Morocco: Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains

Morocco: Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains

 

17-24 October 2021

5 days cycling
410km
Joint Friday night celebration with trekkers
Flights NOT included
Limited to 50 participants

Charged with the exotic, but with its roots in Africa, Morocco represents the closest truly “different” destination to the UK. Twice our size, but with only half the population, much of Morocco is a desolate desert and a vast wilderness of towering mountains, where rural life has changed little over centuries. Add to this superb hospitality and an incredible network of roads, and all the ingredients are there for a fantastic road bike challenge! Morocco is a land of enduring fascination and enchantment.

On this cycling challenge we cycle approximately 255 miles/410kms departing from Marrakesh towards the mountain range of the High Atlas Mountains. Cycling on the flat Haouz Plains, we will be quickly challenged by the imposing Atlas Mountain slopes, climbing Morocco's highest roads. This route will give you the opportunity to discover Berber lush valleys and rugged high plateaus and discover the traditional local way of life, authentic architecture and landscapes of a rare beauty. A finish in the vibrant city of Marrakesh with all of its history, bazaars and nightlife and this is a challenge with something for everyone.

 
Itinerary BOOK NOW
Day 1Sunday 17 October
Depart London to Marrakesh with a 1.5hr transfer to our hotel. There’s an afternoon bike fitting before we meet with our guides over dinner for a full challenge briefing on the adventure ahead.
Day 2Monday 18 October • Marrakesh to Zat Valley
Cycle 58km • Height Gain/loss +860m/-884m • Max Altitude 1065m
After breakfast, there’s a 1hr transfer east towards the small city of Sidi Rahal where our cycling challenge begins. Heading south, it’s not long before we hit the first climbs of the Atlas Mountains, steadily ascending on hilly terrain with colourful landscapes of red clay and basalt. We reach the top of our first serious climb of the day - Touama - within the first 25km riding through Berber villages and cultivated terraces. Our final climb of the day will take us to Tidili before an appreciated descent down to our hotel for the night in the Zat Valley.

Route:

Hotel: Lecoq Hardi

Day 3Tuesday 19 October • Zat to Ourika to Ouirgane
Cycle 95km • Height Gain/loss +1790m/-1690m • Max Altitude 1813m
Today our ride starts with an enjoyable flat stretch along Haouz Plains. The road then leaves the lush valley and starts snaking up west. For the next 14km we climb steadily along the mountainside, gently gaining altitude while enjoying some impressive views across the Atlas Mountains. Once we reach the highest point at Tizi n’Tadmant (1813m), we can relax and enjoy a relatively relaxed section following the contours of the mountains with its superb views stretching over the Plains. After Sidi Fares, there’s an incredible 10km downhill towards Asni where we rest for the night. For those with energy to spare, there’s an optional 18km climb up to the ski resort of Oukaimden - the highest road in Morocco!

Route:

Hotel: Laroseraie

Day 4Wednesday 20 October • Tizi n’Test
Cycle 152km • Height Gain/loss +2260m/-2260m • Max Altitude 2100m
Following the course of the beautiful N’fiss valley, we cycle alongside its river, passing small Berber settlements with a brief stopover to visit Timnal mosque . As one of Morocco’s oldest, it dates back to the 12th century and was built by the same Berber dynasty who built the magnificent Koutoubia mosque in Marrakesh. Tackling a monster 30km climb, we reach the top of one of the highest roads in Morocco at 2100m, which on a clear day offers panoramic views southward over the Souss Valley to Taroudant and across to the Atlas Mountains. It’s a long and glorious down back to our hotel.

Route:

Hotel:

Day 5Thursday 21 October • Ouirgane to Kik Plateau to Takerkoust
Cycle 50km • Height Gain/loss +1030m/-850m • Max Altitude 1250m
After a good breakfast, we start cycling on quiet roads up towards the shrine of Moulay Brahim = a holy place where a well known Moroccan Sufi saint was buried. At the highest peak of the day, we cross the magnificent limestone plateau with the often snow-capped Toubkal peaks in the background. It’s a ride across the terraces – punctuated by a few villages – before we reach the western end of the Kik and a long descent down to Takerkoust.

