Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Bikes, Bedouin's and Bazaars...Cycle to the Sahara

Cycle The Sahara

From the minute the plane touches down, and you eye the distant snowcapped Atlas Mountains and the palm trees that surround the airport, you can smell the exotic atmosphere of the Imperial City of Marrakech. Any time we spend on two wheels is always special, but as we cross the Atlas Mountains and head out desert bound through the Anti Atlas, and each day passes, a new and ever more spectacular landscape unfolds before us. At Grand Tour Cycling and Adventure Cafe, we know a thing or two about cycling adventures, having ridden the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Australian Outback, the Rainforests of Sumatra, and even the high and mighty Himalayas. Believe us when we say that a week's cycling adventure simply doesn't get much better than this.

Our evening before setting forth into the wilds of Morocco allows us to sample the energy, sights, smells and sounds of Marrakech's wonderful Medina (Old Town) and main square the Djema El Fna. In itself a destination and experience worth a flights alone, on this ride, this is only the tip of a wonderful iceberg! Early the next day, we ride up the winding mountain road to cross the Tizi n Tichka - the high pass across the Atlas Mountains, before enjoying screeching descent to the only major large town on the fringes of the desert.

            We then ride to the amazing Dades Gorge, to witness the deep red earth, and impossibly shaped rock formations, and we continue onwards through the Valley of the Roses, to reach the biblical Todra Gorge. This Gorge is an epic slice that cuts like a knife through sheer and towering walls of orange limestone, populated by a small collection of guesthouses, and a crystal clear stream running through the heart of the valley. We spend our third night here before riding on further into the wilderness.

            From Tinerhir (last main town near Todra Gorge), the road branches off shortly and becomes eerily quiet, now pointing squarely at the dunes of Merzouga. The tranquil road is home to the odd small group of grazing camel, and goatherds lazing under shady trees to avoid the midday sun. We have just one more overnight before the road makes its final southwards spur, and reaches the towering dunes at Merzouga. On arrival in the desert, we have time to relax, shower, let the heat of the day subside, before we head out in the late afternoon to watch the sun set on a most amazing ride. The colours of Morocco reach their climax here, with deep blue sky fading to deep purple, and the orange sand reddening as the sun slips behind the high dunes.

Distance: - 360 miles
Days Cycling: - 5
Max Altitude: - 2260m
Typical Average Daily Max. Temp: - 25 degrees
Start : Marrakech
End : Merzouga

Departures: 25th March 2014 & 8th October 2014

Price = £599pp

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