Morocco - part 2

Blog Morocco – part 2. Written on: 18-3-2023

Overzicht dag 131 - 142:

Km's Cycled
Marokko deel 2
Ahermoumou - Tazouta - Camping Amazigh - Lake Sidi Ali - Midelt - Kasbah Jurrasic - Salma Palms - Reve du Desert - Merzouga


We leave our beautiful spot in Ahermoumou late in the morning. We will cycle towards Ifrane in the coming days. The city is known as a winter sports resort and is nicknamed “Little Switzerland”. Nothing about the city is Moroccan, especially not the prices of the frappuccinos. The king has a palace here and that is noticeable by the presence of the military police. For us it’s nice to cycle through the city and treat ourselves to a cold frappuccino, but this is not a place where we feel “at home”.

Fortunately, the area around Ifrane is a place where we feel at home and there are campsites nearby. Because of the pine forests and the mountains it also feels a bit like you are cycling in Switzerland. Although in the Swiss ski resorts they would be surprised to see monkeys playing in the trees. In Ifrane nobody’s suprised by that. 

Other animals

After Ifrane our course changes from west to south. After one more steep climb, during which we reach well above 2km altitude for the first time, we leave the Middle Atlas and cycle towards the Sahara. On the way we stop for lunch and are joined by about 6 drooling street dogs. No matter how sweet they look at us, they won’t get nothing. At least not from us, almost every other car that stops throws something at them. Almost every other car is also gone after a few minutes, we sit there for more than half an hour and they keep wagging in our direction everytime the other cars leave.

Marokko - deel 2

Lake Sidi Ali

Around 15:00 we pass a town where we stop for coffee and think about where we will sleep that night. About 20Km away is a 5-star hotel near a lake. We can treat ourselves once in a while, of course. However, the prices do not lie, according to the man who addresses us while we quickly buy a loaf of bread for the next day. The expensive hotel is 30 or 50 euros per night according to our new friend. Fortunately, there is an acquaintance of his who can arrange a nice price for us. Well, we are not very shocked by 50 euros per night, but for Moroccan standards that is indeed quite expensive.

Sitting on a terrace

When we want to cycle to the lakeside hotel, we are tempted by the wonderfully fragrant of barbecue on the other side of the street. We get off our bikes again and order the kofte that is on the barbecue. The cats and chickens scurry between the tables and the slaughtered sheep are ready to be chopped into fresh kofte. People around us mainly eat goat’s head, might also be tasty, but we keep it at kofte for now. While we are waiting for our food, our new friend cycles by. He parks his bike next to ours and joins us at the table.

It’s the most normal thing in the world to sit down at your table without being asked. Whether it’s because we’re tourists, or because we’re tourists on bicycles, or whether they always do whether you’re a tourist or not, we haven’t figured out yet. But we haven’t managed to sit together on a terrace yet. People join in seconds. Never because they want something from us, except to chat. Usually we don’t mind, but communication is often difficult. Half in Arabic, French, English and with our hands and feet we have a conversation. But we digress.

Marokko - deel 2
Bikepacking Marokko


When we have eaten, the three of us cycle towards the expensive 5-star hotel. After 2Km our companion keeps it foreseen and stops at a gas station for coffee. We still have 18Km uphill and wind to deal with. But in our heads we are already lying in our luxurious room in a wonderful bed and we have had a hot shower. After cycling the last 3Km over gravel, we are told at the reception of the hotel that a room is not 30 but 300 euros per night. We ask again, just to be sure if they don’t mean 300 Dirhams, but no, three hundred euros.

We really allow ourselves some luxury on this trip and every now and then we don’t mind spending a few euros more or less. But for 300 euros, the average Moroccan has to work for almost 2 weeks. We set up our tent on the edge of the lake, 100 meters away from the hotel, under a 5-star sky. And it costs us nothing.


Out of the mountains

The next morning we leave the middle atlas. As much as we have climbed in recent days, so much we descend today. More than 40Km descent and then almost flat towards Midelt. Time to plan another day of rest and for Rob to go to the hairdresser.

At the end of the haircut, the hairdresser also shows off his massage skills, not a bad combination.

