Atlas To Sahara Grand Tour

12 Days | 8 Days Road Bike From 990.00 €
Level: Sportive

Activity : Road Bike tour cycling across the High Atlas, Anti Atlas, Atlas Maritime and Atlantic Coast

Assistance : Guided & full support

Period : January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Book this Tour

Activity : Road Bike tour cycling across the High Atlas, Anti Atlas, Atlas Maritime and Atlantic Coast

Assistance : Guided & full support

Level : Sportive

Period : January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Book this Tour

A trip of a lifetime with monumental scenery and breathtaking roads.The Atlas Mountains to Sahara twelve-day Tour  of more than 600kms stunning ride through the interior of Morocco that will take you from the 2268 metre Tichna Pass (the highest in North Africa), down to the Anti-Atlas range and the edge of the mighty Sahara desert. From there you'll head back north through the mountains of the Central High Atlas  land of roses and great canyons.

Highlights of this Tour
• Ancient city of Marrakech with its intriguing souks and palaces
• The superb landscapes of the southern side of the Atlas Mountains
• Authentic scenes of Berber village & Kasbah
• The Draa Valley
• Great riding on quite secondary roads 
• The spectacular views of the Djebel Saghro 
• Merzouga Dunes
• The Dades Valley & Canyons

Day 1

Marrakech

Welcome by your guide at Marrakesh Menara Airport  and short transfer to your hotel in town. Overnight on bed and breakfast basis at 3* hotel. (Meals: B)

Day 2

Ait Benhaddou

The first day day of the tour begins when the support vehicles will take us and our bikes south to the Atlas Mountains, a two-hour drive on the road that links Marrakesh to the city of Ouarzazate. The route is scenic and will take us deep into the High Atlas to reach our starting point at 2200 m high. After preparing the bikes, the tour begins climbing gently via the Tichka Pass, one of Morocco's highest roads culminating at 2268m. After a short photo stop, we will enjoy a first winding descent towards Telouet where there is a famous Kasbah of the same name -but also called the Palace of Glaoui after the family who originally owned it. After the visit, we'll have lunch, and then we will ride through the superb Ounila Valley with heavily cultivated green terraces and beautiful ochre Kasbahs. Linking superb villages, the road is undulating with some short steep uphill sections  and amazing switchbacks before it continues down to the small town of Ait Benhaddou where we'll stay overnight in a nice Riad. (Meals: B, L, D)

Transfer by road: 95km / biking distance: 72km / Altitude gain, loss: +1100m, -1850m / Max Altitude: 2268m, Min Altitude: 1270 / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲

Day 3

Agdz

After visiting the amazing Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou which is classified as a World Heritage Site by the Unesco, we'll drive towards the outskirts of the city of Ouarzazate where we will start our next stage near Kasbah Tifoultout. The ride beginso n a quiet road that skirts along the western edge of the Jebel Sahro Range. The road here has a good surface with some long straight sections - so we can up the tempo here if you wish. The first climb takes us up to Tizi n Ouado pass (1550m) - you'll need the small ring here - before we descend to the village of Ait Saoun. From Ait Saoun we climb again to the highest point of the day, the “Tizi n'Tinififft” (1660m). On top of the pass you will have amazing vistas of the snow-covered Atlas mountains and stunning views of deep canyons. The next part is a pure joy, riding a long descent into the town of Agdz (942m) with the tajine-shaped Jebel Kissane in the background. Agdz, a classic caravanserai oasis with a still-pristine palmeraie, is located on the old camel caravan route between Marrakech, Timbuktu (which means 'resting place') and the legendary Draa Valley. At the end of the day, we'll   along the left bank to the stage end near Kasbah Tamnougalt where we stay in a nice hotel with a swimming pool. (Meals: B, L, D)

Transfer by road: 95km / Cycling distance: 82km / Altitude gain, loss: +1380m, -1050m / Max Altitude: 1660m, Min Altitude: 825m  / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲

