Cycle to the Sahara Picture 1
Best Time of Year: September to March
Cycle to the Sahara
Imagine a land of snake charmers, fire eaters, camel herders, and desert and mountain nomads. A land where the mountains separate red sand desert from the mighty Sahara. And now imagine yourself riding out across this wonderful land, through bazaars, across mountains, through gorges and to the desert!!! A truly Adventurous Bike Journey - like none you have ever experienced.
The Atlas Mountains in Morocco has it all, in abundance. And best of all, from the UK we can reach Morocco easily – flying directly into Marrakech Airport. From here it’s a few minutes to the Djema El Fna – the main square downtown, where all the fun and games happens, and from Marrakech the Atlas Mountains rise up just a short taxi drive away. So all in all this is a perfect recipe for Adventure. Our bike journey will allow us to explore the high passes of the Atlas, and onwards down through the spectacular earthen Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, to the AntiAtlas Outpost of Ouarzazate. From Ouarzazate we shall follow the desert side of the Mountains, explore the valleys and oases, before heading out into the dunes of Merzouga— the awesome Erg Chebbi!
Day 1 - Fly London to Marrakech—Explore Souks and Bazaars of Old City. Prepare bikes.
Day 2 - Drive to Zerktan at the start of the Tizi N Titchka Pass, Cycle the Pass and then onto the movie town of Ouarzazate. Ride Distance Approx 80 miles, approx 1000 metres climbing to the top of the Tizi N Tichka pass from Zertan.
Day 3 - Bike to Boulmane des Dades—entrance to the spectacular Dades Gorge.Ride Distance Approx 85 miles
Day 4 - Explore Dades Gorge, then continue bike ride to Tinerhir and up to Todra Gorge.Ride Distance Approx 70 miles
Day 5 - Long days cycle from Todra Gorge to Erfoud. Ride Distance 80 - 100 miles - option to use support vehicle if required.
Day 6 - Cycle to Sahara—Merzouga and into Dunes at the edge of the Sahara desert—and the fantastic Erg Chebbi Dune System. Optional Camel Trek into the desert and stay overnight in Bedouin Hotel on edge of desert sand dunes. Today's distance approx 40 miles.
Day 7 - Return Journey to Marrakech—across the wild and barren anti-Atlas—and then up and over the high mountain pass—the Tizi N Titchka
Evening meal in one of Marrakech’s old quarter good restaurants—and possibly time for a glass of wine or two.
Day 8 - Morning Chill Out—then return flight to UK.
In Marrakech and where possible we shall be staying in comfortable traditional style accommodation (Riad type) - whilst out on the road, we shall stay in simple guesthouses along our route.
What is a Level 3.5 Cycling Challenge Like?
These challenge rides are either longer, with more ascent, or span several days. In the case of single day events, you can expect up to 10 hours cycling. In the case of a multi day ride, you can expect lower daily durations - but of course - the effort is sustained over a longer period. You need to be a keen cyclist for these events, and to enjoy training, and to ride regularly. If the ride is outside the EU, it is likely to be easier in terms of the physical riding, however, you will need to be more resilient - due to more basic living conditions (in the case of Asia / Africa especially)
How Fit Do I need to be to join a Level 3.5 ‘Bike Ride’?
You need to have good endurance for these events. You must be used to doing long rides in the countryside - 6 hours + . You should be doing regular exercise - with some serious cycle training. Your typical comfortable cycling speed will be at least 22-24 km/hr, and you should be able to cycle at high speed for up to 1 hour or 25 km. You may also be concentrating on other types of exercise - but for longer periods of time (ie sessions in excess of 1.5 hrs.) - however cycling is the best preparation (obviously!)
Please note, it is extremely important for this physical challenge that you are in good health. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, please consider carefully whether you should be joining the challenge. Please ensure you fill in the booking form accurately and honestly, this is important. In the case of serious conditions (epilepsy, diabetes, heart conditions, recent illness or operations), please discuss the challenge with your GP. Please also ensure you notify us of any allergies or similar. It requires stamina and good aerobic fitness - but good willpower will also come in handy! Failure to disclose medical conditions is a serious omission - that could have serious repercussions on any of our challenges.
Travel insurance is required for all overseas adventures & can be purchased through Ventureguard using the 'About' Section of the website. Travel insurance is not compulsory for UK adventures but it is advised. For further information, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Check out some of the snaps from previous trips on our Grand Tour Cycling Site
Visas / Redtape
When travelling abroad you may require a Visa. Please check the Travcour website (www.travcour.com) for up to date Visa information. Here they can advise you on the best action to take. If you require further information please don't hesitate to contact the Adventure Café.
