Sideburn has a growing female following so we feel it is a good time to offer one of our beloved Morocco desert adventures as a women-only trip. We’ve never tried this before, we don’t know any company that has, in Morocco at least. So even though this is a tried and tested trip, it’s also an experiment. We're not sure if there are enough women riders out there itching for this kind of adventure, so there’s only one way to find out. Here’s the dealio.
Sideburn partners with Moto Aventures, a specialist company who has been running Morocco trips for over 20 years. By joining the Moto Aventurers’ Sideburn trip you benefit from being in a group of likeminded individuals all on the same wavelength, so even if you sign up on your own you’re going to be in a group of new friends from day one. How do we know? It’s just how it happens on the Sideburn collab trips. We’ve done three in Morocco and three in the Himalayas, and strong, global friendships have formed from every one of them. While these trips have been open to both sexes, the Morocco adventures have been 100% male. We thought we’d try to redress the balance.
The trip is operated and run by Moto Aventures, but we will send a Sideburn rep to ensure everything is just right, and to cover the event for the Sideburn website (and posterity). For this trip it’s photographer and Sideburn contributor,
Caylee Hankins (@alittlepickmeup on Instagram).
HOW IT WORKS
You fly into Marrakesh no later than 2pm on 17th March. You can extend your trip at either end at your own expense and we can recommend gorgeous riads to stay in if you want more time away. Just let us know.
We organise a transfer from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate by minibus. We’ll either pick you up at your hotel in Marrakech at approx. 2pm, or at the airport at 3pm. Once at your hotel in Ouarzazate you’ll meet the Moto Aventures crew, get introduced to your KTM, have a group meal and get to know your fellow riders and the support and guide team in the Le Fint hotel. The next day you ride!
The accommodation is a mixture, ranging from a 200-year-old Kasbah, top tourist hotels and and an exclusive night in a traditional Bedouin camp in the shadow of the dunes. (with proper showers and toilet blocks).
After four days of riding, you will have one more night in Ourzazate before transferring back to Marrakech to fly home or continuing your break if you wish.
GOOD BUT IMPORTANT
Moto Aventures differs from the vast majority of tour companies because every bike is fitted with its own Garmin satnav that has every metre of every day’s route inputted. That means you can ride at a pace that is comfortable to you, no need to get stressed trying to stay on someone’s back wheel or be isolated and have to guess at desert crossroads. We find that most people pair up, or from smaller groups and ride at their pace.
If you want to stop for a photo or a rest, do it, knowing that you’ll meet up with the group at the next stop. Alternatively, if you ride at a quick pace you can. You don’t have to wait for anyone, just stay safe. Remember the support vehicle follows a short way behind on the same route as the bikers, to sort any bike issues out.
There is a fully equipped support vehicle, complete with mechanic, that transports your luggage during the day. All you need to carry is your Camelbak and camera.
This trip is for confident riders only. The trip is 90% off-road, so some off-road riding experience is highly recommended. You don’t have to be a Dakar-level hero, but decent bike handling skills are essential. The terrain can catch people out if they ride beyond their limits or become over-confident. For some reason, we think this is less likely with a women-only group than a mainly male group, but Morocco can bite if you get it wrong.
Nothing will prepare you for riding in the dunes, except riding in the dunes. It’s wonderful and surreal and tiring and unforgettable, and Moto Aventures’ own Johnnymaroc will guide you in this alien landscape, giving tips and guidance if needed and not push you further than you, or he, thinks is safe and appropriate.
During the riding days there are regular meal and drink stops in memorable locations, some with pools to cool off in. All the hotels have swimming pools too.
· Nearly 90% off road
· Spectacular trails combined with dramatic mountain landscapes and awesome views
· Beautiful winding trails, gorges, rocky climbs, and some big wash-outs. Beware!
· 2500m mountain passes with spectacular scenery
· River crossings - with and without water
· Sandy river beds & vast dry lake beds
· Isolated mountain villages
· A night out under the stars at our desert bivouac with campfire and local musicians – 90km from nearest road!
· Excellent accommodation
· Good food, with plenty of veggie options.
· Alcohol available every night, even in our desert bivouac!
17th to 22nd March 2019
You must arrive at Marrakech airport no later than 14.00 on 17th March. In the past really early arrivers have taken a cab into Marrakech for breakfast and a quick explore and transferred from there. The departure of the transfer bus will normally be planned for around 15.00 from the airport.
Return flights should be late afternoon/evening departures to allow for the transfer time from Ouarzazate on the 22nd.
€1745 based on two sharing a room. Single supplement is €85
This trip is marketed by Sideburn, but operated solely by Moto Aventures Europe SL.
To book, email email@example.com
A 30% deposit is to be paid at the time of booking and is accepted as part of the total cost of the tour and will not be refunded unless the applicant cannot be offered a place. The balance of the total cost for the tour must reach Moto Aventures no later than EIGHT weeks before the tour date.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
Five night’s accommodation (based on two people)
Four days riding
Bike rental of late-model, meticulously maintained KTM 450 enduro bikes with free GPS installed.
Transfers to and from Marrakech
Full board and drinking water during the day’s riding (soft drinks & alcohol extra)
Fully equipped support vehicle with mechanical back-up
Personal travel insurance (must include repatriation cover. Email if you need details)
Helmet, boots, goggles and gloves.
Money for alcohol, souvenirs, etc. Reckon €50 unless you’re a big drinker…
A 700€ returnable deposit against bike and/or GPS damage.
Photos: Sam Christmas and Andy Baker