Jon and Mat go to Morocco

LATEST UPDATE:03/01/2011 : Happy New Year!! Just added Other Videos page – where I can stick up stuff I like – nothing do with the rest of the blog!! Just  worth watching – well I think so anyway!!

Tafraoute to Merzouga

After meeting up with French Mat last year at an  off-road Pyrenean rally we decided to  go and play in Morocco off-road for a couple of weeks. After a few false starts on my part due to other commitments  and then some severe arm twisting by Mat the trip was at last on!! Well done  Mat!!

So at the end of April  this year we found ourselves and our trusty steeds – me with my XR400 and Mat on his  DRZ400 heading down into the Moroccan wilderness!!

This Blog is about our trip. This was my first trip to Morocco, Mats second ( his first was a road trip) . We’re certainly not hard-core Dakar riders, in fact we cheated, we took the bikes in a van across a large part of the country but we did feel like we were doing the Dakar on one or two occasions!!

We got lost, we had to repair punctures  in the middle of the oThe Dunesf the desert (well just on the edge of the Sahara anyway), we got mobbed by kids, we were  stopped and fined by the police, we had a  few offs ( well I did anyway!!)  we drove through the dunes, rivers, dried out lakes, rock strewn  passes in the atlas mountains, we had mint tea with the locals (shortly after Mat threw up!) , found an abandoned hotel, slept in a Nomad tent, did three days without any beer, found some on the fourth and on the boat out we thought we were going to get set up for the next midnight express movie!!

One thing  is for  sure we did see some fantastic sites, met some interesting people, had a lot of fun and most importantly got back in one piece . And would certainly do it again and probably will do so in the not so distant future.

I hope  my blog makes enjoyable viewing. The narrative isn’t anywhere near finished yet but I will continue it as and when I find time!!

One important thinMerzouga to Zagorag I did learn on this short trip to Morocco is that the trails are becoming tarmac fast ! Bear this in mind – what may have been a trail this year may not be a trail  next year.

The routes we chose are from Chris Scott’s Morocco Overland book which we used to plan this trip and would recommend this book to anyone planning a similar of off-road motorcycle tour or for that matter any off-road tour.

Feel free to post away and any info and developments on the routes would be a great help to all of us planning future trips. I will try to get some maps up here soon of our routes without infringing anyones copyright!! I also have some video clips that I will try to included at some point.

Anyway enjoy and maybe see you in Morocco next year!!


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8 Responses to “Jon and Mat go to Morocco”

  1. Mot de la fin au début: If this was to be done again, I would, with Jon too. We had the same riding skills, although on rocky parts he gets through much better than I do. The bikes went all right. I think a 400 is the right size, because you need lightness to get around, especially in the desert and dunes. So the best compromise in fact. I had the original tank plus a 5 liter jerrycan fitted in the porte baggage, which I used once…I wouldn’t carry around my sleeping bag again which took half of the room in the bag, nor the slim mattress on the mudguard, useless! Unless you decide to sleep in the wild, which is in fact never necessary. As there are people everywhere hidden around, who will host you for a few bucks or for free.
    This is Morocco, stunning, welcoming, wild, but also annoying to get through borders (we were scanned at the port on the way back, my passport given to somebody else) and our van standing alone by the huge boat…thinking we were not going to get in…annoying with the kids running in front of your wheels crossing villages, begging for a pencil..but it all makes you realize how lucky you are to be born white in Europe…never forget that my friend!

  2. well said mat!!

  3. I give some pics to Chris scott, publiched in his last book Moroco Overland

  4. Jon,
    I’m headed to Marrakech in January and want to do some off-road-ing. I would have to rent, and ideally, would like to join a tour. Do you know of, or could you recommend a tour? Thanks. -joe
    BTW – looks like you had an amazing trip.

    • Hi Joek,
      We opted not to go for a tour as we wanted to do our own thing! There are a lot of organised off road trips out there but have had no first hand experience of any. I have heard a lot of good reports about biker homes so this could be worth a call or email -its in Ouarzazate which isnt that far away – its run by a dutch guy and they may be able to point you in the right direction.

      Yes was a great trip !! Hope to do another one soon!!

  5. Hi,
    Have just stumbled onto your blog, and loved it. I am preparing for a trip to Morocco and we are due to leave in five weeks, I have downloaded the olaf maps into mapsoucre but am struggling to make it work – any chance you could either send me your routes or instructions on how you planned yours or both!!! Am also using Chris Scotts book for routes planning to go from Nador – Debdou – Rekkam Plateau – Boudnib – Merzouga – Zagora route MS6, then MS7, MA9 – Taghazote (via Tizi-n-test) – Marakech – Tizi-n-tichka – route of Kas bahas – MH1 – either middle Atlas or Rift mountains. Can you help!


    • Glad you liked the blog. I simply down loaded olaf and it worked straight away in mapsource. I basically used CS’s book and marked all his routes in one particular section on the michelin paper map. Luckily nearly all our routes had been olfafed so navigating was a doddle with only one or two hicups! I assume youve visted the the CS web site and downloaded his way points?

      Maybe the Olaf download has changed – it was this time last year I down loaded it! Sadly I didnt keep traces of all our routes as really there didnt seem much point as all but one day we were on the olaf and CS routes.

      I cant comment on all of of your routes but I would suggest put a post up on “advrider ” to make sure they havent all been tarmac!! That was our biggest problem – some of the CS routes were being tarmaced as we were there!!

      Good luck and Im sure you’ll enjoy it!

  6. Great vids and blogs thanks for all the effort and info, i live in Andalucia and am off to Imichill in Sept. with my xr400 in the back of my vw transporter anyone going to be around??

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