Motorcycle trip through Marocco - Erg Chebbi, Merzouga and Todra


 
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The next morning just before Agadir, I took the road towards Taroudant and followed the beautifully winding asphalt through the mountains of the Atlas all the way to Quarzazate.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

Towards the tourist and Rally town Zagora I drove along a nice river through the “Vallee du Draa” with lots of large datle palms. After I had spent so many days in deserts and steppes without vegetation, the strong green along the river was a true benefit.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

Back in Quarzazate, I visited a Pizzaria which had a computer with internet access for their guests to use GPS N30°54'10.9" W006°54'41.1", in order to update this report. The owner was enthusiastic about my journey and invited me to stay overnight in his hotel. He also invited me for a drink and to smoke Dacha with his friends which was nice even if I did not smoke.

 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

On the way to the Dadesgorge GPS N31°39'25.8" W005°50'19.7" on the next morning, I met not only numerous busses fully loaded with tourists, but also a Frenchman on his small, loaded Honda XL 125 motorbike. We followed the narrow, winding and partly very steep road together until the runway to the Todragorge began. The area was very touristic. Beside numerous shops and hotels there were also lots of small restaurants.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

We ordered Tajine (Taschim), the national meal of Morocco, which is made of meat, tomatoes, bulbs, olives and raisins cooked in the traditionally pointed container and eaten with a slice of bread.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

When it went dark, we decided to spend the night on one of the numerous camping sites. At night, the temperatures went down around the freezing point and in the morning my new friend woke me up with a cup of hot coffee he had already cooked. It is really a luxury having a gas cooker while travelling :)
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With the motorcycle by Morocco

Later on I visited the very touristic Todragorge GPS N31°32'34.32" W005°33'41.32" and enjoyed afterwards the beautifully winding trip to Erfoud. Erfoud has a river going through which gives water for lots of datle palms.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

Just before Taouz I visited the hotel and tourist city Merzouga GPS N31°05'22.8" W004°00'18.63" with its large dunes called the Chebbi.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

Like on my previous journey to Morocco, I walked early in the morning to the top of the largest dune, in order to take some nice photos in the light of the beautiful morning sun.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

This time, I felt the dealers in Morocco far less intrusive than then a few years ago, but maybe I was just used to worse African countries by now.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

I felt very safe in Morocco so I would say Marocco is the safest African country except South Africa. At most of the police controls, I was luckily always waved through without having any insurance.
On the ferry Grandi Navi Veloci to Barcelona, however, I met people who were shocked how intrusive the Maroccan people had been.
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

The ferries to Europe don't start from the port in Tanger any more, but from the new port Tanger Med which is located 35 km outside of the large city in Ksar it Seghir at GPS N35°52'44" W05°30'30".
 
With the motorcycle by Morocco

from Barcelona, I followed the beautiful route national through France to Grenoble and Chambery towards Geneve and into French Switzerland. I was lucky with the weather and could enjoy the last 1500 kilometers.
In the Black Forest, I visited some friends near Tennenbronn in Schramberg and realized we do have the most beautiful areas here in Europe. Therefore, we dont have to travel far...
 
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A lot of people ask me: "how much is a trip like that?" I always say "cheaper than to life in Germany". My used motorbike was about 700 Euro, my Garmin Navigation system 100 Euro, an iglu tent you get new for less then 50 Euro and a sleeping bag on the flee marked for 3 Euro. You get waterbottles for free with every coca cola and jerry cans come with every oil change.
Then you only need to calculate the Visa cost (about US$ 100 per country for Egypt, Sudan, Angola, Nigeria and Burkina Faso more, Southafrica, Namibia and Malawi was free for German passport holders), the fuel consume times the distance depending on your vehicle (about 1 Euro per liter, in Sudan less, in Mauritania more) and the farries. Food is really cheap in Africa so no need to calculate. Wild camping is free. I spend 5000.- Euro for two years and 50.000 km on the road including everything like the motorbike, fuel, visa, ferrys and food.
A lot of people make the mistake to spend much more money on their equipment as necessary, because they think they are going on a rallye. That's wrong.
While travelling you don't need a high performance bike, because you want to go slow to see the beauty of the countries. Rather take a bike which doesn't need a computer to delete errors, but can cross Africa with just one oil change (Honda Transalp, AfricaTwin, Suzuki DR or Yamaha XT). You also don't need knobbly tires, because you will carry luggage and therefore you will have enough traction. You will not have a team which will change your tire every day, so rather chose a long lasting tire like the Mitas E-07. There is also no need to buy expensive clothes. Rather take a normal jeans and a normal jacket, so you don't look like you are coming from mars in the poor areas of Africa. If your jeans rips of, you can easily replace them everywhere. You can't change africa, but africa will change you :)
 
Another question is how to deal with thieves in uniform. You cant carry enough cigarettes for all the thieves in Uniform out there haha but what i learned and told my self was:
- Don't ride the biggest BMW and don't look fancy. I always told them my friends are waiting in the next city and i just have enough petrol money to reach it.
- Enjoy the time in the climate controlled police station. Take out your book and make your self comfortable at the chief officers seat. Pretend you have time and like it there then they trough you out.
- Ask them if you can sleep in the police station because you cant afford a hotel.
- Don't understand what they say.
- Take them by their nationality and say you write a blog and people in the neighbor country have been soooo friendly and ask if all people in his country are thieves.
- Just wave back or pretend not to see them and drive on if they wave to stop you. Most of them don't carry guns and only 1 out of 1000 times they came after me with their car and then escorted me to the next petrol station ;-)
- If you have to stop, stop in the middle of the road not on the side so people behind you start honking. Wait for a chance he looks away to talk to them or to stop cars coming the other way then drive on.
- As soon as you stop ask were the next petrol station is. If he points forward say thanks and off you go.
- I just gave out fake / copied documents as mentioned before so if he keeps them to get money i just drove away.
I never harm somebody but sometimes its also nice just to negotiate and pay. It can speed up procedures at boarders (otherwise you wait for hours in the hot sunshine and might still be paying) and you can even do things, which are officially not possible ( enter Peru with a bike that's not on your name / Importing bike on expired Carnet / Expired international Drivers License). Its even cheaper to bribe if they find out then to renew documents every year. Get what ever you want for just 10 Dollars...that's real freedom :-)

 
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