Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders is for those who wish to ride from the sea, negotiate mountains, and end up in the largest desert in Africa. Are you salivating at the prospects?
How about a North African Sovereign State called Morocco for your next Adventure Motorcycle tour destination?
Does it sound good to you?
Remember, it’s not the destination that counts; it’s the journey getting there.
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Table of Content for Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders.
What are 10 Brief Facts regarding Morocco?
What is so unique about Morocco?
Name some of the traditions and customs that make up the culture.
What kind of animals will I be negotiating with within Morocco?
Is there a timeline of special events regarding Morocco’s history?
Do you like sardines, dates, and olives?
Why should I only eat Couscous on Fridays?
What Is the difference between a Souk and a Medina?
Did you know your left hand is unclean in Morocco?
Are you aware Morocco has a Red City and a Blue City?
What Is the difference between a Souk and a Medina?
Do you remember Ted Simon of Jupiter’s Travel fame?
Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders has finally appeared at the top of your Bucket List for an Adventure Motorcycle Tour destination. You’ve heard the name but know very little of this North African Sovereign state. So firstly, let us give you the following information:
What are 10 interesting Facts regarding Morocco for us Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders?
- The official kingdom of Morocco.
This kingdom is sited in the northwestern part of North Africa called the Maghreb Region. Morocco borders the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Furthermore, Morocco is bound in the East by Algeria and the colossal Western Sahara desert in the south.
Not forgetting Morocco also has a land border with Spain with the Ceuta & Melilla Spanish exclaves. Overall, Morocco’s landmass is larger than California’s at 172 square miles. And just like California, Morocco enjoys an abundance of lush forests, beautiful coastlines, majestic mountains, and the largest desert in the World.
Morocco’s early settlers were mainly immigrants who were trying desperately to escape from the Saharan area because of the growing effect of drying out of the once fertile land into a desert landscape. The immigrants fled to the coastal areas and the Atlas Mountains.
Morocco’s capital is Rabat, and Casablanca is the largest city.
The country’s overall population exceeds 36 million, sharing a landmass of 446,550 km squared, excluding the Western Sahara Desert.
Its growing population, which is almost equal to urban and rural inhabitants, is due to to a program of improved health care, better sanitation practices, and improved resources of food.
Islam is the major religion in Morocco and plays a significant role in social, political, and spiritual life. 99% of Moroccans are Muslims. Morocco’s legal system is based on a mixture of French & Spanish civil laws and Islamic law.
The official Moroccan language is Arabic, but expect to hear a lot of French, Spanish, English, and various Berber (Amazigh) dialects.
Morocco, due to its unique geographical location, has become a magnet for many different cultures. The descendants from the early emigrants over the decades have added their special touches from as far away as the Far East, France, Spain, and of course, the Sahara.
- Morocco has a valley dedicated to Roses.
You could also be an avid gardener, apart from traveling the globe on a combustion engine with two wheels. If you are, you will marvel at the sight of the Dades Valley, especially if you are touring in April and May of each year.
Locally it is called the “Valley of Roses” for good reasons. Every year pink bursts out everywhere the eye can see with the arrival of sweeping views of thousands of beautiful blossoming roses.
Just imagine removing your helmet and smelling the fragrance coming from such a mass of flowers. All mixed with the aromas of dates, oranges, and fig trees dotted around.
The roses form an essential part of daily life in Morocco. The roses become products such as Rose Oil, creams, jams, perfumes, potpourri, soaps, and iconic rose water. Morocco enjoys a substantial exporting industry that is global in size.
- Furthermore, Morocco has the oldest Prehistoric human sculpture known to Archeology.
Have any of you Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders ever heard of the Venus of Tan-Tan or the Venus of Berekhat Ram? Well, both are alleged to be the earliest representative forms of us humans and date back to a period of between 200,000 & 500,000 BCE.
Author’s Note: It is difficult to know who is right when many Palaeontologists see the shape-forming from natural erosion.
While others see it as accentuated carvings using an ancient stone wedge.
You adventure motorcycle touring riders must decide which side of the argument your Upright Handlebars should lean towards.
Amazingly, the Tan-Tan figurine is only about 6 cm in height. It has the shape of a human; you can see a neck, arms, and legs.
They even discovered surface evidence in the form of minute flakes that could be identified as remnants of a red-like substance similar to paint.
Furthermore, the figurine was discovered only 15 meters below the ground surface next to Middle Acheulean Handaxes. This helped with dating the figure.
- Idris the Elder or also referred to as Idris I bin Abdallah.
