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Adventure motorcycling in Morocco

Season 7 : Return to Africa

2 March 2023

Morocco: the land of the High Atlas Mountains and the hot Saharan desert. It's fair to say I was more than excited that my new African adventures were kicking off in Morocco. There is so much to see here, so much culture to experience, nature to discover and well.. dirt roads to ride! I already heard that they are very quickly laying tar all over Morocco. However I was still surprised to see some tiny roads which clearly were dirt roads not long ago, already covered in a layer of brand new tar. For the local people, these new tar roads will make life much easier. For an adventure rider with a love for dirt, you better visit Morocco while there is still dirt left to ride! 

Going off-the-beaten track 

On my journey through Morocco, I've decided that I'll stay away from some of the famous places, such as Marrakesh, Fez and Agadir. It's no secret that I generally don't like big cities but that's not all. The more I travel on a motorcycle, the more I realize what a privilege it is to travel this way. It allows you to visit real off-the-beaten track places and pass through areas that barely see any tourists at all. 

In my experience, the locals are friendlier and more open to conversation in rural areas than in famous tourist traps where there are more touts than visitors. Often, you don't even have to get far from the cities to already have such experiences. Like Bhilal, it is only about 30 kilometers south of Fez but receives almost no visitors. Staying in a beautiful traditional Moroccan home, eating home cooked Moroccan food, and being invited into people’s cave houses for tea was an unforgettable experience. I doubt I would have experienced something like that in Fez. 

When I went to Hassilabied, close to Merzouga, to see the famous sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, I realized that I had gotten on the tourist trail again. Every foreigner that I met had the same story. They had just come from Marrakesh, were now going on a camel safari into the dunes and then they would continue to the beach. It reminded me of the days when I was backpacking around the world in my mid-twenties. I followed the same backpacker trail as everyone else and ticked off many sights. 

Meeting locals 

Now that I've discovered motorcycle travel, I have become addicted to this way of discovery. For me, the highlight of the day is being offered water or tea by locals that are living remotely in the mountains or desert. Trying to have a small conversation and appreciating people’s hospitality. I prefer these small experiences over sitting on a camel for a photo-op any day.

Besides allowing me to get pretty much wherever I want, my motorcycle also makes it easy to make new friends. The motorcycle community, as you probably know, is friendly and the shared love for two wheels creates friendships. As I was riding into Hassilabied, a tiny village, I noticed a shop with a KTM 450 Rally Replica parked outside. This person must have ridden the Dakar, I realized. I happened to be looking for a mechanic as my left fork seal was leaking some oil and I figured that someone who has ridden the Dakar must know motorcycles.

As it turned out, the owner of that bike was Ali Oukherbouch. He successfully finished the Dakar rally two years ago and was also present at this year’s Dakar. Turns out that we are both friends with Mason Klein and we knew many of the same people and riders. What a small world! Being able to talk motorcycles with a professional rally racer in a tiny village in the Sahara was not something that I expected from my time in Morocco. He also made sure his mechanic fixed my fork seal so I could continue my way. Onwards! 


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Itchy Boots never fails to captivate her audience with her incredible travel experiences, and this blog was no exception. Her vivid storytelling and stunning photography transported me right into the heart of Morocco, making me feel as if I were riding alongside her. Check this out <a style="display:none;" href="">Kaamulan Festival</a>

SOX is NEXT  | 

Hi, Noraly,
Absolutely neccesary to take a couple of weeks to rest, recover your energy, organize your videos, blogs, repair your camera etc and give a good maintenance to ALASKA, which has been quite demanding in the last 2 months...
Being objetive and without discriminating, I think that West Africa, until now, and mainly crossing that last border between Mauritania/Senegal has been a tough test for You compared to your last weeks of the previous season in Canada/Alaska...
Get well and we will enjoy your videos again, your landscapes and your charming way of showing certain particularities of each place, when you consider it possible...

Drive safely You too, and take care!

