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Wednesday, 25 March 2015 12:00 AM

(This is an excellent article from the Sunday Times in 2012 that is well worth rereading now.)

The Sunday Times 8 April 2012

Travel Section: our writers … most memorable trips

Fasten your seatbelts, rev your engins, turn up the stereo … We’ve asked our writers for their most memorable road trips ever

High Atlas Loop - Morocco

Reassuringly familiar yet thrillingly exotic, Morocco has empty roads and epic scenery, hip hotels in ancient villages and camels on the road beside the ubiquitous Mercs. Bookended with a night in a Marrakech riad, this seven-day drive – done best in spring, with almond trees blossoming and temperatures a treat – starts with a 50-minute climb into the High Atlas. From there, it’s three hairpin-tastic hours drive south to Taroudant, over Tizi-n-Test, a dizzying pass at 6,800 ft, from where the road plunges south into the Souss Valley.

From Taroudant, a mini Marrakech with a fabulous souk, two easy days east between the Sahara and the High Atlas bring you to Todra Gorge, where Aberge Le festival has cave rooms in the 525 ft cliffs. It’s two days back over the Atlas to Marrakech, via Ait Benhaddou, a stage-set fortified town. Tizi-n-Ticha, at 7,400 ft the highest road pass in Morocco, then completes the loop back to Marrakech.

The Wheels: a Peugeot 106, the workhorse of Morocco.

On the stereo: Khaled’s 1992 hit Didi, which still rocks Marrakech’s barber shops and cafes.

The package: Naturally Morocco … Easyjet flights into Marrakech

 

What we at Naturally Morocco add on reading this article

This route is a classic driving tour which can be done with or without a driver – personal preference – but the high passes and hairpin roads are not for the feint hearted. Outside of Marrakech driving for confident drivers is relatively comfortable although do expect to get lost on occasions (part of the adventure) if you do go it alone.

The accommodation on offer in this area, south of Marrakech, is unique and generally of excellent quality; however, even the best of accommodation outside of Marrakech can often be described as rustic, with such normal facilities as electricity failing at times.

Finally, we do not recommend this route in the peak winter months as the mountain roads can become treacherous and can even be closed at times due to landslips or snow.