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Atlas to Atlantic World First Sponsored by Epic Morocco

Alice and Rachid reach Agadir

Epic Morocco’s team, Alice Morrison from Scotland and Rachid Ait Elmahjoub from the Imlil Valley, have become the first ever people to walk from the Roof of North Africa, Mount Toubkal, 300 kilometres across the Atlas mountains to Agadir on the Atlantic Ocean.

Epic Morocco sponsored and planned the expedition with them as a way to open up new routes across the mountains and also explore the hidden valleys and villages on the way.

The team were entirely self-supported, carrying all their own kit and supplies for the trek. They had to constantly be aware of where they might refill with water and look for places to stay or to camp along the way. They relied on getting food from the tiny villages and farms they passed through.

Charlie Shepherd, CEO of Epic Morocco, explained why he wanted to back the exploration, ” Epic Morocco is a specialist in adventure holidays here in Morocco and we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the country. We wanted to showcase the incredible natural beauty of Morocco and the diversity of its landscapes. No-one had ever crossed the whole way across from the highest point to the lowest, but I had every faith in Rachid and Alice and their ability to do it.”

Alice Morrison added her highlights, “Apart from the extreme physical nature of the expedition, the thing that stood out for me was the wonderful and humbling hospitality we encountered from the Berber people. In every village we passed through, people invited us into their homes to eat or drink tea. We ran out of water at one stage on a really hot, deserted piste, and were getting thirsty and worried until we saw a shepherd in the distance. He came running down over the hills with his flock to share his bottle of water with us. This kind of generosity was displayed over and over again. We would not have made it without the help of the people of the mountains.”

Rachid Ait Elmahjoub, an Amazigh mountain guide, navigated the route across the peaks and through the valleys, exploring places he had never been before. “I want to give a clear picture to visitors to Morocco of my country, my culture and my people. I am proud of them and I want to share them.”

The expedition took 12 days in total from its beginning on the summit of Mount Toubkal (4167m). The team were walking for up to 18 hours a day. The temperatures were extreme: from the snows on Toubkal to 43 degrees as they came across towards Agadir.  The terrain was rough and often treacherous, with sharp boulders, river crossings, tough ascents and long, slippery descents.

So will Epic Morocco be running it as one of its regular hiking trips? “We are looking at doing it perhaps as a hiking/biking trip,” said Charlie Shepherd, ” We would need to tweak the route a bit and it would certainly be a challenge, but if there is an appetite for it, it is a big thing to accomplish .and you get to see a great swathe of the country”

For more information please email escape@epicmorocco.co.uk

For more adventures from Alice Morrison please visit www.alicemorrison.co.uk

From Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure

Camel trek in Erg Chebbi

When we got the call from Tern TV to be their Moroccan fixer for the BBC 2 Series, From Morocco to Mali: An Arabian Adventure, it started us off on a quest to find the historic salt roads that cross Morocco from North to South and down across the Sahara.

Our job was to help plot the route, to input any ideas we had of people to meet along the way, to get all the film permits sorted and to transport the crew through Morocco. We were then there as an integral part of the team all through the filming to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

We needed every one of our fourteen years of experience in designing tailormade tours and adventures in Morocco to get the job done – it was a mammoth task.

Morocco to Timbuktu

Charlie Shepherd, Epic Morocco Founder, took the lead and made sure the three week shoot went as smoothly as possible. Simo Hadji was the camera assistant and Khalid was the driver. Our guide, Saaid Naanaa got to play a starring role as he guided Alice across the mountains.

In fact, the presenter, Alice Morrison is also a part of Epic Morocco. We sponsored her for her big world first trek: The Atlas to Atlantic when she trekked from the top of Mount Toubkal to the Atlantic ocean straight across the Atlas Mountains.

Epic transport to the mountains

The Series starts in Tangier and then travels down through Fez and Marrakech, across the Atlas Mountains and to the ancient, lost city of Sijilmassa.

Morocco to Mali

We explore historic salt mines hidden in the mountains, the traditional camel market in Guelmim, and finally cross into the dunes of the Sahara Desert.

It is on BBC2 on 11th and 18th May 2017 at 9.00 pm and available after that on BBC IPlayer.

We are also designing a trip to visit some of the destinations featured. Please contact escape@epicmorocco.co.uk for details.

The book on the adventure is out now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1545581371/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 of the best Morocco blogs

Snake Charmer by Kevin Gessner

There is a wealth of writing talent and local knowledge based here in Morocco that we regularly catch up with. Bloggers covering everything from romance  to TEDx Marrakech; from drum making to where to get a sneaky glass of wine in the medina. Of course there is our blog too which looks at the more adventurous side of life   We thought it was time we shared all that experience with you, so here are our Top 9 Blogs about Morocco.

In no particular order…

Alice Morrison came to Morocco in January 2014 to train for the toughest footrace in earth, the Marathon des Sables . It is 6 marathons across the desert in 6 days, carrying all your own equipment and supplies. Temperatures reach 50 degrees and the dunes roll on relentlessly. However, although it ripped her feet to shreds,  it didn’t put Alice off Morocco, in fact she liked it so much that she stayed. Her blog covers adventures big and small. So check it out  www.alicemorrison.co.uk/blog

 

Per Sjodell and Patrick Benjaminsson arrived in Marrakech from Sweden with no fixed plan other than to take a break and enjoy the beautiful riad they had renovated. Morocco, however, had other ideas for them and over a year on, they are absolute fixtures on the Marrakech scene and ran the recent Tedx event. If you want to know what is going on in town – they are the ones to go to http://riadarabe.blogspot.com

Amanda , the writer of MarocMama introduces herself and her site. “I’m Amanda. A curious, world travelling mom of two boys. On MarocMama you’ll find inspiration to eat amazing food, live globally, and explore the world with us. We’re a Moroccan/American family living in Marrakech. Come with us on our adventures!” Well worth a peruse. http://marocmama.com/morocco/

This choice is a little bit different as it is part of Fathom Guides rather than just an individual but we really liked the content and found it useful, so we have included it for you to look through. http://www.fathomaway.com/guides/africa/marrakech/

If it is art and design you are interested in, then Maryam Montague’s blog will provide you with lots of beautiful thoughts and images to enjoy. Maryam and her family founded Peacock Pavilions, a beautiful venue on the outskirts of the city and also founded Project Soar, a wonderful project that empowers girls. Give yourself a treat with http://www.mmontague.com/my-marrakesh/

Morocco is not just about beauty, adventure, and the joy of living, however, it is also a busy, modern state and a leader in African affairs. Huge national programmes are in place to improve the infrastructure, education and the living conditions of the poorest. The Riad Zany blog will keep you across the latest development.  Here it is http://riadzany.blogspot.com/

Colin runs a property company in Marrakech, buying and selling riads and also overseeing developments. He has a different slant on things and his blog is always refreshing to read and full of practical info as well as the latest riads for sale (if you fancy a bit of property porn) https://bosworthpropertymarrakech.com/blog/

There is also this excellent property blog http://grantstonerrawlings.blogspot.com/ which is a wealth of information on everything from building regs to which are the best books on art and design.

And last but not least, this is a really interesting blog collection sharing the experiences of AMIDEAST  students in Morocco. https://amideastedabroad.org/home?category=Morocco

 

We hope you enjoy them!