Morocco Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah

Area: 446,550 sq km


Climate: Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior

Terrain: northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m highest point: Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m

Geography—note: strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar


Population: 29,661,636 (July 1999 est.)

Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%

Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%

Languages: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy

Ibn Battutah (1304-1368) is a famous Moroccan traveller of the world: Born in Tanger, he went on the pilgrimage to Mecca when he decided to travel a bit further: From 1325 to 1354 he travelled about 120,000 km (four times the estimated length of our journey) visiting almost all of the Muslim countries in the Old World: North Africa, Arabia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, lower Volga, Crimea, Bokhara, Samarqand, Spain, Timbuktu, India, China, Sumatra. On his return to Morocco he became a judge and he dictated his impressions to a writer resulting in a book called Rihlah (Travels).

A map of Ibn Battutah's journeys can be found on the website of the Mariner's Museum, Virginia.

Route notes of the rally:

…coming from the United States (New York).

Sunday 9th July - Day 71

Arrive in Marrakech

Monday 10th July - Day 72 — Rest Day in Marrakech

A day for getting the car safely from the airport and ready for the trip around the Atlas Mountains and the fringes of the Sahara Desert.

Tuesday 11th July - Day 73 — Marrakech to Ouarzazate 415km

The route heads south out of Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains, passing over the Tizi N' Test at just over 2000m, giving the most fantastic views over the fringe of the desert. Joining the main highway the route turns east heading for the best-known tourist centre of Morocco, Ouarzazate. The city itself attracts visitors for its craft centre, Berber pottery and ouzguita carpets. En route you will have the pleasure in passing the famous Atlas Film Studios and the Kasbah Building, finished in the most amazing pale ochre colour.

Wednesday 12 July - Day 74 — Ouarzazate to Erfoud 400km

This route skirts the Vallee du Dades and passes over the Dades River before reaching the hotel at Erfoud. After a re-group you will be sent off towards Rissani, where you will follow the desert tracks (and your nose) to the 'Dune de Stable'. Upon your arrival you can sip mint tea in a bivouac and watch the sun go down across the Sahara before we escort you all safely back to you hotel for a welcome rest.

Thursday 13th July - Day 75 — Erfoud to Tanger 660km

A long day but not a difficult driving day. Heading across country skirting both desert and mountains to the town of Meknes and then Larache, where you have the pleasure of the last stretch of motorway.

Friday 14th July - Day 76 — Tangier to Murcia 530km

After an early morning crossing to Algerciras the route takes the coastal road to Malaga then heads inland to Granada, Baza and Murcia.

…moving on to Spain.