THE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARADISE
Morocco is a land of mystery, a place where the sun is warm and the people are enigmatic. To many it is a faraway place where the cry of worship is heard at the rising and setting of the sun and the gentle winds blow sand and water about in a peaceful manner.
Discover Morocco, a country whose landscape is unique. From huge mountain regions to wide beautiful beaches, which pass over to endless desert; in the country “where the sun goes down” you can experience winter sports like in the middle of Europe or you can enjoy your holiday in fertile oasis and vineyards. From the North to the South, beautiful historic cities evolve their African flair and enchant every guest. In cities like Marrakech, Fes, Essaouira, Casablanca, Rabat and in many more amazing places you find the distinctive Moroccan hostels, which has been selected exclusively for you by Moroccan Views (among others Morocco Riads, Villas and very authentic Guest Houses).
Our Morocco accommodation offers you the comfort, you desire in your holidays. Visit Morocco and learn about the Moroccan culture and its unique landscapes.
✓ Ride best Singletrack Atlas Mountains
✓ Discover Moroccan Berber Villages
✓ Group & Charities Biking Events Morocco
✓ Amazing Road Cycling Morocco
✓ Electric bike tour through the amazing Berber Valley landscapes
Come and join us for the adventures of a lifetime
designed just for you!
Passport and Visa Information
No visa is required for travel to Morocco by nationals of the UK and most EU countries, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six months. Other nationalities should contact the Morocco embassy in their home country.
Health and Vaccinations
It is important that you have both a dental and medical check-up before the holiday. There are no compulsory vaccinations required for Morocco when travelling from the UK, although we recommend inoculations against tetanus, hepititis A, polio, and typhoid. Vaccinations can be obtained from your local doctor or medical centre. They will be able to notify any changes to these recommendations and confirm which you need to update. Allow at least 1 month to get these vaccinations before you travel.
On all our trips each guide is a qualified First-Aider and a comprehensive medical kit is carried at all times. If you require specific medication then we strongly advise you obtain these prior to departure.
The currency in Morocco is the Dirham, a currency not available outside Morocco. In major cities there are plenty of foreign exchange facilities and cashpoints accepting Mastercard, Visa, Maestro and Cirrus. Most city restaurants accept payment by credit card. Although accommodation and most of your meals are included in each trip, you will need some spending money for meals that are not included, bar bills, tips and souvenirs. Please refer to specific trip dossiers for suggestions on how much money to take.
The national language of Morocco is Arabic but French is taught universally throughout the country and is the primary language of commerce and business. A rudimentary knowledge of French will certainly assist your communication with most Moroccans. English is not widely spoken though it is becoming more popular particularly with young people. We do recommend that you take a pocket phrase and learn some basics such as common greetings.
Telephone / Internet
Calls from Morocco can be made from “Teleboutiques” which are to be found in all but the most remote places. From here you can make reverse charge calls and cabins are always supervised if you need any help. Cybercafes can be found in most large towns, but never in villages. Prices are normally very reasonable at about 50p/0.70EURO (7-8 dirhams) per hour
Camera Film and photography
Morocco is as photogenic a place as you will find, with clear light, beautiful landscapes and plenty of character. However, photographic representations of people are extremely uncommon in Islam and are usually reserved for passport and administrative pictures. Please do not take photos of people without prior permission and if someone is clearly not happy to be your subject do not persist.
Electricity supply in Morocco is 220V, 50Hz and you will need an adaptor for the European two round pin system which is used in Morocco.
Morocco is on GMT – Greenwich Mean Time – year round. That means during winter as per the UK and in summer an hour behind.
Tipping, shopping and haggling
Tipping in Morocco is discretional and usually amounts to about 10% of your bill. That goes for bars, cafes and restaurants. Taxi drivers will accept a tip if offered but do not feel obliged as Moroccans will rarely leave a tip.
After your trek it is customary to tip your Moroccan guide, driver(s), and/or mule handler(s) provided you feel you have received good treatment. There’s no set amount as this often depends on group size, but as a guideline around 30 Euro (or 300 Dirhams) should cover your share of all tips for a week’s trip.
