in Journey, North Africa

Motorbiking in Morocco

Iriki lake in the south of Morocco

Iriki lake in the south of Morocco

I love taking long journeys with a motorbike. I started driving a dirt bike when I was a teenager in the countryside around my parent’s town. I had at home an old 125cc Peugeot from 1954 and a scooter that I tinkered with every weekend.

I rent a motorbike when I was traveling in India, Nepal, eastern Asia to be more free, to be closer to the people, to discover new places.  I started to be more serious about motorbiking when I settled down in West Africa in Burkina-Faso.  I bought a powerful Yamaha 600 Ténéré to explorer the Burkinabé bush, I traveled twice to Mali and I crossed Ghana from north to south.  I missed motorbiking when I came back to France and I bought a Yamaha 600 TTRE.  The electric starter was a must and the bike frame was way more manageable than my old school Ténéré.

Jean-François' bike and mine

Jean-François’ bike and mine

In February 2011, I was free from professional obligation and I left with my motorbike to Sète in the south of France to take a boat for Tanger in Morocco.  On the boat, I met another biker, Jean-François who was also taking a trip in Morocco with his new Yamaha Ténéré.  When we reached Tanger, the day of my birthday, we drove all day long through Tetouan, Chefchaouen and other northern Moroccan cities. We finally stopped at night in Taounate in the Rif region.  We spent the night there with a bottle of Champagne that I had in my bag for the occasion and we ate kebabs from a street sealer.


The nomad camp

Then, we kept going to the south of Morocco for a week crossing amazing lunar landscapes, pine forests, mountains and villages until we reached the desert in Mhamid. I was so happy to be back to the desert because it was a big part of my experience while I lived in Mali. Jean-François and I planned to have a two days trip in the desert from Mhamid to Tata but I finally went alone while Jean-François’ bike was too heavy to cross dunes. I spent two amazing days driving in the middle of nowhere and meeting almost no one. During that crossing, I meet touareg people and I spent a night in the desert with them and their camels. I was sleeping in the tent used for living room and it was a terrific experience to spend a day with nomads.

The Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains

I left in the morning to Tata crossing a dry lake and viewing amazing landscapes.  Then, I drove to the coast to go to Essaouira for a couple of days while I had friends based in that city. I rest for a couple of days in their beautiful houses before driving to Ouarzazate and going back to the Atlas Mountains. I went through snow in the highest part of Atlas then I took direction of Azrou, one of my favorite city in Morocco, in the middle of the Atlas’ mountains.  I spent a couple of days in this region exploring dust roads and villages.  Then, from Azrou, I drove to Meknès, Fès and I went back to Tanger to take the ferry back to France.

On the road

On the road

That one month trip was divine. It was a unique occasion to break free with western life, to discover new landscapes and cultures deep in Morocco, its amazing people, and to return with a fresh outlook to Paris.

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