Best Time To Visit
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Mar 10, 2013 5:29 AM Last Post By: mkadey
Mar 7, 2013 7:01 PM
Best Time To VisitI'm interested in cycling in Morocco in the near future. Probably for about 6 weeks. Just wondering if anyone had some thoughts on the best time of year to do this with respect to weather, crowds, and availability of local fruits and vegetables? I'd like to visit the coast, mountains and desert.
Mar 7, 2013 11:59 PM
1I've never seen so many people cycle touring Morocco as on this trip. I've chatted to at least a dozen whilst on the road or stopped for refreshments. It seems Feb/Mar is very popular as it's cooler. April and early May will still be OK but warming up. Wide range of bikes ranging from full touring, hybrid, mountain, bog standard. Mostly people brought their own bikes with them. Wide range of equipment with some people ultra lightweight, others laden down with camping and cooking gear.
Local fruit and vegetables are excellent and available all year round. You can move around the country taking your bike with you on the buses.
Mar 8, 2013 2:35 AM
2....... to add to Tim's advice, roads are narrow, a tarmac strip with rough stony verges as a refuge for Pedestrians, Cyclists, Donkeys and the like as horn blasting trucks and Grand Taxis whizz by.
Work out the bits of Morocco you want to see, study a map to plan for Buses as mentioned by Tim, to do the long boring stretches and steep terrain, this strategy will extend you range.
Long flat areas are along the coast, the Souss Valley from Agadir east is the area I know best is flat to and past Taliouine about 200Km from Aradir/inezagane, the desert area lies farther east through Ouarzazate. From Taliouine a bus (Trs Kam Bus), departs for Marrakesh via the Tizi-n-Test at 18.00h., it travels west to OuladBerhil then North up and over the pass. Other buses form Ourzazate take you North to Marrakesh via the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass or farther East or South into the Desert areas, .... http://vimeo.com/38096208 a solo cyclist crossing the Tizi-n-Test Pass.
Taking a bus up to a mountain village, like Tafraoute in the Anti-Atlas and cycling down exploring as you go makes for longer ranges. From Tafraoute for example, http://looklex.com/morocco/tafraoute.htm. you have four options down, Via Igherm to Tarroudannt in the centre of the Sous, to Tiznit key to accessing the seaside villages of Aglou, Mirhleft, Legzaire Beach and Sidi Ifni. this collection villages are perfect for cycling, few tourists come here, accommodation and food are cheap. All are connected by bus or Grand Taxi (here they carry Bikes), back to Inezgane/Agadir. the other two routes down are to Inezgane via Ait Baha or to Tata and a Desert Road to Zogora.... see map http://looklex.com/morocco/map02.htm however long stretches of this road are very repetitious but flat.
In markets (Souks) you see odd shaped and scared fruit and vegetables, they are perfectly safe to eat, Morocco has a large food export market, market rejects are consumed at home. Subsistence market gardeners supply street-sellers and Souk stalls too, you'll see very odd looking stuff unlike the uni-formally sized and shaped produce in European Supermarkets.
A series of posts on cycling last year, some posts were removed by the monitor, the proposals had nothing to do with riding a bike! The OP Joseph666, filed a long and good report post tripI'm sure you'll find useful, Tim's contributions were as always good,..http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2242940
Other solo cyclists, see link for map of his route... http://www.island-olaf.de/travel/marokko/tour-ma2006-en.html....... and http://vimeo.com/38096208 ...
and finally.... http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2304332&messageID=20744002#20744002 about storage of luggage associated with bikes and a good post trip report.
Edited by: moroccotraveler
Mar 8, 2013 7:53 AM
3And whilst I think of it... If I was riding around I would attach a pennant and aerial to the bike, with it leaning over to the left to encourage drivers to give you a wide berth. Also bright (non Moroccan) florescent colours so drivers realise you're not a local to be squashed at will.
Mar 8, 2013 10:12 AM
The topography of Morocco means that, inevitably, the best time to visit one part of the country may not be the best for another.
I would, however, say that overall April & May are the best times to come as it shouldn't be too hot anywhere, rain will largely have stopped and there are no major Moroccan holidays in this period, all of which cause mass migration back to the family home on a scale like you wouldn 't believe.
I cannot, however, overstress the necessity to avoid all major routes and city centres like the plague. Like most of Africa, Morocco has an abysmal road safety record. When I am in Marrakech, it is not at all unusual for me to see 2-3 accidents A DAY involving bicycles. Fortunately I missed the worst one on a morning last week when a coach actually managed to BEHEAD a cyclist. Moroccans also have no idea how to drive in the rain: I gave up counting at 12 the number of accidents I saw on a main road from Marrakech to Rabat on a day when it was pouring.
Admittedly, Moroccan cyclists do themselves no favours by never using lights, reflectors, helmets, high vis vests etc, but with no cycle lanes to speak of and the rough roadside areas being shared with horse and donkey carts, moped riders and pedestrians, cycling anywhere near city areas is not for the faint hearted.
You mentioned that one area you were interested in exploring was along the coast. I would very much recommend the coast road south of Rabat & Casablanca, which ultimately makes its way to Essouira. Beginning outside El Jadida, this is a lovely road, with very varied scenery, very fertile soil and therefore farmers selling their produce at the roadside, all just harvested that day and at ridiculously low prices.. Best of all, it does not appear to be a busy route & the sea is visible along much of the journey. There are also little places like Oualidia where you can chill out for a while. Last time I did this trip I saw no other foreign tourists at all.
As Morocco is now a fairly significant fruit & vegetable exporter to Europe, you will find year round availability of fruit and vegetables, grown locally and sold by farmers from their carts. Of course, you will only be able to buy what is in season, but it is all generally very good.
Mar 10, 2013 5:29 AM
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