Route:

Hotel: Leflouka Marrakesh

Day 6Friday 22 October • Takerhoust to Marakesh
Cycle 55km • Height Gain/loss +570/-450 • Max Altitude 900m
The final day of this tremendous challenge and we ride the foothills to the city of Tahnnaout, followed by a long flat ride to be back into hotel in Marrakesh by early afternoon. Our trekkers will have already finished their Mount Toubkal Trek, so it’ll be great to see them as we’ll hopefully connect with the synagogue in Marrakesh and all walk over together to see in the Sabbath in a more traditional setting. Dinner in a local restaurant for all and we’ll celebrate our achievements into the morning.

Route:

Weekend Hotel:

Day 7Saturday 23 October
With a free day in Marrakesh, there is plenty of time to explore this vibrant city before meeting with fellow challengers for a fun and relaxed dinner.
Day 8Sunday 24 October
Transfer from the hotel back to the airport for the return journey home.
 
What’s included BOOK NOW
Transfers upon arrival and departure. Internal transfers as specified within the itinerary
Twin-sharing accommodation in good quality lodges and upgraded hotel at finish of challenge. Limited singles available on request at an additional charge of £330 for the week
All meals (with the exception of lunches on non-cycling days), including celebration meal at end of ride
Local guides, support team and challenge doctor
Aluminium hybrid bike
FREE Norwood cycle jersey

What’s not included

International return flights from London to Marrakesh. Flight time 4hrs 40mins
Lunch on non-cycling days
Personal clothing
Travel insurance, tips, gratuities and personal expenses
 
How challenging is it? BOOK NOW

This is a tough challenge on a mixture of good asphalt roads and paved secondary roads. There are some long days in the saddle, and you must be comfortable riding up to 6-8hrs a day. Our ride will take us over some mountainous landscape and will offer riders challenging climbs and exciting descents on traffic-free roads so please incorporate hill training into your training schedule.

This itinerary may be subject to change.

 

Any questions?

Talk to Challenges on 020 8420 6811 or email challenges@norwood.org.uk

Our training guide
 

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Booking Details

Choose your fundraising option:

Full fundraising - raise at least £2,700

Cover your costs - raise at least £1,495

No fundraising needed

Total to pay today:

Your challenge preferences

Jersey size

Rooming options

All challenges are priced on a room sharing basis. Single rooms are available at an additional cost based on and subject to availability. Please select one of the following:

Have you been on a Norwood challenge before?

For group activities and arrangements, are you happy for us to share your contact details with fellow challenge team mates?

Terms and Conditions

To be read in conjunction with the individual Terms and Conditions of any third party operator working with Norwood in organising this challenge.

1. Your Challenge

(a) To enter this challenge you must complete the online registration form. On receipt of a completed registration form and the registration deposit, you will receive confirmation of your payment and an information pack containing full details of the event. Together these form a binding contract which is subject to these terms and conditions.

(b) We will try to accommodate any special requirements as detailed in your booking subject to availability. However we cannot guarantee that these will be provided and any failure to do so is not constituted as a breach of these terms and conditions.

(c) To enter this challenge you must be at least 18 years old by the date of departure or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

(d) You must hold a valid passport which has at least six months validity from the date you return to the UK. Some destinations will require two blank pages within it. It is your responsibility to ensure that all passport information provided is accurate.

While guidance will be provided for any necessary visas for a challenge - the costs of which are NOT included within the costs quoted - it will be your responsibility to make any applications. If you are refused passage and/or entry/exit to or from any of the countries, any additional costs are your responsibility.

(e) All of our challenges are designed to be physically demanding but achievable and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate level of fitness and are in good health in order to participate. If you have any medical conditions which could be adversely affected by exercise, particularly a heart condition, or if you have any doubts about your health, please consult your doctor. You will be asked to complete an online medical form before your departure and must keep us advised of any medical conditions that develop after your registration. Failure to disclose the full details of any medical condition, or any changes that may arise prior to departure will invalidate your insurance. If you are over the age of 60 or declare any medical conditions, we will require a medical declaration form to be completed, signed and stamped by your GP.

You will be responsible for arranging any vaccinations that are required.

If while on the challenge, our doctor/medic or challenge leader gives you specific safety or medical advice aimed at protecting your welfare, you must abide by this advice.

