Maroc 2013

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MiGSel, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. MiGSel

    MiGSel GaStronaut

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Belgium
    It had to happen at some point, so 2013 was the year.
    And my 50st birthday was as good an excuse as any so off we went.

    I was not on a GS, but Gies was. Kasper and I were on a KTM950SE.

    The bikes went to Almeria on a truck and we took a cheap flight, Dortmund to Malaga.

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    There we rented a car to go pick up the bikes and then we took the midnight boat to Melilla. We had a cabin and when we woke up, it looked like Africa already. People sleeping on the floor all over the place, men washing their feet in the washbowls for morning prayer, water and dirt all over the lavatories, evidence of some sea sickness... Next time we'll probably take a cabin with toilet.

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    Crossing the border in Melilla took us three hours and then we could get going. After about an hour mister policeman wanted us to pull over. But all he wanted was a chat so that didn't take long.

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    Lunch stop after some tarmac miles.

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    And then we got to the first piste.

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    Piece of cake at first, but then the piste got cut up by numerous small dry river beds and we lost quite a bit of time finding places to cross. It was getting dark quickly and then all of a sudden we were on decent piste again, just in time. The last 20 miles we were in the dark. Luckily I had mounted some extra lights before we left, just in case. Unfortunately we didn't have time to takes pictures at the time.

    The next morning Kasper had caca Maroc. So he decided to stay on tarmac to the next town, while Gies and I took off to the next piste across Plateau du Rekkam.

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    In daylight our hotel looked like this.

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    In the very middle of nowhere we found a little bunker and three soldiers with their 4x4. Of course they treated us to some tea and showed us their luxury accommodation with all mod cons.

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    And on we went...

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    Around noon we picked up Kasper and continued on the next piste, with a pick-nick stop at this abadoned little building.

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    In the evening we had the first tajine of this trip.

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    And then we went to the Auberge du Jaffar to find a bed for the night.

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    There the famous piste "Cirque du Jaffar" was waiting for us.
    #1
  2. MiGSel

    MiGSel GaStronaut

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Belgium
    This is the flat entry to Cirque du Jaffar:

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    Then came the mountain pass. Needless to say: this is much steeper than it looks.

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    Every now and then a little river crosses the trail, but it is mostly in good condition.

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    Sometimes it is a little tricky. The right rut goes along the abyss and the left one along the mountainside. And to make things interesting, the left one is inclined and bumpy while the right one is easy to ride.

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    But these views are the rewards you get.

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    Later we found this auberge. When we pulled over it was all closed, but by the time we had are helmets off, people appeard out of nowhere and the doors opened.

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    At another stop, this little guy came climbing up the mountain. He was carrying a little pickaxe and a torn plastic bag with some sort of carrots he collected. We shard our pick-nick with him and then he asked for a lift to the village. It would have taken him half an hour on foot so Gies gladly took him along for five minutes.

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    After some tarmac miles through a valley with skinny white trees we found a place to stay at Lac Tislit. Five Spanish enduro riders and one lonely Austrian on a 990 Adv were there already.

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    The next day the Austrian Marco joined us for a while through the Gorge du Dades.

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    After another great ride we spent the night in Bikers Home Ouarzazate. View from a roof terrace.

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    While Kasper had some crash damage repaired by the local welder, we took a walk on the local market. An incredible crowd was gathering between piles of worn shoes and clothes, mobile phones, chargers, sheep and goats, oranges and vegetables. It was a pleasant surprise that nobody bothered us, being two pale Belgian tourists between thousands of locals.

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    The next day we took the piste parallel to the main road to Zagora, along the kashba's on the other side of the river.

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    We seemed to have passed the palm tree line.

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    And we passed several ghost towns like this one.

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    In Mohammed's garden we bought some dates. He assured us they were good for all sorts of things :D

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    In the mean while Kasper took tarmac to Zagora, where Ali KTM would have a new foot peg for his bike. When we got there, couscous was ready for everybody.

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    These guys will fix anything.

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    From Zagora we took the road to M'hamid, where the Sahara begins. But that turned into quite an adventure as well, as we ran into a sand storm.

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    After about half an hour it got too dangerous to continue. The road was too narrow and we couldn't see approaching cars popping out of the sand drift in time to move over. So went to look for shelter behind a building and soon we were invited in for tea. The paterfamilias put the kettle on and his sons and the neighbour joined us for tea and some sign language mixed with a few words of french. We enjoyed an hour of genuine hospitality and then the wind had settled a bit so we could push on the M'hamid.

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    Because we were planning on staying two nights, we took some fancier accommodation this time.

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    After a nice meal we went to bed to dream about the next day: the first Sahara sand.
    #2
  3. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    457
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Enjoying your report.

    :thumb

    Thanks,

    JM.
    #3
  4. jaumev

    jaumev Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,618
    Location:
    Barcelona
    I did the Cirque du Jaffar piste few weeks ago: beautiful!!

