Morocco: Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains

Morocco: Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains

 

20-27 March 2022

8 days
5 days cycling
323km
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.

Please click here to download the info pack for more details.

 
Itinerary BOOK NOW
Day 1Sunday 20 March 2022
Depart London to Marrakech 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.

Hotel: Palmplaza

Day 2Monday 21 March 2022 • 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.

Hotel: Lecoq Hardi

Day 3Tuesday 22 March 2022 • 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!

Hotel: Laroseraie

Day 4Wednesday 23 March 2022 • Tinmal Mosque Circuit
Cycle 86km • Height Gain/loss +940m • Max Altitude 1266m
A slightly easier day! Starting from our hotel, we will cycle along the beautiful N’fiss Valley to discover the wild beauty of the High Atlas Mountains following the course of the NfisRiver. On route we pass through some small Berber settlements and onto one of Morocco’s oldest mosques at Tinmal. The mosque dates back to the 12th century and was built by the same Berber dynasty who built the magnificent Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech. After a short visit and lunch besides the river, we have the option to cycle back or transfer by bus and enjoy an early finish at our tranquil hotel.

Hotel: Laroseraie

Day 5Thursday 24 March 2022 • 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.

Hotel: Leflouka Marrakech

Day 6Friday 25 March 2022 • Takerhoust to Marrakesh
Cycle 34km • Height Gain/loss +500m • 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 finish just outside of Marrakesh early afternoon. There’s a glorious hotel awaiting you and a walk to the synagogue in the City to see in the Sabbath in a more traditional setting.

Hotel: Hivernage

Day 7Saturday 26 March 2022
With a free day in Marrakech, there is plenty of time to explore this vibrant city and enjoy an organised tour of the mellah and Beth Mo’ed Le’Kol Chai before meeting with fellow challengers for a fun and relaxed dinner in the City in the evening.
Day 8Sunday 27 March 2022
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.

REGISTRATION & FUNDRAISING

Places are limited on this event. To secure your place, we’ll be asking for an initial registration fee of £395 (if aged over 35) and £295 (35 or under). You will then have the option to (A) fundraise the entire balance (B) cover the costs of the challenge yourself and fundraise a minimum amount or (C) cover the entire costs of the challenge and the minimum fundraising requirement yourself.

 

Any questions?

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

Download our training guide