Atlas to Sahara Desert MTB 9-day tour

29 August, 2023

Atlas to Sahara Desert MTB 9-day tour

Embark on a remarkable 9-day journey as you immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of Morocco on the Atlas to Sahara mountain bike tour. This adventure is tailor-made for adventurous souls seeking to discover the High Atlas Mountains and the sprawling beauty of the Sahara Desert. From the bustling city of Marrakech, your expedition unfolds, promising a fusion of heart-pounding biking escapades and captivating cultural encounters.

Your voyage commences in Marrakech, a city brimming with history and vibrancy. As you venture into the High Atlas Mountains, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rugged peaks and stunning vistas. Descending along the enchanting Draa Valley, each pedal stroke unveils the breathtaking panorama that stretches before you. The journey isn’t merely about the biking; it’s a passage through time, history, and the lives of the Berber communities that call these mountains home.

The route winds through traditional Berber villages, offering an authentic glimpse into the daily lives of these resilient people. En route, you’ll visit iconic treasures like the Kasbah Telouat and the renowned Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou. These ancient fortresses, steeped in history, stand as testaments to Morocco’s rich past. Amidst the exhilarating bike rides, you’ll pause for mint tea breaks—more than just refreshment, these moments are a testament to the legendary Berber hospitality, as locals open their homes and hearts to share a cup of warmth.

As you traverse the remote outposts of the desert, the landscape evolves, gradually surrendering to the captivating allure of the Sahara. The golden dunes stretch like an ocean of sand, inviting you to explore its mysteries. Each day brings fresh revelations, whether it’s the thrill of conquering challenging trails or the serene moments of connection with the land and its people.

9 Days / 8 Nights
Guided tour, 2-12 person group size
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate | Mountain bike
At a glance

For the intrepid mountain bikers who seek more than just a journey, the Atlas to Sahara tour is a symphony of adventure, culture, and self-discovery. It’s a canvas painted with the hues of Morocco’s diverse terrain and the indomitable spirit of its inhabitants. This isn’t just a biking trip; it’s an odyssey of a lifetime that will leave you with memories etched in your heart forever.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.


Day 1: Arrival in Marrakech

Your Atlas to Sahara mountain bike tour kicks off with an exciting arrival in Marrakech. As you step off the plane, a sense of anticipation and adventure fills the air. The welcoming team is poised to meet you at the airport, ready to guide you through the first steps of your journey.

Marrakech, a city steeped in history and allure, unfolds before you. The bustling streets, vibrant markets, and intricate architecture reflect the vibrant soul of Morocco. As you’re transferred to your hotel or Riad in the heart of the Medina, you’ll be enveloped in the city’s captivating atmosphere.

Your accommodations, nestled within the labyrinthine alleys of the Medina, offer a glimpse into the authentic way of life that characterizes Marrakech. The sounds, scents, and sights of the bustling streets are just a stone’s throw away, promising an immersive introduction to Moroccan culture.

After check-in, you might have some time to unwind, explore the surroundings, or simply soak in the ambiance. Whether you choose to wander the bustling streets, enjoy a leisurely mint tea in a local café, or marvel at the intricate details of the Riad’s architecture, the spirit of Marrakech is sure to captivate you from the moment you arrive.

As the sun sets and paints the city in warm hues, you might choose to venture out to the vibrant Jemaa el-Fnaa square—a spectacle of street performances, food stalls, and cultural vibrancy. Your first day sets the stage for the adventures to come, offering a taste of the enchanting blend of modernity and tradition that defines Morocco.

Day 2: Marrakech to Kasbah Ait Benhaddou via Kasbah Telouet

As the sun gently rises over the ochre city of Marrakech, your day unfurls with promises of enchanting landscapes and cultural marvels. Today, your expedition takes you from the vibrant heart of Marrakech to the UNESCO-designated gem, Ait Benhaddou, through a tapestry of history and nature.

Leaving Marrakech behind, your journey begins by venturing into the dramatic High Atlas Mountains. Traverse the winding roads as you ascend the Tizi N’Tichka mountain pass at 2260 meters, offering panoramic views that command your admiration. The journey is a testament to Morocco’s diverse topography, leading you from the bustling city to the serenity of the mountains in mere hours.

Your first stop is at the Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet—a historic gem that whispers tales of Morocco’s past. Explore the intricate architecture and imagine the stories that echo through its walls.

From here, your adventure takes a thrilling turn. You embark on your bicycles, each pedal stroke infused with the spirit of discovery. The small Berber villages you pass through offer glimpses into the lives of these resilient people, showcasing their traditions and welcoming spirit.

As you meander through the captivating Ounila Valley, the scenery shifts with each turn of your wheels. The landscapes unfold like a living canvas, presenting you with views that linger in memory.

