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Explore Morocco’s famous Atlas Mountains as you descend by bike among breathtaking scenery.
Cycling the Atlas Descent
1. The first descent from Tizi Mlil
It’s impossible to think of a more perfect introduction to mountain biking in Morocco. You first swing your leg over a bike at the top of the Tizi Mlil Pass (1889m), this amazing descent is neither steep or overly technical but with its steady gradient, long sweeping corners and breathtaking views across the Anti Atlas mountains it is one you will remember long after returning home.
Whether it is chicken, lamb, beef or veggie, there is nothing more satisfying than lifting the lid off a steaming hot tagine after a day’s cycling in the mountains. Add a large pile of fluffy couscous and you have the perfect recovery meal!
3. Putting on summer cycling kit (in the winter)
The best time to cycle through the Atlas is October through to March. Normally at this time of year the Brits are cycling with full-length tights, gloves, base layers and very cold ears! But you don’t need to take a long haul flight to find winter sun, only 4 hours from London and you can pull on your favourite summer kit. Just don’t forget your sun cream.
4. Single track trails!
Most of the descents on this adventure are on wide, flowing, rocky pistes, but on some days you can choose to take on more technical single-track paths if you fancy a challenge. These are by no means well-groomed bike park trails; imagine steep, rocky natural goat tracks guaranteed to get your heart racing and forearms aching.
5. High five!
Somehow, the kids who live in the remote Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains have an incredible ability to know when a group of cyclists are about to pass through. Approaching any small town you can see kids running out on to the street and lining up by the side off the road, arms outstretched and shouting high five!
6. Goats in trees
No you’re not imagining it; there are goats in that tree! Driving through the Sousse Valley you pass hundreds of Argan trees, but every few miles there will be one or two trees with more than just berries on its branches. Sometimes up to four meters off the ground, you will see several goats balancing on precariously thin branches. It is well worth stopping for a picture!
7. The surreal blue rocks
It is hard to work out what is more impressive; the giant boulders seemingly balancing on top of each other or the fact that someone has taken the time to hand paint them blue. Either way, this is a sight not to be missed and you can even cycle part of the way up to them.
8. The orange glow
The High and Anti Atlas Mountains of Morocco are truly stunning. When the early morning sun hits the damp rocks, the orange colour is heightened and the mountains start to glow. The hotel in Tafraoute is in the perfect location to take in this epic scene, grab an early morning coffee and head out to the terrace, you will not be disappointed.
9. 40km downhill!
This tour is full of amazing riding, but if there is one part that really stands out it has to be the final 40km descent to the Atlantic Ocean. The perfect end to a fantastic trip, this descent is so long you even stop for lunch halfway down.
10. Ending by the sea
There is no better way to celebrate an amazing week of cycling through northern Africa than running into the cool Atlantic Ocean and catching some rays on the beach.
Convinced? Check out our Atlas Descent adventure below.