Following the ancient Berber trail on our mountain bike tour Morocco
On our mountain bike tour Morocco you’ll ride through the heart of the dry and rugged Atlas mountains, following the ancient paths walked by generations of Berber traders. Climbing and traversing high mountain passes, descending sparse singletrack to lush valley floors…each day punctuated by mint tea and a friendly ‘Bonjour!’ from locals as we pass.
As the snow was receding from a long hard winter in the Atlas mountains, our photographer Ross Bell had the challenge of capturing the colourful landscapes, glorious trails, and tremendous food and culture of our latest mtb adventure in Morocco…
Starting in the technicolour spectacle of the souks in Marrakech, you’ll ride south over the front face of the Atlas mountains, and into the heart of the range. From the burnt orange of the desert, to lush green valleys, to blond mountain villages.
During our time in the Atlas mountains of Morocco, we’ll ride a point-to-point route on centuries-old Berber trade paths that criss-cross this landscape. Walked in by generations of nomads and their mules, these trails are now impeccable singletrack for mountain bikers. We’ll also employ the services of local traders and mules to move our bikes to the highest point of our tour at 3,600 metres.
With all meals, transport, accommodation and guiding included, you only need money for present buying in the souks…But remember to haggle!
Tour dates 2019
tour dates 2020
- 18 – 25 May (TRIP FULL!)
- 1 – 8 June (1 PLACE)
- 7 – 14 September (6 PLACES)
- 26 Oct – 2 Nov (TRIP FULL!)
- 6 – 13 May
- 1 – 8 June
- 1 – 8 September
- 22 – 29 October
Contact us if you would like to create your own private group tour.
This mountain bike tour Morocco is a must-do for adventurous mountain bikers, combining breathtaking, ever-changing landscapes and vibrant culture. Here are some special moments you can look forward to in Morocco:
- Staying in a variety of traditional accommodation
- Descending over 3,000m from high mountain passes
- Soaring high over the countryside in a hot air balloon
- Stopping for mid-ride mint tea with your local Berber team
- Discovering the colours, sounds and smells of the souks in Marrakech
Join us on The Berber Trail
Mountain bike tour Morocco Itinerary
This point-to-point mountain bike tour Morocco will take you across the Atlas mountains, over high arid mountain passes and into lush green valleys, immersing you in centuries-old culture and tradition as you go. You’ll be riding at over 2,000m / 6,500ft a lot of the time, so be prepared to pace yourself as you acclimatise to the altitude and surroundings. There is also considerable exposure on some trails.
- +Arrival in Marrakech - refresh + prepare for your adventure
We recommend arriving in Marrakech a day or two early to allow your body to adjust to local time and to make sure any flight or luggage delays don’t spoil your trip. It will also allow us to make an early start on day 1 to make the most of your mountain bike tour in Morocco.
- +Day 1 - Welcome to Morocco! Explore Marrakech and the markets
Your guide will meet you all at the H+I recommended hotel in Marrakech (Riad Africa) in the morning, then over some mint tea will go through the all-important pre-trip briefing. He will set the tone of the week ahead, explain the trails to come and answer any questions that you may have.
After your briefing you’ll build your bikes or set up rental bikes, before hitting the town for a tour around the world famous Jemaa El-Fnaa square, Palais Bahia, into the souks, and enjoy your welcome dinner in one of your guides’ favourite places hidden in the alleyways of Marrakech.
Accommodation: Small riad, Marrakech
Meals included: L, D
- +Day 2 - Marrakech - Imlil
We have a very early start this morning (05:30), in order to drive one hour from Marrakech, into the countryside to a very special spot. This is the lift-off site for our sunrise hot air balloon ride!
The flight will lift us over the beautiful landscapes and villages surrounding Marrakech, and you’ll watch the sun rise over the High Atlas Mountains. After an hour or so enjoying the tranquility of being in the air, we’ll head back to our Riad for a proper breakfast.
Once fed and watered we’ll leave Marrakech and drive into the foothills of the Atlas, to the village of Imlil. From here, we’ll start our first ride on Moroccan soil, tackling a three-hour loop from the village.
This is a great introduction to the type of riding you’ll experience this week, with a mixture of ‘off-road’ (dirt road) and singletrack trails, a little bit of pushing the bike at times, and narrow trail with a bit of exposure.
Along the way we’ll stop at your guide’s home village to share mint tea with his family.
We’ll arrive back at your small hotel in Imlil, get washed up and then enjoy dinner over-looking the mountains.