Day 4

Zagora

After breakfast,  we will cycle  the upper Draa Valley on a recently paved backroad. We will discover stunning palm groves, luxurious terraces and superb Kasbahs sitting aside a narrow river which descends from the High Atlas mountains. Actually, we will be cycling a long portion of the mythic caravan trade route. This route has a rich history from the time when merchants, laden with salt to exchange for gold and slaves, would travel south to Timbuktu, Niger and Old Sudan linking sub-Sahara with North Morocco and Europe. Our ride will be punctuated by  authentic villages with a diverse ethnic blend of Berbers, Arabs and black Africans. The stage ends in the town of Zagora, overnight in a small hotel nesting in the palm grove. (Meals: B, L, D)

Biking distance: 98 km / Altitude gain, loss: +500m, -680m / Max Altitude: 950m, Min Altitude: 950m / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲

Day 5

Desert

At the start of Day 5, we leave the Draa Valley behind us and head east up to the Tizi N'Tafilalt (another historic caravan route linking the two biggest palmeraie of Morocco the Draa & Tafilalt. The road we cycle crosses a stone desert plateau with heavily eroded Mountains either side and a flattish section after the village of Tisserdmine. There we meet 4x4 trucks, say goodbye to our bikes for a while, and start out for a new adventure in the desert land of the Ait Atta Tribes. The 4x4 journey takes us through dry sandy wadis and across vast plateaus deep into the Sahara Desert. By the end of the day, we will reach a small desert village where we spend the night in nice Riad. (Meals: B, L, D)

Biking distance: 80km / Altitude gain, loss: +340m, -250m / Max Altitude: 950m, Min Altitude: 700m / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲/ Road Transfer: 50 km 

Day 6

Merzouga

On Day 6 we'll get to see some of the best landscapes the Moroccan desert has to offer. Travelling on foot, we will hike up a sandy crest to enjoy unforgettable Saharan views. Using the 4x4 trucks, we will cross dry river beds, palm oases, dunes and vast plateaus to reach Atrouss where we will meet up with our minibus and bikes once more for a short ride to reach Merzouga. We'll stay overnight in a pleasant auberge next to the sand dunes.
If you've not heard of them before, the Merzouga Dunes are one of the 'must see' destinations in Morocco. An option camel rides across the dunes to watch sunset and sunrise that you simply won't see anywhere else in the world. (Meals: B, L, D)

Travel distance: 100km / biking distance 22 km / Altitude gain, loss: +100m, -30m / Max Altitude: 870, Min Altitude: 670m / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲

Day 7

Erfoud

We'll start the days' ride crossing the desert plateaus towards Rissani - perfect echelon country if the breeze picks up. The ride is a gentle climb for the whole 65km, but you'll barely notice it. When we reach the first village "Ksar", you'll be aware of the striking contrast between the arid desert lands and the luxurious palm groves of the Tafilat Valley, in the nearby palm groves, you'll see a variety of crops from turnips, broad beans - and some of the finest dates in Morroco!
In Rissani we will spend some time visiting the traditional Souk. Rissani is an important town where nomads and villagers of the Kasbahs come to buy and sell necessary wares. The town and the surrounding Talilat Valley is also the seat of the current Morrocan Royal Family, the Alaouite Dynasty.
 After lunch, where you'll taste the "Medfouna", a typical dish from the area, we will continue cycling to the north towards Erfoud where we'll stop for the day, overnight in a nice Kasbah lodge. (Meals: B, L, D)

Biking distance: 62km / Altitude gain, loss: +560m, -440m / Max Altitude: 820m, Min Altitude: 680m / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲ 

Day 8

Dades Valley

Today we will ride north-west from Erfoud via Eljorf and Ksar Touroug to Tinjdad. Along the route between Erfoud and Tinjdad, we'll pass hundreds of Khettara's which are part of a 300 km network of subsurface irrigation channels excavated in the late 14th century. After riding past the town of Eljorf, you'll see large mounds of dried earth - some with pulleys on top - which acted as public wells for the irrigation of crops. We will ride the red clay high plateaus dividing the High Atlas Mountains and the norther slopes of the Djebel Saghro. When we reach Tinjdad, we transfer by minibus to Boumalen Dades where we stay the night in a nice lodge. (Meals: B, L, D)

Biking distance: 87km / Altitude gain, loss: +570m, -380m / Max Altitude: 1000m, Min Altitude: 800m  /Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲ Road Transfer: 100 

