Gravel
Morocco

Gravel Morocco

An epic journey to a different world, from the Atlas mountains to the Saharan sand-dunes

Embark on an exotic adventure with a guaranteed epic journey across the mountains and desert plains of Morocco.

Overview

Details

Next Departure

March 9th 2024

From

USD $4,895

Duration

8 days / 7 nights

Non-Rider Friendly

Yes

Rental Bike

From USD $550

Ride Program

Total Distance

Total Elevation

Daily Av. Distance

Daily Av. Elevation

Overview

We’ve joined forces with Moroccan adventure travel experts, Grup Xaluca, based in Barcelona and Marrakech, to present this gravel adventure in Morocco. Benefit from Xaluca’s local expertise, robust support, and access to luxury Moroccan hotels. Combined with the gravel riding proficiency of our Gravel Project Manager, Marc Gasch, we offer a one-of-a-kind trip to this exotic country.

Commencing in the enchanting city of Marrakech, the journey unfolds in the Atlas Mountains near Dades, traverses the Saghro mountain plateau, and reaches the Saharan desert plains in Arfoud. Ride to the breathtaking Erg Chebbi sand dunes, experience luxury under the desert stars in Xaluca’s provided bivouac campsite, and journey north along the Kasbah route, concluding the ride near the renowned market town of Rissani.  Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

Trip Technical Difficulty

1
2
3
Technical, advanced gravel, where classic gravel and paved roads will be combined with some rocky fast descents, technical steep climbs and random mountain challenges.

Ride Surfaces

Grade 1
25%
Grade 2
20%
Grade 3
20%
Grade 4
20%
Grade 5
15%

Bike Setup Recommendations

Recommended Tires

700x42

Morocco is tough on tires (and body). We recommend 700×42’s, or even a 650b wheel-set with 2.0 upwards mixed tyre (even a MTB tire, bring the widest you can fit in your frame for best comfort and absorption) The terrain is dry and loose so tubeless is also critical to avoid flats and for a more comfortable ride.

 

Recommended Gearing

38T x 10-42

We recommend a minimum gear ratio of 0.95 using a 38T chainring × 42 rear cog (or equivalent). Check your gear ratios at www.bikecalc.com/gear_ratios.


Gravel Explained

Read below for a brief description of our gravel definitions. We have classed the surfaces into five categories, from tarmac to boulders, to give an indication of the amount and level of rough stuff on each trip.

Click below to see Cycling Tips’ great explainer video on gravel surfaces.
GRADE 1
Bad roads, cobbles and rough paved surfaces. You’d find this rideable on a standard road bike.
GRADE 2
Well-made, hard-packed dirt roads offering a road-like experience but without the traffic. Some rutting and looseness of stones.
GRADE 3
Reasonably smooth gravel. Discernible small rocks over a hard-packed surface.
GRADE 4
Rough gravel with conditions that may include shale, larger gravel and rocks. Tubeless tyres and big clearance are the most practical choice.
GRADE 5
Borderline MTB terrain, at the rougher end of the spectrum for the capabilities of most gravel bikes.

star star star star star
Gravel Morocco
It's certainly a big challenge to organize a trip through the remote and versatile landscapes of Morocco, but the guys from Thomson did an amazing ...

Marcel Hendriks, Belgium — 2022

star star star star star
Gravel Morocco
Morocco was an unforgettable trip. a great adventure. we are spoiled from start to finish. fun rides. beautiful views and a top team. It is ...

Stig Engelen, Belgium — 2022

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Cycling helmet, sunglasses and shoes illustration

Itinerary

Day Description Distance Elevation Hotel
01 Welcome to Marrakech Kenzi Marrakech
02 Transfer and warm up ride in Boulmane du Dades Hotel Xaluca Dades
03 The Big Dades Loop Hotel Xaluca Dades
04 Crossing the Saghro Range to Nkob Kasbah Imdoukal
05 Sahgro and Iknioeun Xaluca Luxury Bivouac
06 Towards the Erg Chebbi dunes Kasbah Hotel & SPA Xaluca Arfoud
07 The Kasbah's road Kasbah Hotel & SPA Xaluca Arfoud
08 Salam Alaikum!
Daily Averages
Itinerary View Itinerary View
Map View Map View
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08

Itinerary Detail

Day 1

Distance

Elevation


Welcome to Marrakech

We’ve extended the trip by an extra day to kick off with an exploration of the enchanting city of Marrakech. Upon your airport arrival, our staff will be there to greet you before a private transfer to your Marrakech hotel. Following check-in, we’ll host a brief orientation meeting, where we’ll go over the week’s itinerary. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet your fellow adventurers and the Thomson crew. Our skilled mechanics will be available to assist you in preparing the bikes for tomorrow’s inaugural ride.