At last, you arrive at the mesmerizing Kasbah village of Ait Benhaddou. A testament to centuries of history, this fortified village stands as an iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, its earthen structures mirroring the hues of the surrounding desert. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a storybook as you explore the labyrinthine alleys and intricate details of this ancient marvel.

As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the Kasbah, you’ll rest for the night in Ait Benhaddou. The tales of your journey thus far are etched into the landscapes you’ve traversed, and the mysteries of Morocco’s past are embedded in the very walls that shelter you tonight.

Day 3: Oases of Skoura - From Ait Benhaddou to Skoura's Palms

As the sun casts its golden rays upon the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou, you set out to unravel more of Morocco’s remarkable heritage and landscapes. The fortified city, a treasure recognized by UNESCO, stands as a testament to centuries of history and culture.

In the morning, the ochre hues of Ait Benhaddou’s clay buildings come alive under the sunlight. UNESCO’s acknowledgment of its significance as a World Heritage Site in 1987 only adds to its allure. You’ll walk its labyrinthine alleys, tracing the footsteps of those who have walked here through the ages. Ait Benhaddou’s charm extends beyond its own history, having served as a backdrop for iconic films such as “Game of Thrones” and “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Your journey then takes you to a new chapter as you’re transferred to the village of Ghassate. Here, your mountain bikes become your companions as you embark on an exhilarating ride through the stone desert. The landscapes unfurl like an ever-changing tapestry, and the wind carries whispers of the stories etched into these lands.

As you pedal your way through the barren beauty, the contrast of the Skoura oasis emerges on the horizon. This verdant haven is a marvel, a living testament to the ingenuity of the people who have thrived amidst the arid surroundings. Skoura’s palm grove presents an enchanting sight, the swaying palms offering respite and sustenance in the midst of the desert.

The highlight of your journey through Skoura is the visit to Kasbah Amridil. This architectural masterpiece offers insights into the lives of those who once resided within its walls, and as you wander through its chambers, you’ll feel the echoes of a bygone era.

The tales of resilience and the harmony of life in the oasis unfold before your eyes, and you’ll find yourself immersed in the intricate layers of Morocco’s past and present. As the day draws to a close, you’ll rest in Skoura, your dreams intertwining with the rustling palms and the stories that echo through the oasis.

Day 4: From Kelaa Mgouna to Dades Gorges - Nomadic Encounters and Canyon Beauty

With the dawn’s first light, your journey continues, weaving a tapestry of cultural encounters and natural wonders. The day ahead promises to be a fascinating blend of history, tradition, and the breathtaking beauty of the Moroccan landscape.

Departing from the lush palm oases of Skoura, your path leads you through the captivating Taslmante Valley. The landscape shifts as you pedal forward, unveiling the striking contrast between the verdant palms and the rugged terrain.

As you journey through the Boutgherar region, you’ll come across an ancient troglodyte settlement—an emblem of the ingenuity and resilience of generations past. These caves, handed down through families, are a testament to a unique way of life intricately intertwined with the land. The troglodyte dwellings offer a glimpse into history, where people carved homes into the very rock that sustains them.

Amidst the beauty of the Taslmante Valley, you might be fortunate to encounter nomadic Berber families who have preserved their ancestral lifestyle for generations. The chance to interact, share stories, and partake in a refreshing cup of mint tea is a privilege, offering a deep connection to the traditions that shape this land.

As you bid farewell to these nomadic communities, the road takes you onward to the captivating Dades Gorges. This rugged canyon, carved by the hands of time, is a testament to the earth’s sculpting power. The sheer rock walls stand tall, guarding the secrets of this geological wonder.

Your day’s journey concludes in Ait Youl, a destination that echoes with the stories of the lands you’ve traversed. As the sun sets behind the canyon walls, painting the skies with hues of orange and pink, you’ll find comfort in the thought that your footprints now mingle with those of the generations that came before.

Day 5: From Jbel Saghro to N’Kob - Canyon Adventures to Oasis Bliss

With the promise of new horizons and untamed beauty, you continue your odyssey through Morocco’s captivating landscapes. Today’s journey takes you from the rugged embrace of Jbel Saghro to the welcoming oasis town of N’Kob, a tale of contrasts and harmonious coexistence.

Your day’s path unfolds through the dramatic Dades Valley, a treasure trove nestled between the imposing High Atlas Mountains and the enigmatic Jbel Saghro Mountains. As you pedal, the mountains seem to whisper stories of ages past, and the wind carries their echoes through the air.

The ascent into the Jbel Saghro Mountains is both exhilarating and rewarding. Crossing the Tizi N’Tzazert pass at 2200 meters, you’re treated to panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Each turn brings forth new landscapes, unveiling the grandeur of the land in every direction.

