Anti Atlas Adventure

Document Sample
Anti Atlas Adventure Powered By Docstoc
					For tours departing beyond 2008, itineraries may be subject to change. This will be confirmed by the publication of the 2009 brochure (issued in Dec 08).

Tour Dossier


Dossier Ref. CMC

Anti Atlas Adventure
Amended 20 Oct 2008. Valid from 20 Oct 2008 2008 to 31 Dec 2008

8 days/7 nights Land Only Agadir to Agadir
Join Agadir on Saturday (day 1) End Agadir on Saturday (day 8) Clients booked on ‘Land Only’ arrangements should make their own way to the joining point in Agadir. Please refer to separate ‘Joining Instructions’ for name and address of hotel and time of rendezvous with tour leader.

8 days/7 nights Tour including Connecting Group Flights London-Agadir-London
Depart Saturday from London Heathrow Airport to arrive in Agadir the same day (day 1 of Land Only itinerary). Return Saturday from Agadir (day 8 of Land Only itinerary) and arrive London Heathrow the same day. Passengers with non-group flights booked through Explore should refer to their individual confirmation invoice for flight details. Transfers to and from the airport are not included unless purchased in addition to the tour package.

Among the many highlights featured on this tour, we particularly mention:
, TAFRAOUTE Mountain base in the heart

the very mountains that surround them. This exhilarating cycling adventure takes us through this unique landscape, affording an opportunity to experience some of the unspoilt beauty of this captivating region and learn a little of the remarkable culture of these mountain nomads. Joining the tour in Agadir we then head for the old garrison town of Tafraoute, deep in the heart of the mountains. Our first four days are based here, taking the opportunity to explore in depth the remote communities and fertile oases that lie spread across this dramatic landscape. We will discover the surreal majesty of the fabulous rock formations that surround the town and venture into the heart of the Ammeln Valley, traditional home to the Ammeln Berbers. We will cross the desert-like plateaus of the Anti Atlas and visit the unusual painted rocks created by Jean Veran. After riding into the dramatic gorges of the Ait Mansour Valley we then move on to the hilltop settlement of Immouzer-des-Ida-Outanane, a place prized for its honey and its famous annual festival. From here we make the exciting descent down through the beautiful Paradise Valley, down towards Aourir and the Atlantic Coast, from where we complete the circle that brings us back into the port of Agadir. Travelling along a terrain of predominantly paved roads, with a range of gradients and descents, this fascinating adventure is suitable for those with some previous cycling experience who are looking for adventure amidst some of the most unspoilt scenery in North Africa. This tour is rated Grade B – moderate. Covering some 235km over 6 days (averaging 39km per day), this tour involves some ascents of up to 350m, but predominantly features descents of up to 1000m. The terrain covers 75% of the journey on tarmac roads, with the remainder comprising dirt roads.

Anti Atlas Adventure Ref CMC




So u s




Ait Iftane








Ait Abdellah

km 0 50

Accommodation and Included Meals: Please find the key to our accommodation ratings overleaf, and note that included meals are indicated in the itinerary below and are shown on the day they are provided (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
Day 1. Saturday. Join tour Agadir Overnight hotel H+. Day 2. Transfer by bus beyond Ighrem via Taroudannt; cycle to Tafraoute Our journey begins with a bus transfer by road to Taroudannt, the ‘Pearl of the Sous’, a town that has lain at the centre of political life of the Sous Valley for generations. Lying before the imposing backdrop of the AntiAtlas Mountains, amidst a landscape of olive groves and orange orchards, the town lies behind an impressive bastion of fortified towers and some of the best-preserved walls in the country. Strategically important and site of the region’s most important market, Taroudannt once commanded a network of major trading routes and even today its bustling market lies at the centre of life. From here we continue to the town of Ighrem, a small whitewashed village that hosts a weekly vegetable market and lies some 1700m up amidst a mountainous plateau of fruit trees. A further 40km on we start our cycling adventure, following a network of paved roads up towards the village of AitAbdellah and then crossing over the Tizi-nTarakatine pass (1500m) towards our final destination of the day, the old garrison town of Tafraoute. The landscape around the town is strewn with the surreal rock formations for which the area is renowned. The product of millennia of volcanic activity in the region, the pink granite mountains seem to defy even the laws of gravity as they teeter precariously on their rocky pinnacles. Tafraoute itself is a superb base from which to explore the surrounding countryside, the cool mountain air, plentiful palms and fervently independent
Daily distances day 01 day 02 day 03 day 04 day 05 day 06 day 07 day 08

