From an Edelweiss press release:
Departure from Almería
How often do you get to accompany a desert rallye on a motorcycle? Not too often? Why don’t you come along with our Edelweiss Bike Tuareg Ralley Tour 2017. Make your dreams come true with this unforgettable motorcycle tour. Not only will you ride your motorcycle along some of the legs of the rallye but you will also get to experience the manifold beauty of Morocco and its hospitable inhabitants. While the race drivers will disappear to ride on the difficult pists, our routes will run along on the nearby paved roads. We will be able to see and watch the racers again and again at certain designated areas. After your tour guides have given you an overview of the tour in the welcome briefing at your tour start hotel, there is only thing left to do now – get yourself prepared and your motorcycle packed up for a fascinating rallye tour through Morocco.
Ferry ride from Spain to Morocco
First thing in the morning we will embark the ferry, leaving the south coast of Spain and with the African continent as our destination. We will leave Europe behind us for the next twelve days and get ourselves immersed into the colorful country of Morocco. Our first riding day in Morocco will take us from the coast line right into the Rif mountain range and, later in the afternoon, on some nice and winding roads into the lively ancient city of Fes, one of Morocco’s four imperial cities. Even though we won’t be able to do an extended tour of the medina of Fes, we do recommend you to take at least a little time for a cup of the typical Moroccan mint tea in one of the cafés inside the world’s largest old town and watch the bustling atmosphere inside this maze. Another option would be the sundowner on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the maze of the medina of Fes.
Fes to Midelt
From Fes, our route will take us over the first mountain pass of the Atlas mountain range to Midelt, the place where we will meet the rallye racers for the first time. Here in Midelt you will get the first chance to have a closer look at the race vehicles and also to get in contact with the racers and their teams. Allow yourself getting caught by the ralley bug and enjoy the special bustling atmosphere at the paddocks.
Midelt to the Desert Overnight Stay
Today’s morning ride will mainly run along the roads through the mountains of the Middle Atlas. The Arabic word „Tizi“ means „pass“, hence our winding route will start from Midelt and will lead us on the roads of the Tizi-n-Talrhemt pass into a small village called Rich. Several points along the road allow you to enjoy a magnificent view over the endless plains of the foothills of the Atlas mountains. After a short morning ride we will be arriving at the starting point for the Tuareg Ralley 2017. Here we go, this is the place where the rallye racer’s adrenaline is pumping, all whilst anxiously awaiting the starting signal. Make sure you have your camera ready to take some of the best shots of the rallye’s start. Once the rallye has taken off, we will be vaulting our saddles, too. The village of Rich will be our point of reference to turn westwards for a couple of miles before we turn back south again on a road leading us through beautiful gorges with steep cliffs as well as through some remote villages. You will be amazed by the beauty of the landscape Morocco has to offer same as by the friendly and hospitable people who are standing at the side of the road, waving at you just because of mere excitement to see a group of motorcylists passing by. By reaching the small village of Goulmima we leave the Atlas mountains behind and are headed towards our desert camp near Erfoud and towards the Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s part of the Sahara desert. To get into our desert camp we will need to change to a vehicle more adequate for the ride on the remaining few couple of miles of sandy roads.
Desert Overnight Stay to Merzouga
Spending a night in the desert will make your Morocco stay complete. Together with your first hand experiencing of the Rallye, this overnight stay in the desert, for sure, will make for an unforgettable experience. After we watched the rallye racers at their passage check point the next morning, we will continue our journey to Merzouga at the edge of the Erg Chebbi, one of the last oases before the Algerian border and a popular base for all those who start their rides into the sand dunes. But before we will finally come to Merzouga, we will pay the town of Rissani a visit. Rissani is a perfect place to experience the colorful hustle and bustle of a typical Arabic souk. We also stop here for lunch so that you will have enough time to browse around the place for some typical Moroccan souvenirs. You will probably also notice that the people here in the southern part of Morocco are completely different in their appearance, compared to the people living in the north of the country. We have arrived in the country of the Moroccan berber tribes now, and this can be easily spotted by the looks of their faces and their way of dressing. In Merzouga you can choose to spend the rest of the day by either enjoying a leisurely free afternoon at the hotel or by joining us on our three mile’s ride to the ralley driver’s passage check point.
Merzouga Kings Days
The kingsdays of the Tuareg Rallye 2017 are scheduled for today! If you want to witness one of the most demanding and hardest parts of the Rallye, you shouldn’t miss this supreme discipline, which is taking place in the sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi. No matter, which vehicle, each rallye driver will be here to challenge the dunes in this huge natural sandbox. Considering the temperatures and the sandy ground they are driving on, this day for sure will be one of the hardest for the participants. We, however, can stay relaxed and watch the racket from the distance. For those among you, who are interested in seeing some Moroccan cultural art, we offer an optional side trip to the famous „stairways to heaven“ and the „Orion City“. These are sculptures, created by the German artist Hansjörg Voth, who has erected them in the middle of the desert area of the Marha plains west of Erfoud. The fact alone that those archaic sculptures, sooner or later, will be subject to deterioration because of the material the artist used for the construction, should turn these sights into a must-see on your bucket list.
