Oscar Kornyei

Morocco On A Motorcycle

7 reasons to ride this North African nirvana

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efore the Dakar Rally moved out of Africa, mighty Morocco was regarded as the most brutal section of the world’s most difficult race. Battling 600 miles of treacherous terrain over three days and 130°F heat in the Sahara Desert, many entrants never got to set their wheels beyond the North African sand dunes. But ever since the world’s toughest rally put the country on the global adventure map, conquering its 13,000-foot-tall snow-capped mountain ranges and coming face-to-face with a Bedouin tribe (some as large as 3,000 tents and 80,000 camels) is on many riders’ bucket list. I’m no different, so I grabbed the chance to go for a week-long blast along the country’s best roads with Wheels of Morocco—an official BMW Travel Partner company, and one of very few options in this part of the world. There were twisting mountain passes, flowing dirt roads, river crossings, and a night in the dunes of the Sahara—with camels and scorpions as companions. There was also plenty of sweet mint tea, bustling souks, street food vendors offering all sorts of stomach-churning concoctions, tree-climbing goats, monkeys, snake charmers, and consistent calls to prayer from minarets.

Atlas Mountains
Riding the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.Oscar Kornyei

The weather is sun-soaked all year long—average temperatures range from mid-50s Fahrenheit in the winter to balmy and in the mid-80s in summer months. The traffic is like nothing you’ve ever seen. There’s no road rage. Swearing is frowned upon, which means “stubborn as a donkey” is a hardcore as it gets. Cars pull over to let you pass and kids in the countryside wave at you like they’ve just seen Rossi whiz past.

And dig this: motorcycles below 50cc don’t need to be registered and there are no laws forbidding you from hooning around on a beach—from pristine deserted shorelines to iconic locations that will remind you of Miami Beach. There are enough weird contraptions—from 150cc trikes, goat carts transporting mattresses, and chickens stacked mile high to full-blown desert racers—to film the next installment of Mad Max.

Here are seven stories from my trip:

It's a crazy, magical, and awe-inspiring culture, very different from being coddled in America or Western Europe, which is yet another reason it makes for a wonderful adventure on a motorcycle.