The following is
a resume by Christa Clutson from Winchester following her recent
Morocco Atlas Mountains
Raid Motorbike trip on her BMW 1200 Cruiser in October
2004 (published in 'The BMW Club Journal' February 2005)
This little ditty is
dedicated to all those who thought that the BMW 1200 Cruiser
was for transport to Sunday Pub lunches or the hairdresser -
believe me, they are made for much sterner stuff!!
Rainstorms, Sandstorms, plagues of Locust and washed out roads
were all encountered and overcome during a 4 thousand mile trip
from Winchester to the very edge of the Western Sahara in Southern
Morocco - and all in 17 days!
Such was the achievements of men (and two women!) on the recent
SPC sponsored Adventure to the Sahara which was organised by
Simply getting to the North African Port of Tangiers was an
adventure in itself - but once we left the bureaucracy of importing
the bikes into the "Dark Continent" and survived the
mayhem that was Tangiers traffic at night - the fun really began.
A quiet and comfortable hotel in Asliah with views of the coast
and sea greeted us all on the first morning, setting the bench
mark for accommodation for the rest of the trip.
Heading South East towards the Algerian Border, the landscape
changed dramatically from sweet smelling citrus fruit orchards
through scrub and on to the red Sandstone colours that dominates
the Western Sahara.
We all very soon settled into the daily routine of out on the
road by 09:00 hrs following the agreed route, meet up for a
light lunch at a point of interest before launching off on the
afternoon leg of the trip. Book into the Hotel for the evening,
followed by a daily debrief on the days ride and more importantly,
the following day's programme.
The food was local, plentiful though sometimes "interesting"
but always more than adequate. Accommodation varied from 5 star
to the most wonderful Berber 'Auberge' at the head of the Todra
Gorge. With little light pollution so far into the Atlas Mountains,
the night sky was simply spectacular - and free!
At Tinerhir we turned West following the old Silk route towards
Ouarzazate and on to Marrakech. This wonderful City deserved
more than a fleeting glance and the itinerary called for a free
day to enjoy the sights and sounds. A guided tour of the City
was arranged and thoroughly enjoyed by all. The ancient Kasbah
was both a treat and an education, long gone are the days when
tourists were hassled and pestered into making a purchase.
For me, Marrakech was a highlight of the trip and one that will
no doubt draw me back again at some point in the future. From
Marrakech, we headed South West over the "Tizi 'n Test"
road pass to the Berber town of Tafraoute. The pass was an adventure
in itself, 26 miles of snaking tarmac from the summit to the
valley below, a series of switchbacks and "S" bends
that would shame the best that Switzerland could ever boast.
On the Tafraoute, nestling at the bottom of a deep valley, surrounded
by the beauty and majesty that is the Anti Atlas Mountains.
Here we enjoyed the second of our free days in an unspoiled
ancient Berber market town. The sights, smells and colours are
almost an assault on the senses - the "Time Difference"
being measured in centuries rather than hours!
Each of us left Tafraoute with a momento - for some it was an
exquisite carpet for others a locally made pair of slippers
or a Tagine - but non of us could have failed to have been impressed
by its simple beauty.
Tafroute was the most southerly point of our journey and from
here on the route tooks us northwards, through the Portuguese
coastal town of Essaouria followed by a marathon trip of 460
miles past Casablanca to return to our original hotel in Asliah.
By this time, the travel hardened group breezed through Tangier
and the return trip to the Spanish mainland was almost an anti
And so - back to the Spanish port of Santander and a relaxing
cruise to the UK. Nothing had changed at Plymouth - it was still
A few interesting statistics - as a group we covered some 80.000
BMW "Bike"-miles, the damage was just one puncture
and one leaking Gearbox output oil seal, the latter being considerate
enough to fail just outside of Santander on the return leg.
One question remains:
would we want to join such an adventure again?
the answer being: DEFINITELY !!!
a n d sharing the adventure with the same organiser and group
of people who were great to be with!
Christa Clutson, Winchester
Atlas Mountains Raid October 2004
Photos by John Fulton
& Brigitte Lucas
our Morocco Atlas Mountains Raid Tour Description