Distance cycled: 2okm (app. 3 hours)
Accommodation: Mountain hotel in Imlil
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 3 - Imlil - Ouirgane
As you awake from your first night’s sleep in the High Atlas mountains, you will be presented with the typical breakfast of breads, pancakes, fruit, eggs, plenty of mint tea and spreads. With appetites satisfied we’ll be ready for today’s challenge: tackling the pass of Tizi Mezzik (2280m).
We’ll leave our accommodation behind and warm up our legs up with a road climb to the start of the singletrack. The start of the trail is steep, loose and rocky, and with altitude in the mix, it’s more efficient to load our bikes onto the backs of mules and climb this part on foot.
After 20 minutes or so, the trail flattens out and we can ride for a few kilometres before the real climbing begins. Here we have approximately two hours of hiking up the steep incline to the top of the pass.
Cat’s tip: If you’re riding SPDs it would be worth carrying a light pair of walking shoes, it’ll make the hike more comfortable.
On top of the pass we’ll stop to soak up the immense views surrounding us, before we put on knee pads and straddle our bikes for the descent. There is only a pencil-thin line of singletrack that slices its way across the hillside, before peeling down the valley through villages that appear to be stuck to the side of the mountains whilst we weave from one side of the river to the other.
We’ll stop for lunch in a small village, where your chef will have prepared a fantastic spread of salad, bread, pasta, tagine and fruit, to re-fuel for the rest of your ride.
We’ll climb on road for a while, then pick up a piece of singletrack that drops us into jungle-type trail along a river, then red rolling trails to our little bit of heaven for the night in the High Atlas.
This is a challenging day, riding loose, narrow trails, with exposure on the right-hand-side, and some sections that you need to walk and push. However, the rewards are immense, with lots of diverse singletrack, spectacular landscapes and village riding.
Distance cycled: 30km (app. 7 hours)
Accommodation: Small hotel Ouirgane
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 4 - Ouirgane - Amizmiz
Today from the lush green valley of Ouirgane, to the narrow gorge at Oshefilen and onto the plains around Amizmiz, we ride a relatively easy climbing day, skirting the shoulder of this corner of the High Atlas mountains.
After a short warm up trail that has you riding though a Mars-like landscape, with natural pumptrack and endless trail options, we cross the largest dam in Morocco to access yet another incredible ribbon of singletrack to the spectacular gorge of Oued Nfis.
The trail gets steep and rocky in places and you will have to push your bike at certain points, but there’s a great descent taking you to your beautiful riverside lunch spot.
After lunch the scenery will take your breath away, with wild flowers, poppies and the ever-changing colours of the earth a constant as you ride some of the finest singletrack imaginable. The last 10km of trail is flanked by dry stone walls and small, subsistence farms en-route to your guest house just outside Amizmiz (1,005m).
Distance cycled: 30km (app. 4 hours)
Accommodation: Small Riad near Amizmiz
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 5 - Amizmiz - Inirt
Breakfast at our guest house will set you up nicely for a morning of weaving between villages, poppy fields and impressive mud structures sculpted by years of rain and wind.
This is a more chilled day, with lots of time for photo stops and plenty of rolling descents in the morning.
Then we’ll step things up a bit with a 45-minute road climb to our lunch stop, where the team has prepared yet another tasty feast, with goats ambling and munching shrubs in the background.
We may indulge in a short post-ride siesta, to allow our food to digest before the last 45 minutes of climbing to get to the plateau.
From the high plateau we’ll ride a mix of shepherd trails with rocks, and free ride hillsides that will lead us to our mountain accommodation under the shadow of the towering arid peaks of the High Atlas.
Your host will welcome you into a wonderful, secluded courtyard where you can relax and enjoy some mint tea, read a book or explore the local surroundings before dinner.
Distance cycled: 30km (app. 4-5 hours)
Accommodation: Guest house Tasghimoute
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 6 - Inirt - Ouirgane
As we snake our way out of our mountain village that was home last night, we pass farmers working in the morning light and workers driving up the dry river bed, kicking dust up into the warming morning air, all on our way to our highest point of today at 1,873m above the village of Ourmer. We will need to shoulder the bike for the last 15 minutes of this climb, but this adds a certain amount of adventure to this big day in the High Atlas of Morocco.
We’ll have some food and take in the breathtaking views on both sides of the pass, admiring the singletrack that stretches out before us.