This historical figure was the great-grandson of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad and was the founder of Morocco in the 8th Century. He was an Arab Hasanid Sharif, and he set up the beginnings of the Idrisid Dynasty in the Northern part of Morocco.
It was this dynasty that established the state of Morocco. Idris, I died in 791 AD after it was alleged he was poisoned by his enemies.
- The famous Judge, Writer, and Mediaeval explorer Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta was born in Tangiers in 1304.
Ibn Battuta, for short, later died in Marrakesh between 1368 and 1377.
So what set this man apart for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders in Morocco?
For nearly forty years, this Arab-Berber Maghrebi legal scholar traveled extensively throughout the lands then known as Afro-Eurasia.
At this age, it was scarce for someone to move just a sandy track away from where they were born, never mind taking on a 73,000 mile or 120,000 km trek using horses, donkeys, or camels.
If they were not available, then so be it by foot or when he was lucky by boat. Often he would join a moving caravan of people as going solo was a wee bit dangerous.
Author’s Note: Do you feel a form of kinsmanship with this incredible individual? As an Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, you sometimes love riding your motorcycle solo, and times are traveling as a group of like-minded individuals is enjoyable too. So it must have been for Ibn.
His journal took over two years to record every adventure, every sight, the many marriages, divorces, and those Ibn encountered. Just imagine the task of recording in those days the forty-year history of such an amazing man.
But surprisingly, Ibn did! Luckily for us, we can follow his exploits as he traveled and wrote about them!
Amazingly his chronicles have survived and are now considered crucial sources and insight into what life was like over 700 years ago.
Author’s Note: If motorcycles had been around in the first half of the 14th Century, you can be certain Ibn Bhattuta would have been the first Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider and Judge.
If you want to learn more about this remarkable man who, apart from traveling, got married over ten times and sired children all over the place. Then head to this following link:
Experts have worked out that if he were doing these routes in our modern times, he would have covered over 44 countries!
Author’s Note: I wonder if he might have spotted Mike and Diana, Co-founders of MotoDreamer, on one of their adventure motorcycle touring expeditions? What would he have made of witnessing these two on their combustion engines with two wheels each?
- Morocco surprisingly has the highest ski slope in Africa
Did you know you can go skiing in Africa? Have you ever seen the adverts?. Nope, nor me. But you indeed can!
Yes, it may come as a shock to you as it does to many, but Morocco has everything to make it a winter’s destination if you are a skiing expert or a novice.
Check out the Jebel Attar Mountain peak in the Atlas mountains. It sits proudly at 3258m high, and you can enjoy a chairlift at Oukaimeden Ski Resort from its height of 2650m. Africa’s highest ski resort.
- Morocco also boasts of having the busiest city square in Africa.
You will find it in Marrakesh. It is called the Jemma el-Fna, and it is said it is proud to be known as a square that waits for no man to catch up with its supersonic speed.
When you are riding through, remember you will be negotiating at speed, thousands of mopeds whizzing in every direction known to man, and avoiding snake charmers, traditional tradespeople, street performers, and food stall owners.
These street vendors will entice you with broiled offal or camel spleen. If you are a brave Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, go for it.
When you remove your helmet in this 1985 listed UNESCO Heritage site, you will be hit with the cacophony of noise, smells, mosaics, and dusty red walls.
As a calmer alternative, head up to one of the roof-top terraces with seating to allow you to look down, far removed from the chaos below.
You are an Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider in Morocco, just like Ibn Bhuttanta. You will ride your motorbike from the sea, pass through mountains and end up in a large desert oasis.
8. Are you a fan of UNESCO Heritage sites?
If you are, you will find nine here in Morocco. Here is a list of them for you to investigate:
Medina of Fez – founded in 1981
Medina of Marrakesh – founded in 1985
Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou – founded in 1987
Historical city site of Meknes – founded in 1996
The archaeological site of Volubilis – founded in 1997
Medina of Tetouan – formally Titawin – was founded in 1997
Medina of Essaouira, previously Mogador – was founded in 2001
The Portuguese city of Mazagan, formally Gajadia – founded in 2004
Rabat, the modern capital & historic city – A shared heritage in 2012
9. It was not until 1956 that Morocco managed to achieve Independence status.
It took a long struggle with France before Morocco was recognized as an independent sovereign state. It was a further six years before Moroccans could enjoy their first separate constitution.
Just like the United Kingdom, Morocco can best be described as a Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy. In other words, it has a head of state in Morocco’s case – King. With a Prime Minister acting as the head of the ruling government.
