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.
Your guides will meet you at your hotel on the morning of day 1.
Your guide will meet you all at your riad in Marrakech 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 meet your city guide and hit the town for a tour around the world famous Jemaa El-Fnaa square, craft markets, into the souks, and enjoy your welcome dinner in one of your guides’ favourite places hidden in the alleyways of Marrakech.
We have an early start this morning in order to drive one hour from Marrakech, into the countryside to a very special spot. This is the lift-off site for our hot air balloon ride!
The flight will lift us over the beautiful landscapes and villages surrounding Marrakech, and you’ll watch the mist lift as the sun rises 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.
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.
We have approximately two hours of hiking up the steep incline to the top of the pass.
Top 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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, to arrive around 11am.