of the Anti-Atlas.
, AMMELN VALLEY Exploring the fertile , , , ,

Cycling Grades
Grading is a somewhat difficult topic as much depends on the individuals own perception of his or her abilities. The following is intended as a general guide to our cycling grades. This is rated Grade B. Grade B (Moderate): A higher level of fitness is desirable as more uneven and steeper sections will be encountered on these trips. Rides are suitable for those who have not ridden off-road before but who relish a challenge.

landscapes and Berber settlements of the Ammeln. PAINTED ROCKS Unusual art in the middle of the desert. AIT MANSOUR VALLEY Spectacular dramatic gorges and lush palmeries. IMMOUZER Hilltop settlement famed for its honey. PARADISE VALLEY A spectacular descent down to the Atlantic Coast.

Described by the great Roman scholar Pliny as "the most fabulous mountains in all of Africa”, the Atlas range cover some 1,500 miles of some of Morocco’s most remote landscapes. And of these spectacular mountains, the Anti Atlas presents us with some of the country’s most remarkable scenic and cultural diversity. Remote and wild these beautiful peaks are home to the staunchly independent Berber tribesmen, a people who have become synonymous with

Be Prepared: While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day route as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built into the itinerary.

CO2 Offsets Included
The biggest environmental impact of your holiday with Explore is the CO2 generated by your flights. As a responsible tour operator, we have included in our tour prices the costs of offsetting CO2 emissions from all international and domestic flights forming part of the tour. Our chosen offset partner is Climate Care. If you are making independent flight arrangements to join one of our tours, may we urge you to take responsibility for your CO2 emissions by offsetting through Climate Care, or a similar offsetting scheme.

Earth Matters
• Explore is supporting the Imlil Village Association in sponsoring three girls from the High Atlas through secondary education. Visit our website for more information. • For further information on responsible travel go to ResponsibleTourism/

35km 50km 40km 45km 25km 40km

To book please call 0844 499 0901 •
For bookings outside the UK please contact your local travel agent representing Explore.