Auther’s Note: Morocco is the only Muslim country to have a King who is both head of government and the national religious leader.
10. Morocco has the largest wind farm project in the whole of Africa. It is located along the Moroccan coastal line looking towards the Atlantic ocean.
Wind power commenced in 2014 and by 2020 the country had the energy needs to meet its renewable sources target of over 45%.
On a Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders, what will I find so unique about Morocco?
Straight away, you will notice this Arab country is peaceful, stable, and relatively safe. You will discover interacting with Moroccan people-pleasing as they radiate a friendly nature and an abundance of warm hospitality towards you.
Description of some of the traditions customs that make up the cultural experience for my Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders.
Morocco’s population is made of Arabs and Berbers.
As you would expect in all Islamic-led countries, you can see a rhythm of a life dedicated to many Islamic celebrations throughout their public holidays each year. Witness their dedication to prayer at such occasions as Eid Al Adha, the prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and Ramadan.
You will discover the traditional craft of Moroccan carpet weaving. See if you can spot the various styles as you visit each region of Morocco.
Imagine you in your leathers, amongst a sea of traditional clothing. Straightaway, you notice that men and women are wearing similar long and loose Djellaba, full-sleeved, hooded garments. See how many Fezs and kaftans you can count.
What kind of animals will I negotiate on my Touring Motorcycle within Morocco?
Morocco has an abundance and varied variety of birds, mammals, and animals within its 40 or more ecosystems. So this is an ideal time for having a daft but fun list of animals to look out for and cross off your list whenever the opportunity arises.
Go one better and try and get photos to make it a real challenge. Send them to us here at MotoDreamer, and we will have fun with you publishing them on our website.
Moorish Wall Geckos
North African hedgehogs
Barbary Ground Squirrels
The National Animal – The Barbary Lion
Is there a timeline of special events regarding Morocco’s history?
Yes, there most certainly is. Morocco has become a year-long destination for many visitors. It is challenging to decide exactly when is the ideal time to come. So I have listed next MotoDreamer’s Top 10 Festivals and Events in Morocco:
- April each year – The Marathon des Sables – The legendary toughest foot race globally.
Its home is the Sahara desert for six grueling day races with multiple stages to achieve. The distance for the 1,200 competitors from over 30 countries is 156 miles or 250 km.
The golden rule for brave competitors is to be totally self-sufficient and carry their own equipment and food.
- May each year – The Valley of the Roses – as mentioned earlier in this article.
A three-day festival that you will find being celebrated in Kalaat Mgouna, a Moroccan oasis town. Join the 20,000 visitors enjoying the yearly Miss Rose Beauty Pageant. Witness the peripheral mixture of traditional dancing and singing.
Mix in with the parades and shop at the many market stalls selling all kinds of rose products. Just think “brownie points” for those back home on your return.
- June of each year – FEZ Festival – celebrating the world of Sacred Music over nine days.
Suppose you love music of all genres, then why not attend as many open-air concerts as possible if you can try and be on the Royal Palace parade ground. Between each concert, sample the authentic cuisine and enjoy the magical flavors on your palate.
Also, in June of each year – The Essaouira Gnaoua & World Festival of Music over four days.
You will gain much knowledge and inspiration from the Arab (Berber) and African people at these unique festivals. Witness their open willingness to share their religious rites and their cultures, including their music and dances.
The pretty coastal city location of Essaouira is perfect for those who love to take photos in picturesque settings.
- Now in July of each year – The Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival is held to celebrate the European and beyond artists and entertainers.
Walk amongst and be entertained by a peripheral of snake charmers, fortune-tellers, fire swallowers, and acting troupes. If you get the opportunity.
Check out the spectacle of Hundreds of charging horseback riders in their traditional dress at the Djemma el Fna and in the El Badi Palace. (Here stand in the ruins of a 16th-century palace.)
Furthermore, on the last day of July each year, the Moroccans celebrate their current king’s ascent to the throne with the “Throne Day.”
- Usually in September of each year – The Imilchil Marriage Festival allows young Berber women and men to choose and get engaged to their future partners.
The Berber communities from the Atlas Mountains gather in the rural town of Imilchil and celebrate this dancing, singing, and feasting festival.
The Berber annually celebrates at this particular Festival the remembrance of the legendary two star-crossed young lovers who decided to drown themselves when their parents forbade them to marry.
No concrete dates are governed by the changes according to the Islamic calendar – Ramadan & Eid al-Fitr.
