Morocco is incredibly diverse. I have been many times, as has Conrad, across the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh and beyond. Each time it surprises me. The green of the palmeries and oases, the stark red earth, the cedar forests of Middle Atlas, the desert and the mountain passes, some of which are snow covered in the winter. The culture and architecture is fascinating. It is a delightful country and one which is close to perfect for classic rallying, marrying together great driving with gorgeous hotels and sites of cultural interest.
We start at the palatial Hotel Alphonso XIII where your car will be ready and waiting for you. Following the rally briefing will be drinks on the rooftop bar overlooking the old town of Seville, before moving on to the welcome dinner. The following day we set off nice and early and enjoy a leisurely jaunt through the Sierra de Grazalema down to the southern tip of the Spanish mainland at Tarifa for the afternoon ferry. An hour later we are across the Strait of Gibraltar, a mere 14km gap that separates Europe from Africa and spend the night in Tangier.
Now begins the Atlas Adventure proper. We traverse the Rif mountains via Chefchaouen down to Ifrane where we stay at the world class Michlifen Hotel. Wending our way south across the Middle Atlas and High Atlas, in the space of two days the alpine landscape and cedar forests of Ifrane give way to valleys of palms, rivers and gorges, and eventually the desert.
Wending our way through the mountains we arrive in Marrakech via the Ouzoud waterfalls we stay at the devine Les Deux Tours for two nights. This is now your chance to experience Marrakesh. It is then on to the bohemian town of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast for two nights, before proceeding inland to Taroudant taking in some prolific mountain passes en route to the world-renowned Kasbah Bab Ourika where. Taking the highest motorable pass in northern Africa we again cross the Atlas and descend to Skoura via Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazarte. Following the ‘route of 1000 kasbahs’ east to Ouazazarte through fertile valleys filled with palm groves the mighty Todhra gorge lies in wait – a fairly rough track but nothing too challenging.
Heading north via Midelt we arrive in Fes where we spend two nights allowing you time to explore the medina. Our final night in Morocco is in Tamuda Bay, after which we take the midday ferry back to Spain and enjoy the Hotel monasterio de San Martin. The final day’s drive takes in some of the best roads in Andalucia and eventually ends up back in Seville where we celebrate our journey together with the final dinner party and awards.
~ Adrian Epps
1. Rob Garnsworthy (AUS) & TBC / TBC
2. Giancarlo Puddu (IT) & Agneta Rossi-Landi (IT) / TBC
Himalaya Rally 2007, Tiger Rally 2008, Patagonia 2010, Classic India 2013
3. John Noble (GB) & Jean Noble (GB) / TBC
Himalaya Rally 2007, Tiger Rally 2008, Great Arc of India 2009, Patagonia 2010, Classic India 2013, Shangri-La 2014, Alpaca 2016
4. John McCann (GB) & Frances McCann (GB) / TBC
Classic India 2013, Venice Monaco 2017
5. Michael Hurdle (GB) & Barbara Hurdle (GB) / TBC
Venice Monaco 2017
6. Kenneth Lea (GB) & TBC / TBC
7. Phil Garratt (GB) & Kieron Brown (GB) / TBC
Classic Persia 2016, Venice Monaco 2017
8. Mark Humphries (GB) & Jacquey Humphries (GB) / TBC
Venice Monaco 2017
9. Peter Cotes (GB) & Allison Cotes (GB) / 1967 Lotus Elan
Himalaya Rally 2007, Tiger Rally 2008, Patagonia 2010, Shangri-La 2014, Classic Persia 2016, Road to Bali 2018
10. Martti Kiikka (FI) & Pirkko Kiikka (FI) / TBC
Tiger Rally 2008, Classic India 2013
11. Conrad Birch (GB) & Denise Farley (GB) / TBC
Jewel of India 1999, Jewel of India 2001, Himalaya Rally 2006, Himalaya Rally 2007, Tiger Rally 2008, Great Arc of India 2009, Patagonia 2010, Great Arc of India 2011, Great Game 2011, Classic India 2013, Shangri-La 2014, Oman Off-road 2015, Alpaca 2016, Classic Persia 2016, Venice Monaco 2017
Old Town, Fes
Erg Chebbi Dunes
Todhra & Dades Gorges
Remote roads, High Atlas
Kasbah Bab Ourika
Les Deux Tours
Hotel Alphonso XIII