Cycling in Morocco
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Feb 8, 2013 7:51 AM Last Post By: jorgemartin
Dec 14, 2012 3:21 PM
Cycling in MoroccoHello! I'm going to Morocco soon for 12 days of cycling. I was planning to do this loop Marrakesh Ouarzazate Agadir. I think that's about 800 km. I have a few questions. If anyone can help that'd be great. First of all. I'm arriving in Marrakech with a big cardboard box with my bike in it. I would like to use the same box to return, so I'd be looking at leaving it somewhere for the duration of my trip.
- Along this route, do you reckon there will be hotels/pensions/camping sites pretty much anywhere or are there parts that are less well served?
- Anyone knows a place where they'd be willing to take the box?
- Is it worth booking a hotel beforehand or would it be okay to just ask any random taxi driver at the airport?
- I would like to have a sim card with data (so I can check emails). Can I do this at the airport?
- What kind of food to look out for if you are vegetarian?
Dec 15, 2012 1:21 AM
1Hotel Ali in Marrakech has a huge luggage room and is ideally sited on the edge of Djemaa el Fna square. You can email a reservation request through to the hotel.
Morocco has fantastic quality vegetables. Be aware that some vegetable dishes (tagine, cous cous) are made with meat stock so ask first if that's important to you. Omelettes are a good standby. Most people rave about the bread. M'semmen are Moroccan breakfast pancakes made from flour and semolina. Not much in the way of local cheeses—Laughing Cow processed cheese is popular as it doesn't need refrigeration.
I normally travel with a notebook PC so I use a Maroc Telecom USB dongle which costs 250dh for one month. You will find many cafes offering free wifi in the major towns. Lots more 3G info around, see here and here.
Check out Joseph666 thread and CottonCasual thread.
See my post #23 on the Joseph thread for specific suggestions regarding the Marrakech to Ouarzazate section.
Come back if you have further questions.
Dec 15, 2012 7:45 PM
Dec 15, 2012 10:23 PM
Dec 16, 2012 5:44 AM
I have contacted Hotel Ali and waiting for a reply... I don't want to reserve another hotel just in case storing the bike box is a problem. How easy is it to turn up at the aiport and find some random place to stay? What would you do if you arrived at the Marrakech airport and you still don't know what to do with the bike box? Also, if I discarded the cardboard box, how easy would it be to find a new one? Where is this bike shop in Sidie Yousef Ben Ali? A google search yielded no results. There's a nice looking bike shop called Argan Xtreme Sports but it seems to be 11 kms from the airport.
A few more questions:
- How much is the taxi ride fare from the airport to the centre?
- My route: Marrakech-Ouarzazate-Tazenakht-Taroudant-Agadir-Marrakech, is water readily available in these parts? Do I need to treat the water. I don't buy bottled water. Is it all tarmac? I have a road-touring bike with 28x1.25 wheels, so I won't be able to do sand and rocks...
- I don't need a dongle. Just want to send/received a couple of emails on a daily basis on my 'smart-phone'
Dec 16, 2012 7:21 AM
5Airport to Djemaa el Fna is a 50dh taxi ride though they will start asking for much more. Bus #19 is about 30dh and avoids hassle.
Town tap water is OK to drink (though others on here will beg to differ) but given the quantities you are likely to consume I would seriously advise buying Sidi Ali bottled water to avoid problems. The route is all tarmac.
Dec 17, 2012 7:03 AM
6On the water: There will be different opinions on this, personally I do agree with Tim.
Saying that, on our longer trip to Morocco a few years back we brought a 'katadyn camp' water purifier, which is a gravity-fed filter (I dislike the pump-filters), put the water in, leave it overnight, and there are definitly no risks.
Dec 17, 2012 7:20 AM
7With regards to the bike shop Argan Sports is a good shop - you can check with them to see if they have boxes - I am sure they would - that would give you the chance to dump you shipping box and then return back thier shop - have them help you pack it up and then head to the airport if your return is from Marrakech. For the dongle question - there are some (limited) cafe's with WiFi - alternately you can find "internet cafe's" in most places where for a low cost per hour you can get on a computer - this may be an easier option than the dongle idea. Is your wheel 700 23C or wider - the roads are generally good but there are sections taht are bumpy - you may think about wider like 25 C or larger but the issue with all of these sizes is finding replacement tubes. Patch kit good idea. Water is easy to buy on the road as well - I drink from the tap when I am there but when I go for a distance I just buy a liter and dump it in my hydropak.
Feb 8, 2013 7:51 AM
8Hello! I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their input. I wanted to do this earlier but the forum was down for quite a long time! I had 700 x 32 c wheels and they were mostly fine except when the road was potholed, cracked or unsurfaced. I think 38 or 42 tyre width would have been better. Generally speaking, the roads were in good condition and the traffic was very light! I drank tap water everywhere and never had a problem except once that it tasted foul so I had to throw it away. I refilled my water bag in a well in the middle of nowhere! All in all, I had a lovely time but I found it very challenging. I did 780 kms in 10 days and, according to my map, I climbed 7 passes, the highest one being 2,260 metres. In the desert area it was very hot, over 30 degrees on New Year's Eve. My mouth was always dry regardless of how much water I drank! Food was tasty but a bit repetitive (vegetarian tagine or omelette). People are mostly friendly but be wary of rug sellers! I always felt safe. Drivers are courteous and give you ample berth when overtaking.
I stayed at hotel Ali (paid 250 DH per night) and left my cardboard box there. I was charged 5 DH per day as a storage fee. The hotel itself is very central, right next to Djemaa el Fna square. Staff were a mixed bag, some friendly and helpful and some surly and unhelpful. Great views from the roof terrace.
You can see my pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorgemartin/sets/72157632410453869/with/8338511988/
(4 star Hotel)
From US$78.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$71.55 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$327.91 per night