Raid Moto Maroc 2019 – Rally / Enduro Tour

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A group of 4 friends and I decided to tackle a tour across Morocco in the sweltering 40c degree heat. Many of us didn’t really have any experience on enduro motorcycles and none of us had ever done a proper enduro trail. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but all we knew is that we were aching to do it.

We booked a 5-day tour with organizer Raid Moto Maroc, starting from Marrakesh, heading across the Atlas mountains to the Atlantic and then back to Marrakesh again.

We would cover over 700 km, essentially all off-road, across scarcely populated areas.

The highlights video below does a decent job of showing what the tour was about:

We all rode on Betas, ranging from 250cc 2 strokes to 350cc 4 strokes, all the up to 430cc.
As the week went on and experience and confidence were gained, it was amazing to discover the endless capabilities of these machines. It’s hard to realize just how much these bikes can take, and just how inadequate the people riding them are.

Clean and eager to go!

Day 1 was a big learning curve for all; getting used to the bikes and the Moroccan environment. We left the excruciating Marrakesh heat and headed south towards the Atlas mountains in a mix of fast dirt roads and narrow trails. A high-speed accident vs a bridge meant that we were down to 4 guys but fortunately, he was uninjured other than a few bruises and scratches and would be able to continue the following day.
A few limited technical sections allow us to get a taste of light enduro.
That night we camped in a typical Berber riad in a rural town, and let the pain of our sore, untrained bodies sink in.

Amazing views climbing up the Atlas mountains.

Tis but a scratch.

Day 2 we continued along the Atlas mountains West towards the Atlantic ocean. The views were incredible and the roads equally as such; more fast trails and mountain passes, with additional light enduro sections to overcome. The heat and dust were a reoccurring issue that we needed to get accustomed to. The landscape is arid and rocky, but still very beautiful.
In the evening we reached the beaches of Tafedna on the Atlantic and let loose after the arduous day.

Rocky fields destroyed us. The kids made it worth it.

Open beaches, bikes and an afternoon.

Day 3 would be a southern loop around the coast, finishing back in Tafedna for a second night in our gorgeous coastal hotel. We rode along the beaches and cliffs until Imsouane and then back north through the in-land. The weather by the coast was now much fresher and respectable for hard riding. Single tracks, sand, and more light enduro would define the day. Also Donkeys.
Another crash in the late morning resulted in a broken ankle, but this wouldn’t be known until an X-ray in the UK. My friend took the afternoon off to rest but amazingly continued for the remainder of the trip with the boot and bandages acting as a sort of cast.

After getting stuck in a ‘dry’ river.

Left: I’ve never seen anyone so happy to break an ankle. Right: felt bad eating this feast while those around us were on Ramadan.

Awkward band photo.

Sunset over the Atlantic

On Day 4 we continued our journey north to Essaouira along the coast and got a real taste of the sand and desert. High speed riding on beaches mixed with large dune sections to overcome.
Riding in the sand was something completely new for all of us and required a whole new riding mentality. Steering becomes useless and much more attention gets put on the throttle, usually in the form of moar power! Weight distribution and power are the only things which can get you through the sand.
We camped in a secluded and very traditional villa outside of Essaouira, for what would be our final night on the road.

Loitering before hitting the dune section.

A genuine well used by herders for their animals.

Left: cheeky kids! Right: hiding from the heat.

Day 5, our final day, would be a marathon stage of sorts, as we covered 230 km to race back to Marrakesh. Early start, high-speed trails across vast plains and hills; it felt like a true rally raid, where we were racing the clock to get back in time. Fast roads, single-tracks, and light enduro, all mixed together in a long day. There were sections where we wouldn’t stop for a couple of hours and simply crunch the miles across the empty, arid landscape.
It was one of the best but also saddest days as the trip eventually came to an end.

Tired, abused but relieved.

Another Enduro group were spent a few nights with.

Morocco was hot, tough and remote, but its landscapes should be seen to be believed. We were spoilt with incredible panoramas and environments, lovely people and amazing trails with an even better guide, Gilles. Thank you.

I hope to be back someday.

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