As you descend from the heights of the pass, the Berber oasis town of N’Kob emerges before you. This tranquil haven rests at the foot of the Jbel Saghro Mountains, an embodiment of the age-old connection between life and the land. The palm groves offer shade and sustenance, standing in stark contrast to the rugged mountains that cradle this oasis.

N’Kob is a town that exudes authenticity, a reflection of the Berber way of life. The alleys wind their way through the town, inviting you to explore and discover the hidden treasures within. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll encounter the people who call N’Kob home, their warmth and hospitality leaving an indelible mark on your heart.

As the day surrenders to the dusk, you’ll find yourself embraced by the tranquil charm of N’Kob. The stars overhead seem to dance in harmony with the palms below, and you’ll rest knowing that you’ve journeyed through canyons, crossed mountains, and found solace in the heart of an oasis—a day that encapsulates Morocco’s essence in its purest form.

Day 6: From Draa Valley to Zagora - Dromedaries and Desert Magic

As the sun casts its warm glow over the desert town of N’Kob, you embark on a day that promises to be a symphony of contrasts and enchantment. Today’s journey will lead you through rocky landscapes, honey fields, and the fascinating history of a town that was once a gateway to the Sahara.

Leaving N’Kob behind, your bicycles carry you on gravel roads that meander through the heart of nature’s rugged beauty. The rocky landscapes unfold like a living tapestry, each turn offering new vistas to explore. Alongside the river, fields of honey and watermelons extend, their vibrant hues standing in stark contrast to the surrounding terrain.

The river’s life-giving presence is a true miracle, transforming the arid landscape into a haven of growth. As you ride, you’ll witness this transition firsthand—the lifeline that shapes the very nature of the land.

A coffee break in Zagora, the provincial capital, offers a moment of respite and reflection. This town, steeped in history, was once a starting point for caravans embarking on the arduous journey across the Sahara to Timbuktu in Mali. The echoes of those caravans still resonate in the air, a reminder of the extraordinary feats of human determination.

A change in mode of transport adds a layer of authenticity to your journey. Dromedaries, the “ships of the desert,” become your companions as you leave the cars behind. The short ride on these remarkable creatures offers a glimpse into the challenges and wonders of traversing the Sahara.

As you journey deeper into the desert, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering sand dunes—a scene straight out of a dream. The authentic desert camp beckons with the promise of an unforgettable night under the starry expanse. The vastness of the desert invites contemplation, and as you lay beneath the heavens, you’ll feel a profound connection to the universe.

The day’s journey has woven together history, nature’s miracles, and the magic of the desert. The dunes that cradle you tonight are a testament to the timeless beauty of the Sahara, a place where stories have been whispered in the sand for centuries.

Day 7: From Draa Valley to Marrakech - Oasis Journey and Return Home

As the sun begins to illuminate the vast desert expanse, your journey takes on a bittersweet tone—a blend of the last bike stage and the nostalgia of impending farewells. Today, you’ll weave your way through the lush oases of the Draa Valley, a symphony of palms and waterways that tell tales of life’s tenacity in the desert.

Setting off from your desert camp, your bicycles become your steeds once more, carrying you through a landscape of captivating beauty. The Draa Valley is a true oasis, its countless palm trees stretching out like a verdant carpet amidst the arid surroundings.

Pedaling from oasis to oasis, the very heart of the Draa Valley reveals itself to you. Each village tells its own story, a tale of survival and thriving amidst the challenges of the desert. As the wheels turn, the Draa River accompanies you on your journey, its waters nourishing life along its path.

The Draa River’s journey mirrors your own, flowing from the Dades Valley through the reservoir in Ouarzazate, and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. The river’s length of over 1100 kilometers is a testament to its enduring spirit, a force that shapes the landscapes it touches.

In the spring, the valley transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, as vegetables flourish in the fertile soil of the Wadi Draa. In the autumn, the landscape is adorned with the sweet and ripe dates that nourish both body and soul.

After a morning of cycling through this oasis wonderland, you’ll gather for a well-deserved lunch—a moment of shared stories and shared experiences.

As the day progresses, a transfer awaits to take you back to Marrakech, the city that witnessed the beginning of your journey. Passing through Ouarzazate, a town that holds a piece of your heart, you’ll reflect on the vast landscapes, the encounters, and the memories that have woven themselves into the fabric of your trip.

The road back to Marrakech is a journey of reflection, a time to savor the experiences you’ve collected and the moments you’ve cherished. Each mile traversed brings you closer to the city that welcomed you with open arms—a place that you’ve come to know and love.