As evening falls, embark on a captivating stroll through the medina (old town) and its maze of alleyways housing the city’s souks. The journey culminates in the renowned Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech’s main square. Here, dine at one of the city’s top restaurants with a captivating view of the square, where snake charmers, musicians, storytellers, and street-food vendors converge, creating a unique spectacle. It’s the perfect start to an incredible adventure.

Day 2

Distance

Elevation


Transfer and warm up ride in Boulmane du Dades

Following a picturesque morning transfer from Marrakech, including a drive over the renowned Tizi n’Tichka pass—Africa’s highest—you’ll indulge in a quick lunch at the Dades Xaluca Hotel. Post-lunch, get ready for  a beautiful warm-up ride, offering your initial encounter with the Moroccan terrain.

Your inaugural journey is mostly flat, a mix of asphalt and off-road trails. Departing from Boulmane du Dades, the route meanders through the Moroccan countryside, passing by typical small villages and farms before circling back to the hotel. As evening descends, enjoy a tasty Moroccan dinner and unwind on the hotel terrace, where you can witness the desert sunset—a perfect end to the day’s adventures.

Day 3

Distance

Elevation


The Big Dades Loop

After yesterday’s “appetizer” loop, today’s ride takes a more serious turn with a magnificent 55km loop that both starts and concludes at the hotel in Dades. Venture into the foothills of the Atlas mountains, tackling several climbs that approach the 2,000m mark. Past the small town of Boutaghrar, cross the M’Goun river into a remote mountain desert landscape. Eventually, ride through the breathtaking “Gorges du Dades,” a series of rugged gorges that should not be missed. Cap off the day with another night at the fabulous Dades hotel, where you can unwind in the jacuzzi-spa before indulging in another delightful Moroccan dinner.

Day 4

Distance

Elevation


Crossing the Saghro Range to Nkob

Today marks your departure from the Dades Valley, venturing into the Saghro, a desert mountain range situated beyond the Atlas Mountains and serving as the gateway to the Sahara Desert. Departing from Boulmane du Dades, you’ll traverse an astonishing mountain plateau featuring beautiful valleys, dry riverbeds, and remote villages. Expect local children to run alongside, seeking candy or pens. After covering about 85km, you’ll reach the small village of Nkob, where a traditional Kasbah-style hotel awaits.

Day 5

Distance

Elevation


Sahgro and Iknioeun

Bid farewell to Nkob as you embark on a journey across the flats, gazing at the mountains looming in the distance. This leg, often referred to as the Queen Stage, features beautiful yet challenging climbs and stunning views of the Sahghro range. Heading north via Imi n’Sit, you’ll traverse some of the most remote valleys in the area.

The ride concludes in the tranquil village of Ikniouen, where our vehicles will transport you to the remarkable Xaluca Hotel in Arfoud, situated at the gateway to the Sahara Desert.

Day 6

Distance

Elevation


Towards the Erg Chebbi dunes

Today’s ride promises an amazing experience as you venture towards the renowned Erg Chebbi sand dunes from Arfoud. Prepare for amazing photo opportunities throughout the day, so ensure your phone/camera is fully charged before setting out.

As evening falls, immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience by sleeping under the desert stars in luxury bivouacs. For those seeking an extra adventure, indulge in a sunset dromedary ride, courtesy of the Xaluca bivouac hosts.

Day 7

Distance

Elevation


The Kasbah's road

Today marks your departure from the colossal sand dunes as you journey north to the town of Rissani, renowned for its vibrant farmers’ market. Transport yourself 500 years into the past as local farmers on donkeys arrive, offering vegetables and spices to the tiny shops in the town center—a truly unique experience!

Conclude the day at the same hotel in Arfoud where the dunes adventure began. Take some time to unwind at the spa and enjoy a splendid dinner, putting the finishing touches on this fantastic Moroccan adventure.

Day 8

Distance

Elevation


Salam Alaikum!

Unfortunately your journey through Morocco has come to an end.

You can choose from 2 different Drop-off options:

Option 1: Drop off in Fes

Private transfer in our support vehicles to your hotel in Fes

Journey time from our final hotel in Arfoud to Fes is approximately 6 hours so expect to arrive in Fes mid-afternoon

Option 2: Drop off at Er-Rachidia Airport

Private transfer in our support vehicles to the airport in Er-Rachidia

Journey time from our final hotel in Arfoud to Er-Rachidia Airport is 1 hour

Important:

  • there is 1 flight from Er-Rachidia to Casablanca. The fight departs from Er-Rachidia at 7:30am, our shuttle will drop-you off at the airport at 6:00am
  • if you prefer this option, you’ll need to book your flight from Er-Rachidia to Casablanca
  • bike boxes are not permitted on the plane, so if you choose this option you will need to use one of our rental bikes
  • please inform our Customer Service staff if you prefer this option