The first section of trail is very narrow and eroded, so there will be mandatory walking sections. Even though it looks flowing and rideable, the consequences of making a mistake or misjudging a corner are just too high here.
After that the trail becomes less exposed and we’ll be descending for the next couple of hours, blowing dust clouds up behind us as we go. But save some energy, as this trail has a few ups along the way to empty the legs of the most enthusiastic mountain biker!
As we arrive back at the support vans, we load up and head along the valley to our accommodation for the next two nights. Settle in and enjoy the pool, recharging your batteries for tomorrow’s grand finale of mountain biking in Morocco.
Distance cycled: 50km (app. 5-6 hours)
Accommodation: Tizi N’ouirgane
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 7 - Ouirgane 'Big Descent' Day
From your little piece of paradise in the mountains, we’ll be shuttled 20km along the valley by our support crew.
As they leave us and head back to meet us at our lunch spot, we set off on the last throw of the dice for this adventure in Morocco, which involves 10km of the most sensational descending imaginable!
After this amazing one-hour descent of singletrack and sweeping corners, we’ll have lunch then head to our hotel, where we’ll have time to relax by the pool before our last celebratory dinner! A truly memorable last day on this magical traverse through Morocco that is a feast for the senses at each and every turn.
Distance cycled: 32km (app.7 hours)
Accommodation: Tizi N’ouirgane
Meals included: B, L, D
- +Day 8 - Departure
Sadly today we leave Morocco behind, say our farewells and transfer to Marrakech airport. You will depart for the airport early morning from your mountain paradise.
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: Your mountain bike tour Morocco is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in Morocco and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience on our mountain bike tour Morocco.
- +Tour price
Mountain Bike Tour Morocco Price
£1,450 / $2,103 USD per person (ex. flights, based on two sharing a room)
We welcome solo travellers on our adventures and if you are happy to share a room with another solo rider of the same sex you do not need to add the single supplement. If, however, you wish to have a room by yourself, a single supplement of £290 / $421 USD will be payable.
H+I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), so you can be sure that when you book with us your money will be safe.
- Private airport transfers ( arrival & departure)
- Welcome dinner
- 7 nights accommodation in small hotels and guest houses
- Guided city tour
- Hot air balloon flight
- All meals starting with lunch on day 1 and ending with breakfast on day 8
- Water, coffee, mint tea
- English-speaking guide
- Support car
- Private chef to prepare all meals
- International/ domestic flights
- Bike rental – we can arrange bike rental for you at a cost of £250/ $363 USD for the duration of the trip
- Travel and activity insurance
- Tips in restaurants and hotels
- Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages
- Personal safety and cycling equipment
- Any other items not mentioned as included
- +Skill + fitness levels required
Does this sound like you? Your vacation time is precious and we want to be absolutely sure that you’re making the most of it, by finding the perfect mountain bike tour for you. Be honest with yourself, if this adventure isn’t right for you, we have other mountain bike tours that may well be a better fit for your mountain biking experience and ability.
Please note: The skill level required reflects an overall rating for the trails on the trip but you should expect to find sections and obstacles that push your ability levels.
- You are generally comfortable riding most types of terrain in different conditions: singletrack, double track, muddy, dry, loose, bedrock…
- You can brake, use gears and corner instinctively
- You’ll have a go on moderate technical features, such as small rock gardens, small drops and steeper sections, but may get off and walk certain technical features
- You ride more than once a week throughout your biking season
- And the ‘+’ part of ‘Intermediate+’ means that you will be aiming to tackle more of those moderate technical features
- You have a reasonable level of mountain bike fitness, exercising at least twice a week for one hour or more, throughout the whole year
- You can ride a mountain bike for up to six hours per day at a moderate pace, with snack and photo stops, for four or more consecutive days
- You are capable of tackling one or two moderate mountain bike climbs per day, of up to 600 metres each
Typical trails you’ll be riding
- Some of the riding you’ll do on our mountain bike tour Morocco is just over 7,000ft/ 2,000m with exposure present on some trails
- Double track: undulating jeep roads made up of hard-packed dirt, small rocks and occasionally sand
- Singletrack: rustic singletrack, mainly high mountain dry trails with loose surface and through valley forests with roots crossing the trails, and at times you will encounter tennis ball-sized rock gardens, and occasionally flow trails
- The trails in the Moroccan mountains are thousands of years old, so are not buff purpose built trails, they are natural high altitude walking trails that link villages across the region and surfaces will be soft and loose, and/or rocky and dry at times
- You will occasionally have to hike-a-bike for short sections during this adventure to reach the high mountain passes
- +Arrival + departure details
Your mountain bike tour Morocco will start and end in Marrakech.