    Nice pics and report!! :clap
    #4
  5. MiGSel

    MiGSel GaStronaut

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Belgium
    M'hamid, end of the road, this is where the Sahara begins.
    A bit of fuel at the local 'petrol tation'.
    3x 10 litres took about half an hour :D

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    While the local models came to pose on the side walk.

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    After about 100 meters of sand Kasper crashed and that was enough of Sahara for him. He spent the rest of the day in the hotel while Gies and I went to play.

    Because of the sand storms there was a lot of drift sand and according to the locals it was going to be hard to ride and to find the pistes. So we took the easier way and paid a guide to join us with his pick-up. Looking back, we probably would have managed on our own, but Tahar was a very funny guy and it did feel comfortable to have back-up in case things would go wrong.

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    200 kilo's is a lot of bike in the sand, but it did go better than expected after all. We had a lunch stop in a campment. Life can be rough.

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    Dessert was a bit special.

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    Ready for some more.

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    Then we came across this oasis.

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    The sahara shower was quite welcome.

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    The Land Rover that never made it.

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    And the dog found it all very tiring.

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    Tahar thought the KTM was a very big camel.

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    On our way home we found a whole herd of camels.

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    Tired but very satisfied we got back to the hotel and we had a little plan to take Kasper into the Sahara the next day.
    #5
  6. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    750
    Location:
    Classified
    Familiar looking faces here :D I may have a few GoPro photos of you later on

    I also hired a "guide" because of the fresh drifts. I felt the same after.. I most likely would be just fine without but it was also interesting and very worthwhile to have a local along for sure. My guide Mousharraf on a 250cc "Yamasuki" was a bit hard to keep up with in the sand to be honest haha

    My bike is well overdue for a full service and new tires now.. but it hasn't warmed up here much anyways :lol3 Keep it coming :lurk
    #6
  7. MiGSel

    MiGSel GaStronaut

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Belgium
    So the next day we hired Tahar again. He took Kasper's SE in his pick-up, so he didn't have to ride in the sand.

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    And off we went...

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    For lunch we found a lovely oasis.
    The bikes found a nice spot in the the shade of the palm trees.

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    And so did the riders.

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    Here lives the Lord of the Oasis.

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    And this is his stable.

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    We continued through this lunar landscape.

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    Every now and then we waited under a lonesome tree for the pick-up to appear.

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    And then what do you do while waiting...

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    The next stop was a nomad school.

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    The tent on the left was split in two classes.

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    And this is the dorm for kids and teachers.

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    They made us tea and we tried to have a chat with the kids.

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    Then we went to Lac Iriqi for the night. On the dry lake you can go fassst.

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    Here I think the camera man just missed me :D

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    At the camp fire the the nomads sang their songs and passed the date liqueur. A great night under the star-spangled sky.

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    After a brief night in this luxury accommodation we woke up to this.

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    Off we went again and Tahar's friend made use of the SE on the back of the pick-up.

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    Miles and miles from anything we found this family. Father, mother and child, no fuel.

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    And all the time, incredible views!

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    When we made it back to civilisation, in Foum Zguid, Gies and I said goodbye to Kasper. He did not enjoy the pistes and from there he was going to take tarmac roads back to the ferry.

    The two of us continued into the mountains north of Agdiz.

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    Where we spent the night in this auberge.

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    The next morning we continued through the same mountains towards Tinrhir.

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    When we stopped to take a break, this girl popped out of the mountain to sell us some souvenirs. The family of shepherds had their camp on the mountain.

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    On the mountain top was this auberge, ran by a fairly modern lady.

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    More mountains...

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    And the gorge du Todrha.

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    From there we pushed on to El Ksiba, where the bikes could sleep inside.

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    The next day we followed this green valley north.

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    No more pistes here. So I tried to kill tarmac boredom by taking some pictures while riding.

    The most common way of transport:

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    A common home in the mountains:

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    Lots and lots of flowers:

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    Lunch stop in a little village. Fresh meat.

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    On the road again...

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    To our last place to sleep on Moroccon soil: Chefchaouen.

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    Tne next morning, on to the border.

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    And the ferry to Algeciras.

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    Goodbye Africa, we will meet again!
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    60,385
    Fantastic ride, report and pics! Good to see you were able to also help the locals with a lifeline of fuel :thumb Thanks for sharing your ride.
    #8
  9. Twinmike

    Twinmike Grandpa

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Austria
    Thanks for sharing your Ride, great pics :clap
    i will see the same location as you in march this year.
    #9
  10. Dishmonkey

    Dishmonkey SAMA '82

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    East of Ealing
    A really nice report, thanks
    #10
  11. kneeslider

    kneeslider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,275
    Location:
    Southeastern Xenophobia
    Great report. Just the way I remember it.
    #11
  12. jackalsour

    jackalsour Dreamer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    750
    Location:
    Classified
    I followed you guys to Imilchil :thumb Wouldn't mind riding out there again

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    #12