Day 9

Dades Gorges

Today' spectacular ride takes us along the Dades Valley which also known for as "Rose Valley". We will follow the Dades upstream with dramatic views of crumbling adobe villages and kasbahs nestled into the red rock landscape at every turn and superb rock formations sculpted into red sandstone. Beside roses, we grow a variety of fruits in the verdant terraces  as peach,  apricots, almond trees in gorgeous white full bloom in February. When we pass the last village and lodges in the bottom of the valley,  we will climb an amazing set of a half dozen switchbacks to quickly gain some height. Actually, this climb is the exception to the overall modest grades following the Dades river. Beyond "Tissedrine" switchbacks we will climb up to have more dramatic views overlooking the canyons. Few km ahead, the road disappears into the depths of the cliffs marking the narrowest point in the entire Dades Gorges where the road ran side-by-side with the river. From this point we will ride back down the same road and enjoy the afternoon superb lights and photo stops. Overnight to the Boumalen in the same hotel. (Meals: B, L, D)

 Biking distance: 85km / Altitude gain, loss: +1160m, -1160m / Max Altitude: 1820m, Min Altitude: 1540 / Physical difficulty: ▲▲▲▲▲  

Day 10

Back to Marrakech

After an early breakfast, we will drive back to Marrakech via Ouarzazate and the Tizi Tichka Pass. We will reach Marrakech in early afternoon which will mark the end of our epic cycling adventure in Morocco. Overnight in a Riad in the Medina on BB basis.  (Meals: B, L)

Transfer by road: 320km

Day 11

Marrakech

A free day to explore One of Morocco’s most magnetic tourist destinations, Marrakech is brimming with beautiful sights and fantastic attractions: the souks, Museums and Gardens... Overnight in a Riad in the Medina on BB basis.

Day 12

Marrakech Airport

Depend on your flight timing, a transfer is arranged to Marrakech Airport for your return flight. (Meals: B)

Trip dates & Prices

Shared group departed

Go private

Dates Price Status
03 Oct to 14 Oct 2018 990.00 € Full Book this Tour Book
13 Oct to 24 Oct 2018 1140.00 € Open Book this Tour Book
24 Oct to 04 Nov 2018 1140.00 € Open Book this Tour Book
03 Nov to 14 Nov 2018 1140.00 € Open Book this Tour Book
14 Nov to 25 Nov 2018 990.00 € Garanteed Book this Tour Book
26 Dec to 06 Jan 2019 1220.00 € Open Book this Tour Book
13 Feb to 24 Feb 2019 990.00 € Open Book this Tour Book
23 Feb to 06 Mar 2019 990.00 € Open Book this Tour Book

Good to know

This tour is available for private as for shared groups, the tour can start with 4 participants. We can offer a personalized program for bigger groups or cyclistss who wish a more challanging ride or any specific requests.

The Area

This tour takes place in the Central High Atlas, cross the Anti-Atlas, Draa Valley and the Sahara Desert. The altitude is between 680 m and 2268m high.

Your Guide

A Moroccan english speaking cycling guide who will meet you at your arrival at the airport, he will be with you the whole cycling trip. Before the  bike stages, he will give you a briefing about safety and the use of your bike. All along the day, he will give you explanations about the traversed area and the way of life of the local population. He can also assit you in case of injury or mechanic issues on your bike.

Your Bike

For this tour, we recommand a full carbon road bike, or an aluminium road bike with carbon fork in perfect working condition - Cassette: 11-32 - Tires 700/25c or even 700/28c ! Wearing a helmet while riding is obligatory. You can hire a rode bike or an e-bike on spot.

The food

You won't have to worry on food or drink, we take care of everything. Mineral water will be supplied all day with a mix of dry fruits to refuel. All meals are included Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Lodging

On this tour, you will be staying in a mix off accommodation: Hotel / Riad in Marrakech, Kasbahs and guest houses in the High and Anti Atlas.

Assistance

You will have a full back up during this mountain bike tour. A minibus vehicle, with a bike rack, will be following behind at a reasonable distance in case of emergency or tiredness.

Non cyclists

Are you a family, your spouse, your husband doesn’t cycle? Non cyclists are welcome on this tour, they can stay with assistnce car and a guide who will organize short rambles, sightsee and meet with the group at the end of the day.