or book the trip? Call Jon on +49 17643439064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more in depth info!