Miguel MAK  | 

Salut! Noraly, You are wise to be concerned about your motor in extra-hot conditions! Most bikes fuel mixture is ultra lean to satisfy E.P.A. type exhaust emissions. To BURN clean(enviromentally), combustion chambers temps MUST be HI! Most riders change this A.S.A.P.! E.F.I remapping brings extra, & heat leaching fuel to your motor! More power is not the only benefit from this! However exh. emisions are slightly higher. In your case, with addition of Aftermarket Exh.(& lower backpressure) Your bike runs even LEANER than stock! (Dangerous for motor,runs hotter). Aftermarket E.F.I./E.C.U. units are a GREAT alternative to shortened engine life span because of engine overheating! No motor will last overheating constantly for long! I think Plug & Play units are available(always disconnect Battery(B+) before swappin' units! Units with multiple maps are available, with handelbar(flip of a switch)mounts for seamless instant changes between maps! Economy/torque/ or Full horsepower modes just like on sportbikes! CHEAP insurance for your motor! Also different thermostats([email protected] temp) are available sometimes!(keeps engine running cooler.) As are oversised aft.mrkt. radiators! I also use synthetic oil ONLY as it burns up(turns to ash)@ higher temp. futher protectin' engine in HOT,HOT,HOT desert conditions! Many diff. brands are available that are very hi quality! Motorcycle only(because of WET clutch)is required! I.m sure your BAJA bikes(you & Charlie) were Dyno-mapped(richer) for longevity & MORE power! Enjoy your ride(s)! & Be Safe(careful always). Alaska is a GREAT bike, especially with her rider, SUPER travellor Noraly! A' Bientot! Salut! J.f.Seguine Aus.TX.

JfSeguineIII  | 

Morocco is a year-round destination for Motorcycling.

Morocco Desert  | 

What a beginning to season seven. It's a joy to watch your interactions in the small villages. But back here the rat race of the cities has filtered down to small towns. You are enjoying what people call the golden years, that are not so golden due to age of the body and not of the mind. Take care and ride safely as possible.

Mike - P.  | 

Tunisia: just back and what an interesting country. Lots of variation: oasis, Sahara desert, mountains, and ruins of the various civilizations that marched through:from Rommel to the Roman with Greek influence to the Carthageon. Very reasonable but not in July to September due to extreme heat. To camp in the desert and witness a truly black sky-magnifique

Franco  | 

Just back from Tunisia and a great little country with a little of everything, -desert, mountains, oasis, friendly people and lots of history.

Franco  | 

Hi Noraly,
More ando more incredible and exciting the Season 7, now in Mauritania.
Those of us, who watch your videos from our comfortable home/places, have no idea exactly how difficult and sacrificed it can be in that desert, which does not allow you to sometimes have a good reasoning about the problem or adverse situation that is presented to you.
The problem of ALASKA not starting is basic because every motorcicle must be in neutral in its gearbox, something that in your fall had been blocked in its 3rd gear.
No one more than you to fell all this and without a doubt the help that Ahmed offered you in those last Kmts, was essential to reach the limit with the fuel in ALASKA!
Take care of yourself...Your aventure has just begun!
Good luck and once again VERY CAREFUL!


Miguel MAK  | 



Hello Noraly.
That "Alaska no start" episode was a great one. It just goes to show that anything can happen. I hope that you can determine what the problem was. Even though it was stuck in gear it should have been able to start, but the clutch lever must be pulled in and the kickstand must be up.

The probable reason that you couldn't get it out of 3rd gear is because transmissions don't like to shift when the gears in the transmission are not moving (you show a good description of how the transmission works in the season 6 demolition episode, starting around 12:38 into the video). Rocking the bike back and forth just a couple of inches will cause the gears to turn just enough to allow the shift, but understandably difficult to do when it is stuck in sand. In this case lay the bike over onto its right side so that the rear wheel is not touching the ground, and then manually turn the rear wheel (just an inch or two) with one hand while moving the gear shifter to change gears with your other hand.

Maybe you can test that theory...engine off, and then try to shift without the clutch engaged by rolling the bike back and forth a few inches. Give it a good assertive shift. It doesn't matter if the ignition and kill switch are in the start position or not.

We love your amazing adventures!

Lori M  | 
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