When shopping for souvenirs in the souq (markets) it is normal to haggle. Don’t be alarmed by the shopkeeper’s inflated starting price as you can usually hope to finish up at about half of this. It can be a frustrating experience but it always pays off to stay calm and good humoured and the general idea is to come away feeling that you got good value for your purchase. In other words there’s no right or wrong price, just a price that suits both parties and everyone goes away happy. In upmarket boutiques haggling is not appropriate.
Morocco has one of the world’s most celebrated cuisines. Typical dishes include meat tajines (spiced lamb or beef stew often incorporating fruit), couscous, spiced kebabs, briouats (flakey pastry parcels of spiced meat or fish), harira (bean soup), and superb pastries made with almond paste and honey. Restaurants in Marrakech range from basic food stalls to full-blown palace restaurants offering Moroccan specialities. There are also good quality French, Italian and Chinese restaurants. Elsewhere, it’s strictly Moroccan fayre served with freshly-baked Berber flatbread. Traditionally Moroccans eat with their hands, using bread as a scoop into a communal bowl in the centre of the table. Berber houses don’t even possess western cutlery, although even the lowest grade of restaurants will have a stock should any foreigners drop in. Note that when eating from a communal bowl it is only appropriate to use your right hand.
Moroccan food is generally heavily meat-orientated and vegetarians may find that their options are rather uninspiring and very limited.
Alcohol in Morocco
Alcohol is not widely available in Morocco, although larger hotels, foreign-owned auberges and upmarket restaurants sell it. Marrakech, Agadir and Casablanca are well-endowed with bars (usually of the fairly expensive variety) but small towns usually have no bars and no off-licences. Many of the hotels we use on our tours are not licenced to serve alcohol, although we can buy wine/beer in large towns or prior to departure as you are often permitted to “bring your own”.
A traditional hammam (steam bath) is the perfect remedy for those seeking a truly envigorating Moroccan experience. The hammam is traditionally a place for men or women to meet (separately) and chat whilst being scrubbed clean and massaged. Hammams are a hive of activity and noise, and many exhibit fine examples of Moroccan architecture, with vaulted ceilings, tadelakt (clay) walls and elaborately tiled floors.
After spending as much time as you can bear in the steam room you proceed to a cooler room for a scrub with a coarse glove and black soap before being manipulated by a masseur or masseuse. Then it’s time for some quiet contemplation in the “salle de repos” (rest room). Be advised that at hammams males and females are strictly segregated and in female sections women usually go naked, but you can bring along a swimming costume if you prefer not to. Nudity in the male world is taboo, so men keep their trunks on! All Moroccan towns have hammams as do many hotels and auberges.
Religion and culture
Much of Moroccan culture revolves around religion and the family. Although fairly liberal by the standards of many Muslim countries, Islam is still a way of life for the majority. Even those who don’t visit the local mosque five times a day (as decreed by the Qu’ran) have strong religious beliefs. Most social events centre around the family, with wedding and birth celebrations going on for days on end. However, the country is changing at a lightning fast pace, with young urban Moroccans taking their cue from French culture, bars and nightclubs opening up in cities, and improving rights for women under the young and forward-thinking King Mohamed VI.
That said, Morocco remains a poor country with a huge proportion of the 30 million strong populations living on very limited means. The rich minority continues to pull the strings and the economic gap between the swish modern urban centres and rural communities continues to widen. On our tours through Morocco, this fact will certainly not escape one’s notice.
Moroccans are generally-speaking, warm, friendly, well-mannered and extremely hospitable people who are always pleased to welcome foreign visitors to their country.
Morocco is the most mountainous country in North Africa and has enormous variations in topography across the country. There are numerous mountain ranges; the most important in terms of land mass are the High Atlas, the Middle Atlas, the Anti-Atlas and the Rif mountains. The Atlas Mountains stretch all the way from the Algerian border to the Atlantic coast and have numerous sub-chains. In the south the volcanic ranges of the Sirwa and the Saghro lie just south of the Atlas and other more minor ranges extend towards the desert.
Marrakech sits on a flat (and quite fertile), plain and much of central Morocco is fairly flat and classified as semi-arid.