Map & Profile

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
0%
Grade 2
0%
Grade 3
0%
Grade 4
0%
Grade 5
0%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
20%
Grade 2
20%
Grade 3
20%
Grade 4
20%
Grade 5
20%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
15%
Grade 2
5%
Grade 3
30%
Grade 4
25%
Grade 5
25%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
0%
Grade 2
25%
Grade 3
25%
Grade 4
15%
Grade 5
15%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
15%
Grade 2
20%
Grade 3
25%
Grade 4
20%
Grade 5
20%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
15%
Grade 2
15%
Grade 3
0%
Grade 4
20%
Grade 5
25%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
15%
Grade 2
20%
Grade 3
25%
Grade 4
20%
Grade 5
20%

Read our Gravel Explainer for a full description of our gravel definitions.

Grade 1
0%
Grade 2
0%
Grade 3
0%
Grade 4
0%
Grade 5
0%

Surface Details

Day 02
Day 03
Day 04
Day 05
Day 06
Day 07

Dates & Prices Illustration

Dates & Prices



Date Booking Status Availability Price / Per Person Single Supplement Non-rider Discount
2024
Mar 9 - 16
Taking Bookings
Places Available
USD $4,895
USD $850
USD $920
Book this trip
Nov 9 - 16
Taking Bookings
Places Available
USD $4,895
USD $850
USD $920
Book this trip
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Waiting List


Sign up to the waiting list for this departure, to be notified if a space becomes available. Please fill out the information below:



    Trip Hotels

    Kenzi Marrakech

    Hotel Xaluca Dades

    Kasbah Imdoukal

    Xaluca Luxury Bivouac

    Kasbah Hotel & SPA Xaluca Arfoud


    What's Included

    What's Included What's Not Included
      Accommodations & Meals arrow
    • 8 days / 7 nights fully accompanied trip
    • All accommodations
    • All breakfasts
    • All dinners
    • Transportation arrow
    • Pick-up at Marrakech Airport
    • Drop-Off at Fes Airport
    • All transportation during the trip
    • All luggage & bike box transfers
    • Cycling Support arrow
    • 1 x Ride Leader for every 8 guests (approx.)
    • 1 x 4WD support vehicle for every 5 guests
    • Experienced bike mechanic
    • Park Tools Toolkit
    • Daily ride gpx files provided
    • Nutrition during the ride arrow
    • Energy bars, gels and sports drink
    • Variety of snacks and local specialties
    • Bottled water
    • Airfare
    • Travel and personal insurance
    • Additional hotel expenses i.e. phone charges, mini-bar, gratuities
    • Staff gratuities
    What's Included
      Accommodations & Meals arrow
    • 8 days / 7 nights fully accompanied trip
    • All accommodations
    • All breakfasts
    • All dinners
    • Transportation arrow
    • Pick-up at Marrakech Airport
    • Drop-Off at Fes Airport
    • All transportation during the trip
    • All luggage & bike box transfers
    • Cycling Support arrow
    • 1 x Ride Leader for every 8 guests (approx.)
    • 1 x 4WD support vehicle for every 5 guests
    • Experienced bike mechanic
    • Park Tools Toolkit
    • Daily ride gpx files provided
    • Nutrition during the ride arrow
    • Energy bars, gels and sports drink
    • Variety of snacks and local specialties
    • Bottled water
    What's Not Included
    • Airfare
    • Travel and personal insurance
    • Additional hotel expenses i.e. phone charges, mini-bar, gratuities
    • Staff gratuities

    Travel details - airport departures

    Pick-up/Drop-off Info

    Arrival

    Pickup Location Time

    Marrakech Airport

    Anytime

    Departure

    Drop Off Location Time

    Fes

    4:00pm

    OR

    Er-Rachidia Airport (check Day 8 Itinerary for full details)

    6:00am


    Rental Bikes

    Felt Breed 20

    Frame

    Felt Breed 20

    Groupset

    SRAM Force 1

    Weight

    9.35kg (size 54)

    Wheels

    Devox Wheels RDS.A0 GXA | 30/21

    Chainrings

    36 or 38 (depending on trip)

    Cassette

    11-42

    Sizes

    47, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61

    USD $550

    View Details

    3T Exploro Boost e-bike

    Frame

    3T Exploro Ultra Boost Carbon

    Groupset

    Sram Rival AXS XPLR Electronic

    Weight

    12.8kg

    Wheels

    Rodi alloy 700c

    Chainrings

    40

    Cassette

    12-speed 10-44t

    Sizes

    XXS, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61

    USD $750

    View Details


    Gravel Morocco

    From the Atlas mountains near Marrakech to the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Sahara Desert, this is a trip for adventure-lovers