The desert’s magic will linger in your heart, and as you return to Marrakech, you’ll carry the essence of your journey with you. The vibrant city, once unfamiliar, now feels like an old friend, ready to embrace you once again. As you bid farewell to the road and your trusty bicycles, you’ll find solace in the knowledge that the memories you’ve made will forever be etched in your heart.

Day 8: Explore Marrakech - Unveiling the Southern Pearl

As the sun rises over Marrakech, a new chapter of your journey begins—one that doesn’t involve bicycles but rather an exploration of the city’s vibrant heart. Today, you’ll dive deep into the cultural tapestry of Marrakech, discovering its rich history and captivating charm.

Leaving your bicycles behind for the day, you’ll set out on a guided tour of Marrakech, often referred to as the “Southern Pearl” of Morocco. The city’s allure lies in its ability to seamlessly blend tradition with modernity, history with contemporary life.

Your adventure commences with a visit to a palace—a place where the stories of Morocco’s rulers and their legacies unfold. The palace’s intricate architecture and opulent details stand as a testament to the grandeur of a bygone era.

Next on your itinerary are the Saadian Tombs, a serene resting place that holds the memories of generations past. As you walk through the tranquil surroundings, you’ll feel a deep sense of connection to the history that has shaped this city.

The 69-meter Koutoubia Mosque stands as a towering beacon, an iconic landmark that presides over the city. The history and significance of this magnificent structure will be unveiled as you stand in its shadow.

Your journey then leads you to the bustling Djeema el-Fna square—a microcosm of Marrakech’s vibrant energy. Here, shops and stalls come alive, offering an array of goods that tantalize the senses. This is the perfect place to practice your bargaining skills as you immerse yourself in the market’s dynamic atmosphere.

The exploration continues as you venture into the souk—a treasure trove of delights. Mounds of spices release their fragrant aromas, intricately woven Berber carpets invite admiration, and hand-crafted leather goods beg to be touched. Amidst the lively ambiance, tantalizing food stalls offer a feast for the eyes and the palate.

As you traverse the streets of Marrakech, the city’s stories come alive, interwoven with the vibrant fabrics of daily life. The day’s journey through the markets, mosques, and palaces paints a vivid picture of Morocco’s past and present, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the culture that has shaped this mesmerizing city.

As the sun sets and the stars twinkle above Marrakech, you’ll carry the memories of this exploration with you—a day filled with insights, encounters, and the magic that makes Marrakech a city like no other.

Day 9: Departure from Marrakech - A Farewell to Morocco

As the sun rises on the final day of your journey, a mix of emotions fills the air—gratitude for the experiences shared, nostalgia for the places explored, and a sense of fulfillment from the adventure that has unfolded. Today marks your departure from Marrakech, but the memories you’ve collected will remain etched in your heart.

Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast in the Riad—a final taste of the Moroccan flavors that have accompanied you throughout your journey. The Riad, once a haven within the bustling Medina, has become a sanctuary of comfort and culture, symbolizing the essence of your time in Morocco.

With breakfast concluded, you’ll have some spare time before your transfer to the airport. This window offers a last opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrancy or perhaps indulge in a final stroll through the souk. The alleys are alive with the colors, sounds, and scents that have become familiar over the past days.

You might choose to capture a few more moments of Marrakech’s beauty or find a last-minute souvenir to carry back home—a tangible reminder of the adventure that has left an indelible mark on your journey.

As the time for departure approaches, your transfer to Marrakech’s airport will be arranged. The streets, the Riad, the bustling markets—all of these have become part of your story, and now you prepare to bid them farewell.

With your bags packed and your heart full of memories, you’ll step onto the road that leads you back home. The landscapes you’ve traversed, the cultures you’ve embraced, and the connections you’ve forged will remain with you, woven into the fabric of your being.

As you board your flight, take a moment to reflect on the voyage you’ve undertaken—an exploration of Morocco’s diverse landscapes, a journey through history and culture, and an adventure that has rekindled your spirit. And as you soar through the skies, you’ll carry the legacy of Morocco’s magic—a journey that will continue to inspire and enrich your life for years to come.


Airport Transfers

Transport from/to Marrakech

2 Nights in a Marrakech hotel on BB

Accommodation during the trip

English Tour Guide

All meals during the trip

Assistance car during the trip

Not Included

Travel Insurance


Private Expenses

Additional drinks and meals

Bike hire*


*available to rent from our bike shop

Essential Equipment*

Normal daily clothes

Padded cycling shorts and gloves

Breathable top or cycling jersey

Sunglasses/eye protection

Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling


Long cycling trousers

Warmer layers for earlier departures

Sun cream

Water bottle or Camelback

Energy gels/Energy bars

*we recommend packing the following items

Morocco Bike & Ski Tours,

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