After Midelt we continue to descend slowly, the wind continues to blow in our favor and that results in our first 100Km day. However, we don’t really need to cyclethat day, we roll forward automatically. On the way we pass a German girl who’s sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire. We offer our help and spare tire, but she has the situation under control. So we cycle on.

Ziz Valley

If you type Morocco into your favorite search engine, you can quickly read about the Dades Gorge and the Todra Gorge. But no one is talking about the Ziz Valley. And we think that must change. The valley is an elongated oasis that cuts through the Sahara desert. To our left and right, the mountains tower high above us, but we continue to descend very steadily along the river that formed the valley. So far one of the most beautiful places we have visited.

Negative sides of Morocco

On our 100Km day we stop for coffee, as we actually do at least once every day. And that is often very relaxed. When we read up on Morocco, we really only noticed two negative points:

1) dogs;

2) children.

Until now we had (almost) no problems with the dogs and certainly not with children. They often wave cheerfully or look at us with wide eyes when we cycle past. When we ourselves shout “Salam” in our best Arabic, a smile appears on their faces. And that does not only apply to the children. We get countless greetings, thumbs up and waving arms from the adults we meet along the way. We feel welcome in Morocco, the people are extremely friendly and we never felt unsafe for a single moment.

Marokko - deel 2


Until the coffee on the 100Km day. It’s Sunday at 15:00 the Moroccan youth has been bored to death ever since school ended on Friday, we can imagine. We can well imagine that it is fun to play “Bully-the-tourist-on-a-bike”. But what do you do as a tourist on a bike when a child gets bored? It’s hard to punch a boy of about 12 years old because he’s touching your stuff, right? Getting angry doesn’t make any sense either because they’re just laughing at you in your face.

We’ve thought about it for a long time, but we still don’t have a good answer. When we cycle down the road to park our bikes, in no time we are surrounded  by about 7 small boys. All just 3 peats high and they find it interesting to see how far they can go. Not very far fortunately because Mama quickly comes to save us by throwing stones at the group. As quickly as they appeared, they disappear again. They all run in different directions. At least we’re rid of them for a while.

But when we sit on the terrace of the café, a few of those guys crawl towards our bikes. They think we don’t notice them, but we catch them in the act. We finish our coffee and go. Accompanied by the same group of youth who keep asking for “Dirham, Dirham” and tapping our hands and arms and hitting our bags as we slowly cycle away. Fortunately they are not persistent, they abandon their attempt after a few hundred meters.

Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2

Again a flat tire

We are making steady progress towards Merzouga. Which has become our first goal in Morocco. We continue to cycle through the Ziz valley for a while where the Oases appear every few kilometers. We stop for a photo and when we want to continue cycling Rob suddenly finds himself with a flat tire. Number 5 for Rob, Isabelle’s counter is still at 0.

When we have fixed our tube and are almost ready to continue our way, another cyclist stops. It’s that German girl we saw sitting by the side of the road two days ago. Now we are the ones with a flat. Mascha, that’s the name of the German girl we saw sitting next to the road with the flat tire, cycles with us to Merzouga for the last two days.


We had expected a long, grueling journey with few highlights, but the past few days were once again beautiful. In Merzouga we take a “holiday”. We book a camel tour into the desert with an overnight stay in a Nomad camp and then we stay 2 more nights on the edge of the desert in a Kashba where they have a swimming pool.

We like the tour into the desert, we are in the tourist bubble for a while and that gives us the opportunity to have a conversation with people again. We use the following days in Merzouga to swim, recharge all our electronics, plan the route to Marrakech, do our laundry and also relax. These last days in Merzouga we spend a lot of time with Mascha. She will follow approximately the same route as we towards Marrakech. Mascha will leave Merzouga a day earlier, so from now on we will cycle again with just the two of us. Out of the desert, back into the mountains. The high Atlas awaits us.

Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2
Marokko - deel 2

Dit bericht heeft 2 reacties

  1. Thomas & Rosa

    Very nice pictures, very nice description of your journey! Always really a feast reading of you both. All the best from us & a bunch of cats!

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