2. Registration Fee

We do require a registration fee for this challenge and offer a seven day “cooling off” period whereby if you cancel your place within seven days of registration, we will fully refund your registration fee. Unless the event is cancelled by Norwood, the registration fee is then non-refundable and does not form part of the required sponsorship. Once your place is confirmed, a sum will be paid to the operator to cover the costs of any transportation , accommodation and ground costs.

If you have paid all of your costs for this challenge on registration and cancel more than 56 days prior to departure, then the registration fee as outlined in the brochure will be kept and the balance returned to you.

Immediately upon registration, you should ensure that you have a suitable travel and medical insurance policy in place to protect yourself against curtailment or cancellation.

3. Cancellation by you

If it becomes necessary to cancel your challenge, you may do so by notifying us in writing. Upon receipt and acknowledgement by us of your written advice, cancellation will take effect. The following charges will apply.

(a) A full refund of your registration fee if cancellation occurs within the seven day cooling off period from the date of registration.

(b) More than 56 days (8 weeks) prior to departure, loss of registration fee plus insurance premium (if taken the Norwood policy).

(c) 56 – 29 days, loss of registration fee plus 50%of the costs of the challenge as stated in our brochure, plus insurance premium.

(d) 28 – 15 days, loss of registration plus 75% of the costs of the challenge plus insurance premium.

(e) Less than 14 days prior to departure and you will be liable to the loss of your registration fee and the full costs of the challenge.

We strongly recommend that travel and medical insurance be instigated at the time of registration.

4. Cancellation of one challenge but transfer to another

If it becomes necessary for you to cancel your challenge but you are able to transfer to another challenge in the same calendar year , the below timeframes will apply

(a) More than 56 days prior to departure, your non-refundable registration fee will be transferred to your new challenge along with any sponsorship raised to date.

(b) 56 – 29 days prior to departure and costs will have been incurred for your place on the challenge. The registration fee and any sponsorship raised will therefore be used to offset any cancellation charges incurred by the charity and any balance transferred to your new challenge.

(c) 28 – 15 days, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge.

(d) Less than 14 days prior to departure, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge.

5. Cancellation by us

In the event we have to cancel the challenge whether as a result of Force Majeure or any other reason that makes it impractical to proceed with the challenge, we will provide you with a prompt and full refund of all monies that have been paid by you to us and our liability for cancellation will be capped in the amount of all monies paid by you to us. No payments are made compensating for losses or costs you incur in the case of a cancellation. You should have an appropriate insurance policy in place to protect against cancellation.

6. Travel and Medical Insurance

The registration fee does not cover insurance. You must have adequate, valid and appropriate travel insurance for your challenge which must include emergency medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation and trip curtailment cover. It is your responsibility to ensure the details of the insurance policy are provided to us at least 8 weeks prior to departure or we reserve the right to include you on the group policy and charge you a supplement. Any false or misleading information given by you in respect of your insurance policy which may result in your stated insurance company refusing to cover your costs relating to a claim, will make you fully liable and you will be responsible for covering any cancellation charges borne by the charity.

If you withdraw in circumstances where recovery of costs can be indemnified under your travel insurance policy, you hereby agree that you will co-operate in the recovery of these charges from the insurers and any sums recovered will be paid to Norwood.

7. Challenge price and payment options

Norwood reserves the right to pass onto you, regardless of which payment option you have chosen, any additional costs associated with the challenge which have been incurred as a result of circumstances beyond our control (including the cost of fuel, tax, landing fees, accommodation and fluctuations in the exchange rate). You will be informed in writing and should the increase exceed 9% over and above what you have already paid, you have the right to cancel your booking if notice is given within one week of being informed.

8. Fundraising

By registering on this challenge and dependent upon which fundraising option you choose, you are agreeing to raise at least the minimum fundraising target as stated in the event brochure. Approximately 50% of each total (whatever the option) will be used to cover the costs of the challenge, we therefore require that at least 50% of your fundraising target should be reached at least 10 weeks prior to departure. The balance of the funds must then be sent to Norwood no later than 4 weeks following your return from the challenge.

