One from the best activities in the High Atlas Mountain included the red city of Marrakech, cycling, hiking and visit the Historical monuments in Marrakech.
Easy hiking and easy biking in the great landscape of High Atlas…
DAY 1: We’ll meet at our own private Riad in the heart of Marrakech. A riad is a residence traditionally built around an open courtyard. Ours has been masterfully renovated into a small hotel. Every room is different and one of them hides a staircase to the rooftop. Be sure to go up for the bird’s eye view of the lively city surrounding us.
We’re staying in the medina, the historic city center surrounded by ancient red walls and filled with narrow alleys. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the medina.
Marrakech’s most famous square and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Jemaa el Fna. Snake charmers, music makers, and acrobatic tumblers mix here among the food stalls selling fresh-squeezed orange juice, deep-fried fish, and sautéed snails. Moroccans love a spectacle and you can’t help being drawn into the huge circus as you explore the most vibrant piazza in the world. 0 miles.
DAY 2: After breakfast, we’ll pick up our bicycles at the only Giant bike dealer in all of Africa. Then we’ll test them on a warm-up ride through the outskirts of the city, called the Palmerie. Considered the Beverly Hills of Marrakech, the Palmerie is full of fancy villas hidden down dirt roads behind tall palm trees.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll visit the Majorelle Gardens. It took 40 years for the French painter Jacques Majorelle to create this beautiful refuge in the heart of the city. Yves Saint Laurent then saved it from demolition 40 years later. We’ll return to the medina in time to further explore the souks – the labyrinth of alleys and little shops. 11 miles.
DAY 3: After breakfast, we’ll shuttle out of the city and onto the Kik Plateau. You’ll marvel at the beautiful snow-peaked High Atlas Mountains in the distance as we unload the bikes. Then you’ll start cycling down into the lush Ouirgane Valley. After a stop for a picnic lunch, we’ll arrive at our beautiful inn where we stay for the next three nights. Surrounded by verdant hills covered with olive trees and orange groves, it will feel like paradise, especially after the frenzied pace of Marrakech. 19 miles.
DAY 4: You’ll probably consider today’s ride the most beautiful of the tour. We’ll ride upstream through the gorge created by the Nfis River to the small village of Ijoukak. The road will twist, turn, rise and fall as we cycle up the valley.
At the end of the ride, we’ll have lunch and learn about life in rural Morocco. Afterward, we’ll take a short shuttle to the Tin Mal Mosque, one of only two mosques non-Muslims can enter in Morocco. The beautiful monument dating from 1153 has been partially restored and its rows of pink arches are stunning. Then you can cycle or shuttle back to our inn. 24 or 48 miles.
DAY 5: We take the day off from cycling to explore the valley on foot. We’ll hike on unpaved jeep tracks and wooded trails past salt mines and a dam. After lunch at a small restaurant, you can walk back to our inn and enjoy a massage, steam bath or the cozy warmth from one of the four fireplaces in the lobby. 0 miles.
DAY 6: We say good-bye to the valley this morning and cycle over a hill, where the land becomes markedly arider. We’ll have a picnic lunch, cycle through the town of Amizmiz, and then shuttle the last few miles to our camp in the Agafay Desert.
Our lodging tonight is most likely different from any you’ve ever experienced. Surrounded by barren rock, our tents are expertly furnished with beautiful rugs and stylish furniture. There is no electricity, so we’ll eat by candlelight after we’ve enjoyed our sunset camel ride. 20 or 27 miles.
DAY 7: We’ll rise with the sun, enjoy breakfast al fresco and then make our way to Essaouira. We’ll stop at a women’s cooperative that specializes in making products out of argan oil. Known for its healthful properties, the oil is extracted from small seeds that women individually and arduously crack by hand.
We’ll end our drive on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and begin our last bike ride on a beautifully paved road through the sand dunes. Watch for the goats that stand in the argan trees, searching for their favorite fruit. You may also see a camel or two.
We’re staying in the Essaouira medina. You can explore the beautiful ancient city on your own tonight, as dinner is on your own. 13 miles.
DAY 8: We’ll divide into two groups today. While the first group is learning to cook Moroccan style, the other group will enjoy a guided walking tour. We’ll come together for lunch and to relish the delicious tagines prepared during the morning cooking class. The second group will take the hands-on pastry class in the afternoon. We’ll end the evening with our last dinner together accompanied by live Moroccan music. 0 miles.
DAY 9: We’ll head to Marrakech after breakfast, arriving by noon. We’ll say our goodbyes, and you can catch your flight home or a train to the Casablanca airport. 0 miles.
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