You should arrive the day prior to your tour start date and spend one night in Marrakech, allowing for any delays to flights or luggage, and be ready for your guide to meet you there the following morning. So you make the most of your time in this vibrant city, we’ve created this handy guide to spending 24 hours in Marrakech.
Your guide will meet you in the foyer of your hotel and he/she will be holding an H+I Adventures sign and wearing an H+I ride top.
On the last day of the tour, your guide will ensure you are dropped off at Marrakech airport in time to catch your flight back home. Therefore, we would advise booking your flights home no earlier than 2pm on your day of departure.
If your departure flights differ from this, we would be happy to help book you into an airport hotel overnight, if needed.
- +Travelling to Morocco
Marrakech, Morocco is well-served by many major airlines from all over the world.
You must book your bike on to your flight in advance, otherwise you could face a higher charge at the airport.
Most travellers do not require a visa to enter Morocco. If you’re travelling from South Africa you are required to obtain a tourist visa. All travellers must have a passport which is valid for at least six months from the time you enter Morocco.
- +Preparing yourself + your bike for your adventure
Please read the full kit list before you start packing for your mountain bike tour Morocco, so that you have everything you need!
Our mountain bike tour Morocco is for intermediate+ riders with level 6 fitness.
The ideal bike for the Moroccan trails is a good quality full-suspension bike with around 140mm of front travel. To get the most out of your mountain bike tour Morocco you should plan some training in advance of your tour, and it is essential that, if you’re bringing your own bike, you must ensure that it has been properly serviced before the trip.
You will experience altitudes of between 7,000ft/ 2,000m and 10,000ft/ 3,000m when mountain biking in Morocco, so we have some advice on mountain biking at high altitudes.
We recommend that you do travel with your own bike, and have some handy tips on how to do this, however if this isn’t possible for you we can arrange bike hire for you for a high quality full suspension mountain bike for the duration of your mountain bike tour Morocco.
- +Your mountain bike guides in Morocco
Our mountain bike guides in Morocco are of the highest level.
They are qualified in first-aid and they have the knowledge and experience to lead a group safely in these remote, wild and beautiful parts of Morocco.
Our guides have years of experience in the saddle on the trails of the Morocco area and will be able to enhance your holiday with facts and fables on local history, flora and fauna. They’re also genuinely nice people and will do their best to make sure that everyone in the group has a great time.
- +Accommodation + food
One of the things that sets our holidays apart from others is the unique local accommodation we use. We aim to use the best, locally-run accommodation in each country, and that which is traditional to that specific area, whether it be city or mountain.
On our mountain bike tour Morocco you’ll be staying in a selection of traditional Moroccan accommodation from rustic mountain huts, to small family run riads, to hidden mountain lodges in the Atlas, where a roaring fire and delicious home-cooked food await.
Most of the food you will enjoy on our mountain bike tour Morocco is traditional food influenced by surrounding countries, all prepared with the greatest of care and skill. Typical dishes include: tagines, eggs, local meats and cheeses, salads and, of course, mint tea.
- +Health + safety
No vaccinations are required for visiting Morocco.
We recommend you check before drinking tap water. Bottled or filtered water will be readily available throughout the trip.
Also, please let us know if you have any special food requirements, allergies or pre-existing conditions your guides should know about.
You should always consult your own doctor or physician before travelling to new countries to seek their advice on matters concerning your health abroad.
Your health and safety is on our mountain bike tour Morocco is our top priority so when you travel with us you also have the peace of mind knowing that you will be covered by Global Rescue emergency medical and evacuation services.
- +Currency + foreign exchange
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham. ATM machines are readily available throughout Marrakech.
It is not compulsory to tip your guides or drivers in Morocco, but if you feel that you have had a good service or experience on your mountain bike tour Morocco, you can tip at your discretion.
It is not compulsory to tip in restaurants, however should you wish to tip your servers, 10% – 15% of your meal cost would be acceptable.
- +Holiday insurance
You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.
We work closely with WorldNomads whose policies are specially designed for adventure travel. You can arrange your insurance cover directly with them and we ask that you send us your policy details.
Please note: you must bring a copy of your policy with you on your mountain bike holiday with us.