If you are unable to reach the minimum sponsorship amount 10 weeks prior to departure, it is at the discretion of the charity as to whether your challenge place and registration fee are forfeited.

Fundraising money raised for one named event cannot subsequently be used against another event even if the minimum fundraising target for the first event has been exceeded unless (i) the sponsors have been informed and have consented to the monies being transferred or (ii) an event is cancelled or a participant unable to take part in which case the money pledged may be transferred. No sponsorships donations made to the charity will be refunded back to you directly and only back to individual donors upon written request.

It is also important to note that Gift Aid is NOT included as part of the minimum fundraising requirement.

9. Itinerary Changes

All of our challenges are complicated and may be subject to change. They are planned months in advance and sometimes changes to the itinerary are required which are beyond both our control and that of the operator we use. Should there be a significant material change prior to departure which is not as a result of a Force Majeure we will notify you as soon as possible.

10. Flights, airlines, travel arrangements and delays

You must check all information sent to you and make sure you arrive at the airport/point of departure in sufficient time. Airlines sometimes change aircraft and flight times without advance warning and you are asked to check your departure details. Changes made by airlines and to airport destinations do not constitute a material change to your challenge and do not entitle you to cancel.

Most flights are organised through scheduled airlines and we are bound by their terms and conditions.

We do not accept liability for any delays in your travel arrangements or reasonable changes in your itinerary as a result of Force Majeure.

11. Changes by you

Some changes may be made by you subject to availability. We will try to accommodate any changes as requested but any charges incurred will be passed directly to you.

12. Information, visas and other requirements

Any information or advice provided by Norwood on matters such as permits, government travel advice or warnings, visa, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage and special equipment is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of Norwood. You accept responsibility for obtaining all necessary travel information and documentation required for the challenge. We will send you details on visa along with compulsory inoculations, but you should always seek the advice of your doctor. It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are in place prior to departure and we accept no liability if you are denied entry to any country, port or airport detailed on the itinerary.

13. Standard and quality of accommodation and services

You should not have unreasonable expectations of the facilities that will be provided which in some remote areas and destinations may be below what you expect at home. Wherever possible, rooms will be shared with someone of your choice. Numbers per room will vary subject to size, location and availability.

14. Acceptance of risk and release

(a) You should be aware that this is a challenge. In addition to the usual dangers and risks, some of which may include physical exertion for which you may not be prepared, you may also experience weather extremes and remoteness from normal medical services. You acknowledge that the enjoyment and excitement of participating in a challenge is derived from this inherent risk in travelling and undertaking activities outside of normal safety levels at home. You agree to observe all instructions and rules issued by Norwood, its agents and suppliers whether before, during or after the challenge. The challenge leader may at any time during the course of the challenge terminate your participation if they consider it necessary for the health and safety of either you or the group.

(b) You agree that Norwood, its Trustees, directors, officers , employees and agents ("Released Parties") are hereby released and forever discharged from any and all liabilities (of any kind or nature whatsoever, whether in law or equity, direct or indirect, joint or several, foreseen or unforeseen, contingent or actual, accrued or unaccrued, liquidated or unliquidated, present or future, known or unknown, disclosed or undisclosed, suspected or unsuspected, however and whenever arising and in whatever capacity and jurisdiction) arising from or out of, or in any way relating to the Challenge. You also agree that you will not bring any legal, arbitral, administrative, regulatory or other action or proceedings against any Released Parties in relation to the Challenge and also agree that if you do take any such proceedings or otherwise assert a claim against the Released Parties damages are not an adequate remedy and, accordingly, that injunctive or other similar relief is appropriate to restrain that breach.

15. Laws

You must comply with the laws and regulations of the country visited.

16. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

These Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a) above is and all non-contractual obligations and other matters arising from or connected with it are governed by English law. The courts of England have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising from or connected with these Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a).

17. Photographs

By taking part in a Norwood challenge, you agree that any photographs taken during the event may be used by Norwood for publicity and marketing purposes.

18. Confidentiality

Norwood will not pass on personal information to any third parties without your consent, unless we are required to do so by law, except as may be required for the purposes of the Challenge.

Accept Terms

Photographs I appear in during the event can be used by Norwood for publicity and marketing purposes.

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