In the Muslim Calendar, Ramadan refers to the ninth month. It is this time that all followers of Islam must stay away from a drink, food, and other physical requirements during daylight hours.
You will immediately become aware of Morocco, in Ramadan becoming a sober month for all.
However, the Muslims will mark the end of the fasting by celebrating the Festival known as Eid al-Fitr. Everyone celebrates in prayer, with their families and enjoys plenty of feasting.
- October of each year is date time – with the 3 day festival of Erfoud Dates.
This is a celebration of the Berber Date growing harvest. The growers of more than an annual yield of some million date palms celebrate with colorful parades, traditional dancing, and music.
Morocco exports over 90,000 tons of dates globally every year, making them a household favorite, especially at Christmas time.
If you love the taste of dates and the opportunity to see up close the Berber culture, then make a beeline for the Erfoud Region of Morocco.
It is at this Festival you will enjoy witnessing the crowning of the Date Queen and be excited by seeing the high-octane dromedary racing.
- Like Ramadan the next Muslim holiday is Eid al-Adha – which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
All Muslims globally commemorate the trials of their Prophet Abraham. It was during this period that Allah asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son.
They mark this occasion by honoring the faith shown by Abraham to Allah by slaughtering either a goat or sheep.
Furthermore, most of the sacrificial meat is donated to others to symbolize the honorable act of giving away something that is so important from the donor.
- Finally, in our list of 10 timeline of special events regarding Morocco’s history, we arrive at the Islamic New Year.
Moroccan Muslims, just like us the World over, enjoy a New Year celebration. Only, this time, it’s not only in January, but can happen anytime in accordance with the Lunar Islamic Calendar.
Author’s Note: Moroccans actually can enjoy THREE New Year celebrations. The first – January the first as per our Gregorian Calendar. Followed by the Yennayer, which is the Amazigh, and as mentioned earlier, the Islamic New Year is known as the Fatih Muharram.
Do you, as an Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, like sardines, dates, and olives?
Well, Morocco is the World’s biggest sardine producer and exporter of sardines. Great news for those of you that do enjoy sardines, dates, and olives. Altogether they are a powerhouse of delicious goodness, but they come with added protection for your heart too.
In sardines, you will find the omega-3 fatty acids that go towards helping you prevent heart diseases, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
The same fatty acids also help in the reduction of blood clots and assist you with keeping your blood pressure lower than most other processed foods. Doctors often say if you have suffered from a previous heart condition taking fatty Omega-3 acid-laden foods such as sardines is a positive approach.
Having your sardines in olive oil and not water is another great healthy option as there is more omega-3 in the olive oil is a plus. However, if you have no issues with the heart, sardines in water are a good option for lowering your amount of fat and cholesterol.
Now, with Olives, studies have found they contain an abundance of antioxidants and vitamins. These olives and their ingredients can assist you with protecting you from osteoporosis. A condition that affects your bones which in time will become weak and brittle.
What about dates, are they good for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders too on their Moroccan adventure?
Yes, they most certainly are. Dates are the number one source of phytonutrients and plant compounds that come with amazing health benefits. For example, they can stimulate your immune system and prevent possible DNA damage. In the same fashion, dates can improve your hormone regulation and reduce any inflammatory conditions you may be suffering from.
Author’s Note: Remember, when eating any type of food, moderation is much better than excessive. This also applies to sardines, dates, and olives. Do not go crazy. Treat each together as a snack and not a full-blown diet regime.
Do you enjoy Tea? How about Mint Tea? It’s the number one beverage in Morocco.
Looking now at what you should drink with your sardines, dates, and olives should be a caffeine-free Moroccan Mint Tea. This refreshing tea contains menthol. If you found yourself struggling and cooped up in your bed due to a stubborn and persistent cold.
Drinking Moroccan Mint Tea hot, warm or cold will give you signs of improvement very quickly. Suppose you do for the third option of cold, then add a wedge of lemon and some sparkling water to gain that extra buzz.
When out and about in Morocco, you will find Mint tea is the most popular of beverages. Its history in Morocco can be traced back to the early 19th Century when British merchant ships became stranded on the Moroccan coastline.
The poor Brits had no choice but to offload their precious cargo. So began the love affair of mint tea and Moroccans.
If served Moroccan Mint Tea in a restaurant setting, expect the waiter to serve your table with glasses, three-quarters full with tea, and a sprig of fresh mint leaves floating at the top. When trying for the first time, decline to have sugar and milk and savor the natural aroma and taste the depth of the tea served.
So, why should Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders in Morocco only eat couscous on Fridays?