Included In Trip
Includes—Transfers from Marrakech Airport,
7 nights accommodation.
Leader/Mechanic/First Aid Support.
Return journey from Merzouga.
Support Vehicle throughout bike adventure.
Tented Overnight at the edge of the Sahara.
Water on board support vehicle.
Excluded From Trip
International Airfares - please ask if you require assistance with flights and we should be able to offer well priced flights with good connections. Excludes transfers in UK to airport (Lift Share may be available – expect to share costs on Parking at Airport).
Lunches and dinners.
Road Bike / Hybrid Bike / Mountain Bike (with Touring Tyres) - please call us for guidance on type of bike on a trip by trip basis
Water Bottles (bladder system/cycle water bottles)
Cycling Gloves, Bike Lock, Neck Scarf
Small Rucksack (or small pannier)
Small Holdall (for overnight gear)
Bike rack for rear pannier
Lamps (front and rear, head torch can be worn)
Under Saddle Pouch (recommended - can be used to carry asterik* items)
Duck Tape (small folded piece off the reel)*
Puncture Repair Kit*
Bell or Horn on your bike - Louder the better!
2 x Inner Tubes*
Multi-Tool (with allen keys)*
Spare parts for your bike (spokes, and other specialist parts for your bike)
Oil/Lube Brush (Toothbrush)*
Pump (suitable for your valve type)
Cycle Box / Case / Cardboard Box for Transportation (not the huge rigid boxes on point to point rides please!)
Parcel Tape if required to re-box your bike
Suncream, Plasters, Vaseline
Insect Repellant, Rehydration Salts
Pack Towel (lifesystems recommended), Soap (small bar)
Shampoo (not a full size bottle!)
Medium Weight Fleece, Lightweight Gloves, Fleece Hat
Cycle / Overnight Clothing
Lycra Cycling Shorts, Cotton Shorts
Long Cycling Trousers (Tights/Tracksuit Bottoms)
Cotton T-Shirts for evening
Short Sleeve Cycling T-Shirts (Dryflo type material) or Cycle Top with rear pockets
Long Sleeve T-Shirt - preferably white for hot sunny destinations
Cycling Shoes (approach shoes suitable)
Sandals / Spare Shoes for after ride
1 Set Casual Evening Wear
1 Pair Cotton Trousers
1 Outer Fully Waterproof Jacket (gore-tex, e-vent) - comfortable to cycle in
1 Pair Outer Waterproof Bottoms
Camera, Memory Card
Toilet Roll, Spare Lace
Visa's (if applicable)
Travel Insurance (compulsory)
Wallet, Money Belt, Credit Cards, Cash, Local Currency
Sunglasses, Mobile Phone, Penknife
Snacks for Cycling Days (dried fruits, nuts, flapjacks, cereal bars etc)
Sleeping Bag / Silk Liner (please check this on a trip by trip basis - it may be required)
Specialist Items for Long Haul Trips
Mosquito Nets, Specialist Medication (AntiMalaria)
Water Purification Kit, Immodium, Sewing Kit
Make sure you do not ‘over pack’ - bring only what is essential for the trip
A final kit list will be provided in your ‘Final Joining Instructions’ pre-departure
By nature all activities contain an element of risk.Your leader will be first aid qualified and will carry the appropriate safety kit for the activity, such as mountain safety shelters, and from time to time mobile radios. Safety equipment carried will be appropriate to trip. The leader's primary role is to ensure your safety, but it is your responsibility to listen to their guidance and instructions.
In the high Atlas Mountains the weather and climate are very much influenced by height. The Atlas Mountains here are at their grandest with the highest point rising to 4,163m/13,655ft. Winter snowfall can be heavy and the highest areas are snow-covered well into the summer. Inland at lower levels the summers are very hot, while in winter and spring winds blowing off the mountains can cause some very chilly days. At medium altitudes the climate of Morocco is healthy and very pleasant around the year. Summers are hot but the humidity is quite low, while the winters are generally mild and sunny despite some spells of changeable weather.
Many parts of Morocco see very little rainfall—hence the arid Sahara desert, the extremely dry Atlas and the portion of land between the Atlas and the Atlantic is also very dry.
The North of the country shows some signs of agriculture—but still during the summer this is difficult!
Notes on Cycling Events
This is our standard range of Cycling Challenges in the UK, Europe and further afield. However, we offer completely tailormade itineraries to your specification. Call us to discuss!
Adventure Cafe Booking Terms and Conditions
By booking an event with Adventure Cafe, you agree to these standard terms of booking. Please ensure that you read the appropriate document for your type of event carefully.
Adventure Cafe Terms & Conditions
- For all types of event