Page 1 of 4

Berber spirit providing an enthralling contrast to the harsh landscapes around. (Total cycling: approx 35km (on paved roads) with an optional further 15km descent to Tafraoute. 200m ascent/800m descent including optional ride down to Tafraoute). 4 nights hotel H+ (included meals: B). Day 3. The Ammeln Valley The Anti-Atlas present us with some of the most spectacular scenery in Morocco, the towering majesty of the peaks standing out in stark contrast to the lush fertile oases and the almost lunar quality of the landscape. Today we explore something of the Ammeln Valley, a land of almond and palm groves, high mountain scenery and the ancestral homeland of the Ammeln, probably the most renowned of all the 6 tribes that occupy the Anti-Atlas, whose fierce loyalty and financial acumen is revered throughout the region. Populated by the staunchly independent Berber tribesmen, the Atlas has always been culturally removed from the rest of Morocco, providing us with a quite unique setting to explore on two wheels. This is the land of fiercely independent tribes, the “Lords of the Atlas”, whose traditions and ways still hold sway up here in their mountain strongholds far away from the cities below. The Berbers present us with a fascinating insight into a way of life lost to the rest of North Africa, where music and dance, even language and religion, are far removed from their Arab neighbours. From Tafraoute we transfer up the valley to the village of Ait Ihya (1370m), from where we begin cycling in the direction of Tanalte. After two optional climbs we head next for the village of Ait Iftane, before beginning a descent that affords some spectacular views of the Anti-Atlas as we make our way down to Lakhmis Ida Ougnidif. From just beyond here we transfer back by 4WD to Tafraoute. (Total cycling: between 34 and 53km (on paved roads). 1000m ascent (including optional sections), 1100m descent). (Included meals: B). Day 4. Exploring Tahala and the Anti Atlas Following a small road that leads out of Tafraoute we head this morning in the direction of the small village of Tahala, a verdant oasis located in the middle of an arid plain. Traversing the desert-like plateaus that cover the landscape we pass by small Berber settlements, before taking a well-maintained dirt road towards the area of the ‘Painted Rocks’. Lying just to the south of Tafraoute these famous rock paintings were created by the Belgian artist Jean Veran in 1984, when he created an extraordinary outdoor exhibit by painting a set of boulders blue, bequeathing us a most unusual diversion for the day. From here we head back to Tafraoute. (Total cycling: approx 40km along a fairly even mix of flat tarmac and dirt road). (Included meals: B). Day 5. Ouaoughdichte, Talouste and the Ait Mansour Valley First we transfer by bus to the summit above the village of Ouaoughdichte (1540m) from where we cycle to the village of Talouste and then into the captivating landscapes of the valley of Ait Mansour, a palm lined gorge of craggy rock faces and deserted villages. Our ride today takes in the dramatic setting of this spectacular gorge and the lush palmeries that blanket it. From here we cycle through another valley before a bus transfer back to the top and an optional descent by bike back to Tafraoute for our final evening in
EXPLORE ACCOMMODATION RATINGS : The following key is intended as a guide to the type of accommodation listed for each night stop. We stress that standards may vary and reserve the right to make changes as necessary without warning. Hotels / Pensions / Lodges H+ : Usually twin bedded rooms, normally with private facilities. Local grading 2/3/4 star.

the heart of the mountains. (Total cycling: between 45 and 65km, including 32km off road). (Included meals: B). Day 6. Tafraoute to Immouzer-des-IdaOutanane Transferring by vehicle from Tafraoute this morning, we head via Ait Baha to the small town of Argana, straddling both banks of the River Ait Moussa. Overlooked by the ruins of a hilltop agadir on its eastern bank and the imposing remains of a French built fortress on the opposite bank, the town lies on the main road between Agadir and Marrakech. We drive up to the mountain top from where a number of trails fan out into the mountains, leading up into the Ait Moussa Valley and towards a number of isolated villages that occupy the mountain slopes. We ride across a valley and then begin a descent from 1600m, biking down to the village of Immouzer-des-Ida-Outnane, a hilltop settlement that boasts its own cascading waterfall. The whitewashed mountain village contrasts sharply with the usual red coloured settlements of the rest of the area and remains an administrative centre for the IdaOutanane Berbers who dwell amongst these mountainous terrains. Thursdays see the village holding its weekly souk, an event that becomes ever more industrious during the summer months when the honey for which the town is justly famed is traded, culminating in a Honey festival held in the middle of August each year (particularly prized is the honey made from marjoram and marijuana). Once we have settled into our hotel for the evening there may be time to wander through the town, soaking up the rich atmosphere of this absorbing Berber village. (Total cycling: approx 25km. (Descent to Immouzer approx 14km). Overnight hotel H+ (included meals: B). Day 7. Cycle to Aourir via the Paradise Valley and transfer along the Atlantic coast to Agadir. Our final day of cycling sees us making an exhilarating descent down towards the Atlantic Coast, taking a meandering tarmac road that snakes down through the aptly named Paradise Valley to the coastal town of Aourir. This presents us with some of the most breathtaking scenery of our journey, descending from the ridgeline around Immouzer, down through a narrow gorge to the glittering coastal waters at the end. 30km from Immouzer there is a final 4km climb before the final descent to Aourir. From here we transfer by the easier 4 wheeled option along the busy coastal road to our journey’s end. Agadir, in stark contrast to Berber settlements of the past days, is a modern city with a magnificent beachfront that was once a major trading port under the auspices of the Portuguese. The Europeans were driven out in the mid 16th century by a powerful confederation of tribes led by the Saadians and the city then enjoyed something of a golden age, before its eventual destruction by the Sultan Sidi Mohammed in the 1760s. The old town’s fate was finally sealed though when an earthquake destroyed the city on 29 February 1960, killing half the population and necessitating the complete rebuilding of the city. (Total cycling: approx 48km on paved roads. Overnight hotel H+ (included meals: B).

