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There’s no doubt that on two wheels as opposed to four, the visceral connection one feels to the natural world is that much more immediate…and intoxicating. As the American author Robert Pirsig puts it: “In a car you’re always in a compartment and because you’re used to it, you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. On a cycle the frame is gone…you’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming”.
Riding mainly off road, and following tracks and pistes, this is a chance to travel through the High Atlas Mountains and small desert towns with exotic names - Foum-Zguid, Tazanakht, Bou Trarar – across dry lake beds and classic desert dune landscapes or the impressive gorges and switchbacks of the Draa Valley and Dades Gorge.
Desert country presents an intriguing paradox and to a traveller the very incompatibility with life in this landscape seems to create an irresistible appeal; unless you’re either a scorpion, beetle or at best a camel, you really shouldn’t be here.
But from the comfort of an exotic Berber Bivouac or watching the sunrise from the top of a dune, this is easy to overlook. And on a bike, you achieve the perfect balance of contact with the environment (hopefully not too much) combined with the luxury of enough speed to have regular changes of scenery.
And the pattern of human life in these epic mountains and deserts reinforces the sense that man’s foothold here (albeit centuries old and steeped in history) is in reality ephemeral. Viewed from soaring mountain passes, small towns appear like patches of lichen clinging to the rocks in the valleys of these monolithic landscapes.
Morocco is almost impossibly alluring; just 3 hours flying time from London, you can find your self immersed not only in dramatic and wild landscapes, but also a deeply appealing culture refreshingly unlike our own.
Alex has been travelling to Africa for the last 20 years, living and working in some of the wildest parts of East Africa as a safari guide and bush pilot for 10 of those years. His knowledge of the lesser-visited parts of Tanzania, which were home for...