Touring Morocco by Bike (14) : Telouet – Marrakesh
Telouet – Marrakesh, via Tizi n’Tichka (134km)
Road condition is getting worse after Telouet, there are many holes on this disrepair road, and only very small vehicles are able to pass. I planed to reach Marrakesh in one day, so I started before sunrise, the sun started rising when I was on the road and its warm sunlight bought me a vital morning.
There is a campsite at about 10km from Telout, this is the last place to stay before Tizi n’Tichka, then it is about 4-5% climbing on a dirt road. There was some snows on the roadside, I heard that the road had been blocked for few days because of heavy snowing just a week ago. It is recommended that you ask locals if you take this route in winter.
The road joins back to the national road again at 2100m after 5km climb, and the mountain pass Tizi n’Tichka at 2260m is just few km further. The road was expanding and many big trucks were splashing mud and snow and quickly I was full of dirt. The landscape is not so nice around this pass, it is better to avoid taking this route if it is possible.
(The road may closed in winter, you can check the condition with the Gendarmerie of the Col du Tichka, Tel: 0524890615)
The road is very wide and smooth after the pass, likely the construction work have been done at that side. I followed a 5% downhill winding road, there were so many tourists at every turn, almost caused a traffic jam! For most tourists, this is the only route that they cross Altas mountain. It’s a pity because there are many beautiful landscapes in Morocco are far much better than here.
Fierce wind was blowing from the valley, sometimes I needed to cycle hard even at this steep downhill road, I guessed it was quite a funny picture from others.
Taddart is about 15km from Tizi n’Tichka, this is the best place to get supply and there are many restaurants. I had lunch there, and went on this narrow valley, another 20km I reached another village Zerkten. The road traffic seemed still acceptable comparing to the impression that I got when I was cycling uphill, so I did dispel my idea to take the smaller road. (there is a small road from Zerkten to Tighedouine, which you can avoid a large section of national road)
Zerkten is located at about 1200m high, I expected it was boring downhill all the way to Marrakesh (Everyone said like this…). In fact there is a 300m climb near Toufliht, this pass is called Tizi Ait Barka, where you can see a giant verdant red hill from the east, and endless indistinct mountain from the north. This is probably the most scenic place on this route, and you can sit at the cafe to enjoy the view.
A steep downhill road leads to a area with many trees on roadside, this 10km forest is good for wild camping, after that, it’s all agriculture fields. It was a boring gently downhill straight road to Marrakesh, especially the last 30km four lane road almost made me fall asleep.
There is no campground in the center of Marrakesh, and the hostel cost only 70-80MAD/ day. Marrakesh is the most popular tourist destination of Morocco, for sure it’s worth to visit, the medina (old town) is not so authentic as Fez, but it is more regulated. The well-known Djemaa El-Fna is very special but for me, it is too touristic. But I was quite impressed by the standard of several museums, it is also a good base for visiting the Altas, it’s easy to spend more than a week to explore in this city, but for someone like me who have stayed in Morocco for few months, that’s not a place can give a wow factor.
Information / Accommodation:
- Telouet – Marrakesh: about 12km from Telouet, Agdal Mansion Camping (GPS: 31.258483, -7.328282) is the last accommodation before Tizi n’Tichka.
- Tizi n Tichka has only souvenir shops, there is restaurant but seemed shut down.
- Tizi n Tichka – Marrakesh
- It is a busy national road, but not many restaurants on the road.
- Counting from Tizi n Tichka, Taddart(GPS: 31.358716, -7.391325) at km15, Zerkten (GPS: 31.439988, -7.403212) at km35 have kiosks and restaurants, Toufliht at km50 have two cafes/auberges with very good view.
- The next place to eat are Hotel Dar Oudar (GPS: 31.536944, -7.496974) and Le Coq Hardi Hotel (GPS: 31.546342, -7.646464), and there are many cafes within 35km from Marrakesh.