Please note: our mountain bike tour Morocco is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in Morocco and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.
Submit your review
What an amazing week we had with H+I adventures discovering Morocco’s amazing peoples, culture, food, landscape and wonderful singletracks ! The ancient Berber trail : a fabulous adventure for the epicurean mountain biker in me !!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) mountain bike tour Morocco
- Q. How many people will be in the group?
We only run small group mountain bike tours to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, and there will generally be between six and eight people in each group. We can stretch to a maximum of ten if it’s a group of friends. The minimum number of people we require to run this mountain bike tour Morocco is four.
- Q. What’s the age range of people who come on this MTB holiday?
Our mountain bike tour Morocco caters for a wide age range; typically between 30- and 55-years-old, but age is simply a state of mind, as they say, and we welcome anyone over the age of 18! As long as you have a good level of physical fitness you will enjoy this mountain bike tour Morocco no matter what your age.
- Q. What style of mountain bike tour is it?
This mountain bike tour Morocco is a guided mountain bike vacation, ideal for intermediate+ mountain bikers. The terrain you’ll be riding on consists of double track and singletrack through thick forests, villages and across high plateaux and mountain passes. You’ll encounter some steep climbs and rooty sections, as well as fabulous, swooping descents. Altitude is a factor in this trip and we have some tips for riding at high altitudes and managing the effects of altitude.
- Q. How far will we be mountain biking each day?
The distances we cover each day range from 20km to 40km, in accordance with the altitude and height gain/ loss on each stage. Each evening your guides will chat with you about the following day’s mountain biking and give you an idea of the sorts of trails you can look forward to. If there’s anything you feel anxious about, your guides will be happy to discuss it with you.
- Q. Do we have to carry all our gear with us?
No, you only need to carry a day pack with you whilst riding. We have your large kit bags transferred to your next accommodation each day, and have it ready and waiting for your arrival.
- Q. What if I come across a section of trail I can’t ride?
Your guide will be very happy to give you some bike skills help during your trip to help improve your confidence and your enjoyment of your mountain bike tour Morocco. If there is a section that you would prefer not to ride, then you can simply hop off your bike and walk. You won’t be the only one to walk certain sections and it’s not a competition in biking ability; it’s a mountain bike holiday!
- Q. Who will be guiding us?
Your mountain bike guides are local to Morocco and experienced professionals who have a real passion for mountain biking and for the culture and landscape of Morocco. Your safety is their number one priority, closely followed by your enjoyment of your mountain bike tour Morocco. They will always be on-hand to answer any questions or requests you may have throughout your trip. Meet your mountain bike guide in Morocco…Lahcen
- Q. What sort of accommodation will we be staying in?
On this mountain bike tour in the beautiful Morocco you will be staying in a selection of traditional mountain huts, small family run riads and a unique mountain accommodation in the High Atlas Mountains.
- Q. Which meals are included in the tour price?
All meals starting with lunch on day one, and ending with breakfast on day eight. Morocco has a diverse offering when it comes to food, pulling on the country’s history to influence its dishes.
- Q. What type of mountain bike is best for the trip?
A good quality full suspension with 140mm front travel would be ideal for this mountain bike tour Morocco. It depends on your style of riding because this mountain bike tour Morocco is fairly unique in that riders of differing abilties and experience can enjoy the trails equally; the more confident bikers can just ride faster!
- Q. What clothes and kit should I bring?
The daytime and nighttime temperatures vary greatly in this part of Africa, so you must make sure that you have plenty of layers of breathable clothing to ensure that you are always warm enough and can remove a layer if you get too hot, and you should bring a down jacket for the evenings. It is possible that you will experience some rain in the afternoons in the High Atlas, so you must remember to bring a waterproof jacket too. You should bring cycling shorts/trousers, gloves, padded undershorts, specific shoes for cycling, sun cream, insect spray, and Advil or Ibuprofen. Read the full kit list to find out what you need to pack for your mountain bike tour Morocco.
- Q. Will there be a chance to get laundry done?
Yes, you will have the chance to have laundry done on one evening, but you will be able to hand wash kit and dry it in the Moroccan afternoon sun.
- Q. Can I bring a drone with me?
Unfortunately not. We are working hard to provide each and every customer who rides with us an unparalleled mountain bike experience in every destination we ride. This takes years of experience, riding and planning to get right, and a drone adds a very real danger to the group’s riding experience and health & safety. Why not read our tips on taking better MTB pictures, and make the most of your camera?