Morocco has some 3000km of Atlantic and Mediterranean coast, and much of the south of the country is classified as desert. The south of the country in fact borders the Sahara desert.
Environment and Wildlife
Morocco has a wide diversity of flora, from cedar forests in the Middle Atlas, to oak, thuya and pine forests in the High Atlas. Walnut and almond trees are also widespread in the villages of the High Atlas. Coastal areas support more “Mediterannean” vegetation, and the plains around Marrakech are home to mile upon mile of olive groves and citrus orchards. Vegetation peters out as you head into the Deep South, with acacia and date palm trees among the few species to thrive. Spring is a wonderful time to visit the mountain areas of Morocco when snow melt and warm sun spawn great carpets of colourful wild flowers.
Morocco is an interesting and diverse destination for bird watchers. Highlights include one of the last remaining colonies of the bald ibis, on the Atlantic coast, and a huge variety of birds found in mountain habitats. Morocco’s mammals include the Barbary fallow deer, Barbary monkey, Atlas red fox, and wild cats (rarely sighted). Snakes and scorpians are prevalent in desert areas, but rarely cause injury to man!
With a huge coastline and great geographical variety, Morocco has many distinct local climates. Marrakech is very hot during the summer months, with maximum daytime temperatures of around 40º C (95º F). Once in the high valleys of the Atlas, we can expect cooler conditions, with daytime maxima of around 25º C (77º F) and pleasantly cool evenings. At night, the temperatures in the high valleys are unlikely to fall below 5º C (41º F). During the summer months the Atlas region receives little rainfall. However, the winters can bring considerable amounts of snow to the mountain areas and many high passes will be blocked until early spring. The early and later summer months are arguably the best times to trek in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The best time of year to visit the Jebel Sahro region is during the winter months, from December to March, when the daytime temperatures will be around 20 to 25º C (68º – 77º F), falling to around 5º C (41º F) at night.
Coastal areas tend to have a less extreme and more temperate climate than the interior, feeling pleasantly warm in winter and not ferociously hot in summer. Most Atlantic regions benefit from a stiff sea breeze which keeps summer temperatures down, and rainfall levels, although not high, are significantly higher than in low lying areas in the interior of the country.
The plains of the interior, for example around Marrakech and Fez show extremes of temperature, from punishingly hot in summer (particularly during July and August) to cold in winter, although the Moroccan sun is always hot, year round. Precipitation levels are very low, and any rain that does fall is most likely in November, February and April.
The Atlas Mountains and their associated sub-ranges are subject to variable climatic conditions with much higher levels of precipitation (falling both as rain and snow in the high mountains), and colder – often sub-zero – conditions. There are significant regional variations, but generally the north side of the mountains is more bearably hot in summer and colder in winter than the south side. Night time winter temperatures can fall as low as -10ºC and daytime summer temperatures can climb into the upper 30sºC.
The south of Morocco is notoriously hot in summer, particularly on the fringes of the Sahara. It’s not the time to visit these regions with burning hot sandstorms regularly flaring up. In winter (particularly December and January), daytime temperatures are very pleasant but there’s a dramatic tailing off by evening time and at night temperatures can drop well below freezing.
The north of Morocco is very lush by comparison as a result of much higher rainfall and temperate conditions.
Adventure travel information
Morocco has a huge range of different accommodation options. In ascending level of comfort/facilities, here is a list of most of the different options and a short description:
On trek we camp in high quality tents with 2 people sharing. There is usually a toilet tent available for the group’s comfort
Permanent tent camp
In the desert camping is often on this basis in permanent nomad tents with dining and sleeping area. Expect to share with 1 to 3 others.
Most basic lodging with Turkish toilet (porceline hole in the ground) and occasionally a shower. Dormitary-style or small shared room sleeping arrangements.
Family house upgraded and registered as tourist accommodation. Shared rooms (usually up to 4 people), bathroom and toilet facilities (Turkish or European)
A converted adobe-brick house. All different standards of comfort exist across the south of Morocco
Rustic small hotel, often European owned. Private or shared facilities. Rooms on a twin-share basis. May be a pool.
traditional medina town house set around a courtyard and converted into guest-house/hotel accommodation. All categories exist from basic to deluxe.
from 2 to 5 stars