As in many things, trying to identify the exact source or origin of any particular tradition or custom is often impossible. With Couscous, there are many disputed origins for this dish. What is deemed as accurate as possible has roots going back to when Islam arrived in the Maghreb in the 7th Century.
The indigenous Imazighen people are known to eat Couscous prepared in steaming pots. As the time passed, many Friday midday prayers included eating Couscous as a traditional authentic habit.
When you see Couscous for the first time, it would be easy to presume it is a grain, but you would be wrong. Couscous is a mixture of durum wheat, semolina flour, and water. In other words, you could describe Couscous as pasta.
The Berbers of Morocco favored the staple food due to the ease of access to wheat. The name Couscous translated means “well-formed” or “well rolled” and is similar to white rice in benefits and nutritional value.
Did you know your left hand is unclean in Morocco?
To eat the above dish of Couscous, it is best to follow tradition and ONLY use your right hand. If you do not feel confident in following this course of Arabic etiquette, then, by all means, request a spoon and fork to avoid upsetting your host.
So, why can I not use my left hand, you may well ask? The answer is simple. In Morocco, it is deemed your left hand is for sanitary purposes when cleaning oneself. Your right hand is reserved for eating only.
Therefore, try to remember your left hand is the unclean one.
Are you aware Morocco has a Red City and a Blue City?
When you are not feeding your hunger pains and cleaning your body parts, we expect to see you on a combustion engine supported by two wheels heading throughout Morocco.
On your adventure tour, you will undoubtedly visit two particular places called the blue and red city locally. Both are incredibly beautiful and defining camera magnets.
The Blue Pearl or locally named Chefchaouen or Chaouen, is a jaw-droppingly beautiful place to stand back and stay seated and admire all the various shades of blue walls displayed proudly in front of you.
Built in 1471, Chefchaouen lies nestled in the Rif Mountains. Your upwards journey through glorious sceneries will stay a long time in your memory bank. So why did the local inhabitants paint their medina blue and white?
Two reasons are widely debated. The first has been put down by the Jewish settlers who were the survivors of the camps in WW2. Traditional belief says it reminded them of the sky and the presence of God. The second was a simple method of avoiding attracting malaria from the persistent mosquitos.
Now, if you are looking for a total contrast to the tranquilness of Chefchaouen, then wait till your front wheel brings you to the “Red” or “Rose” city of Marrakech. This will, without any doubt, be Morocco’s jewel in the crown and painted entirely in Salmon Pink.
Marrakesh, home to Palaces, gardens, and Mosques has since the very beginning been the epicenter for both trade and culture.
The pink comes from the pinkish/red clay earth found everywhere in the surrounding hills. The soft shade of pink gives off a warm sensation to all visitors, and you will see – never too solid or too light, but rather warm and inviting.
What Is the difference between a Souk and a Medina?
For the uninitiated, Medinas are the places that form the old core of any Moroccan city. Each is surrounded by a medieval wall with an entry point consisting of ancient city gates.
These Medinas have an abundance of Souks squares housing market stalls. Marrakech is globally famous for its number of various souks. Furthermore, you would probably need two or three days just dedicated to seeing them all.
Souks are where you find an artisanal maker of your next pair of slippers or kaftan. Or, instead, a newly made piece of ethnic jewelry for the lady in your life.
Remember Ted Simon of Jupiter´s Travel fame. He must have considered an impressive rolled up rug to strap onto the back of his motorbike.
You will discover the Medina of Marrakech is full of narrow streets, mosques, riads, souks, and historical attractions. If you go alone, you will get lost.
Best stay as a group and have the local MotoDreamer Guide keep you safe with unlocking the secrets of the city.
Please remember to keep your safety at the forefront. You will need to negotiate many alleys and narrow streets. At the same time, you will need to focus on the numerous mopeds hurtling past you at high speeds. Watch out for the laden mule carts and wagons. A sound practice is to walk on the right side of each street.
Walking around Marrakesh will definitely be a challenge. But if done correctly, you will have lots of great memories to take back home.
We at MotoDreamer recommend you reserve the time to visit both the Bahia Palace built in 1866 and the open-air patio style Marrakech Museum.
In conclusion to Morocco for Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders.
We at MotoDreamer quickly realized that Morocco deserves another article concentrating on the destinations such as Tangiers, Rabat, the Atlas Mountains, and of course, the Western Sahara Desert.
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Finally, some great news for all Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders.
When visiting Morocco from any of the following countries, you are allowed to stay in Morocco for 90 days without the need for a Visa.
The United States
The United Kingdom
The European Union