Day 8. Saturday. Tour ends Agadir (Included meals: B).

You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the tour price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.

Foreign Exchange
Local Currency: Dirham. Recommended Currency for Exchange: Euros, Sterling and US$ are widely accepted. We recommend carrying your money in a mixture of cash, travellers cheques and credit card. Where to Exchange: Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival. ATM Availability: ATMs are available in Agadir. Do not rely soley on cash machines though, as they can be unreliable. Credit Card Acceptance: Larger hotels and shops. Travellers Cheques: Travellers Cheques although still the safest way of carrying money in Morocco can sometimes be difficult to cash. Banks charge a commission charges on travellers cheques on a per cheque basis so, if using, we suggest you take high denomination cheques. Proof of purchase may be necessary for encashment of Travellers Cheques. Additional Information: Scottish bank notes and Australian dollar travellers cheques and cash are NOT normally accepted in Morocco. Up-to-date information re:global exchange rates can be obtained at

Local Payment
Payable in Moroccan Dirhams cash (not Travellers Cheques) to your Tour Leader on arrival in Agadir.

Meal Plan
Local Food and Drink: 7 breakfasts are included on this trip; please be prepared to pay for all other meals. Approximate meal costs are given below: UK Morocco Coffee/tea £1.20 £0.30 Soft drink 0.80 0.35 Bottle of Beer 2.50 1.25 Bottle water 0.80 0.50 2 Course Meal* 10.00 4.00 3 Course Meal** 18.00 6.00 Bottle wine 10.00 6.00 *Cheap local fare in a small cafe or restaurant. **Typical food in a simple, reasonably comfortable mid-range restaurant.

Local Staff: Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly you should allow approx. £10£15 for gratuities for local staff. Tour Leader: At your discretion you might also consider tipping your tour leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.

Booking a Single Room
All of our tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. On this particular tour we are pleased to be able to offer customers the option of pre-booking a guaranteed single room for each night of the tour.

Seasonal Climate
In general, November to April is the winter season in Morocco and daytime temperatures will probably be around 2025°C, dropping at night to perhaps zero, or even down to as low as -5°C (although nights get warmer in March and April). Skies are usually clear in mountain areas and weeks can go by without a cloud. However it can cloud over in the afternoon and this brings a welcome relief from the hot sun.

To book please call 0844 499 0901 •
For bookings outside the UK please contact your local travel agent representing Explore.

Page 2 of 4

There is usually a refreshing breeze, which makes cycling conditions more comfortable. Please be aware that snowfalls can occur at any time of year. The amount of snow on high ground varies from year to year, but usually reaches its maximum in March. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at weather. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up-to-date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.

Know Before You Go
We strongly recommend that you check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs, including advice re: the legality of and local attitudes towards same-sex relationships. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice follow the link at

Clothing: Pack for ‘All Tours’. Bring cycling gear. Evenings and nights can become quite cold between October and March. Keep in mind that at altitude and in the desert, temperatures can drop rapidly, so a warm sweater or fleece, plus waterproof/ windproof shell garment, are essential. Don’t forget your swimming costume in the warmer months. CLOTHING FOR CYCLING: We recommend to bring padded lycra shorts and lycra shirts for the daily cycling. These special fabrics are very comfortable and breathable thus helping to prevent catching a cold. Soaked cotton cloths tend not to dry while cycling. Lightweight trainers are fine as footwear and cycling gloves are another helpful accessory. A water/windproof jacket is essential at all times.