Merzouga Dune Race
This morning you should take your choices – camel or motorcycle? Not an easy one at all! Should you decide for the camel ride through the desert, you will be awarded with a nice lunch in a typical beduine tent. For sure, the ride through the quietness of the desert is a special experience you shouldn’t be missing out on. And who knows, maybe you will have an even better view of the Tuareg Rallye from the camel. As an alternative we offer you a motorcycle ride on a loop in the vicinity, passing by the different rallye check points.
Today will be our last day in the area of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. And it also will be an especially challenging day for the race drivers, since the finish of the day will be held in motocross style – today’s finishing line will be on top of the 660 ft. high landmark sand dune, called „house dune“. There will probably be no better place to shoot some of the best rallye pictures. We start the day early in the morning from our hotel and then it is your choice to either take the 2 mile’s walk and hike up the sand dune or, alternatively, take either the camel or the shuttle, which both take you directly to the sand dune. But no matter whether you watch the motorcyclists, battling their way up to the finishing line, from the foothill of the sand dune or from the top. Either way it will be a unique experience for you, which you surely will always remember.
Merzouga to Midelt
For a last time we let our eyes roam over the beauty of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes in the moring sun rise, before we direct our motorcycles back north again. The rallye racers, too, will be headed north and we still get to follow them for another two days. After we have passed by the city of Erfoud, the Moroccan capital of date production, we will have the opportunity to enjoy a cooling-down in the waters of the oasis of the Blue Source of Meski. Amidst this desert area a fountain releases fresh water into a nearby basin. So don’t forget to bring along your bathing togs. Our route continues through the Grand Canyon-like Ziz Valley, at the end of which we will find the famous Legionnaire’s Tunnel. Even though it is only a very small tunnel, it is, in fact, a true highlight. In the years 1927/28 the foreign legionnaires thrusted this tunnel into the solid red granite rock. The actual reason for the tunnel to be built was as simple as the River Ziz, which is running along the gorge. A sign at the northern end says: „The rocks have barred their way. The order says that they should make their way over the mountains nevertheless. And so the legionnaires did.“ At the south end another sign says: „This tunnel has been built by 40 legionnaires within 6 months, by the mere power of their muscles and by their indomitable desire to do so.“ Another pass the race drivers will need to overcome is the Boiler Pass, including some of the most challenging legs of the Tuareg Rallye. In some parts, the motorcyclists need to fight their way over terrain strewn with big rocks. You can go and watch the racket going on, on this leg of the race, at close range by taking a 30 minute walk. Our riding day, including a nice ride over the winding mountain roads of Tizi-n-Talrhemt pass, will end in Midelt again.
Midelt to Saidia
Today will be our last riding day in Morocco and, of course, we want to make the most out of it. For a last time we will get to taste the real rallye feeling and to experience one more time accompanying the rallye racers on the race. This time, however, we will start our engines as early as the race drivers themselves. We, too, will get up in the very early morning, to start our riding day on the road, still in darkness and just like the racers do. We will be challenging those wonderfully winding pass roads over the Atlas mountains into the towns of Debdou and Taourirt and until Saidia at the Moroccan coast line. The same place the Tuareg Rallye 2017 will finish today. Our riding day will end in time so that we will be ready to give the race riders an adequate welcome at the finishing line at the Saidia marina. A true race rallye finish, of course, requires an adequate celebration. This is why we wouldn’t want to miss enjoying the fantastic atmosphere of the show finish and the award ceremony in the evening, together with the participants of the Tuareg Rallye.
Saidia to Almería
Today we need to say „good bye Morocco“ or as they say in Arabic „Ma al salama, Al Magrib“. A last short ride along the Moroccan coast line leads us directly to the landing where we will roll with our motorcycles onto the ferry to the other side, from Morocco back to Spain, back into European realms.
Departure from Almería
The team of Edelweiss Bike Travel says ‘thank you’ for having taken part in this extraordinary journey!
At a glance
|DURATION:||14 days vacation, 12 riding days|
|ROUTE:||Total distance: 0-350 km, 0-217 miles |
Daily distances: 150-200 km, 93-124 miles
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Comfortable middle-class and luxury hotels and kasbahs.|
|MINIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS:||10|
Visit the Edelweiss website for more information and to sign up.