Visa Requirements
Visas are not required by UK, AUS, NZ, USA, or CAN citizens. Other nationalities should consult their travel agent or consular office.

All bicycles provided on our holidays are serviced frequently: spokes, tyres, gear and brake mechanisms are checked over and tested thoroughly by experienced bicycle mechanics before each tour commences. Cycling, of course, is an active pursuit and to maximise your own personal protection in case of a tumble or fall, we strongly recommend that you wear a bicycle helmet whilst cycling. It is our firm belief that there is no helmet like your own helmet and for this reason we do not provide helmets locally. Like a good fitting pair of walking boots, helmets are a very personal item of equipment – by bringing your own you guarantee a snug fit and that it hasn’t been damaged. It is also more hygienic to wear your own rather than one which has been used by someone else previously. A full safety briefing and riding advice will be provided by your Tour Leader at the start of your tour. This briefing will also include details of what to do should you encounter any minor technical problems with your bicycle, or a puncture. Puncture repair kits will be provided locally, when and where necessary during the trip.

Vaccinations & Protection
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Special Note: Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at and from your local healthcare provider.

Morocco is a Muslim country, so please remember that people may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention. Therefore you should dress with respect for local sensibilities. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non- Muslim.
Footwear: Lightweight walking shoes/trainers. For cycling SPD pedals can be fitted. Comfortable shoes/sandals for evenins and visitings the sites and towns. Equipment: Bring a cycle helmet, cycle water bottle, torch, sunhat, sunglasses and suncream. A pannier and lock are provided. A torch is also useful. Need help on travel essentials? Then we suggest you contact Nomad Travel, our equipment partner. You receive a special 10% discount in-store or online. Visit one of their stores, phone 0845 260 0044, or visit their website for further information.

Electric Supply and Plugs
For comprehensive information regarding voltages and plug types in use in the countries visited, follow the relevant link at

Travel insurance is compulsory for all bookings. You must take your policy document with you on tour as your tour leader will ask to see this at the start of the trip. Your documentation must state in writing that you are the named policyholder and that the cover is valid for your period of travel. Your policy document must also indicate that you have medical expenses and emergency repatriation cover and a 24-hour contact telephone number for your Insurance Company must be shown on your documentation in case of emergency. If you are unable to provide all this information at the start of the trip your tour leader will ask you to purchase an Explore Policy. If you have purchased Explore Insurance you should carry the Master Certificate leaflet with you, which outlines the conditions of the policy together with a copy of your Confirmation Invoice, which is your proof of purchase of insurance.

A complete list of clothing and personal gear is contained in Explore’s ‘General Information Booklet’, available only after a booking has been accepted. Here we make a few specific recommendations with regard to your tour. Luggage: One main piece and a daysac. Total allowance: 20kgs. A daysac is useful for walking and carrying what you need for the day.

Area: 446,550 sq km (710,850 sq km inc the western Sahara). Population: 32 million. Language: Arabic, Berber, French. Religion: Muslim 99%, Christian and others 1%. Local Time: GMT. Electric Supply & Plugs: 220v, 50 AC. European two-pin sockets. Recommended Maps: Michelin (1: 1,000.000) map 959, Geo Centre and Hildebrand also produce good general maps. Recommended Books: Gavin Maxwell: Lords of the Atlas, Alan Keohane: Berbers of the Atlas, Walter Harris: Morocco that was, Peter Bowles: The Sheltering Sky.

To book please call 0844 499 0901 •
For bookings outside the UK please contact your local travel agent representing Explore.

Page 3 of 4

Please find below some space for you to make notes regarding your trip...

To book please call 0844 499 0901 •
For bookings outside the UK please contact your local travel agent representing Explore.

Page 4 of 4

Shared By: