Getting high in the Atlas

November 30, 2019

The weather and wind cleared after our departure in Rabat which gave us a great boost towards the High Atlas. This beautiful mountain range had us amazed throughout the ride!

Bye bye sea you again

Getting out of Rabat was an easy ride and we followed the ocean for a while. Just before Casablanca we turned towards Marrakech. The first days land inward weren’t very appealing so we took the opportunity to cycle get cover some distance. Pretty soon we saw the mountains coming up and getting closer to Marrakech the landscape turned into beautiful sights!

City hopping

We reached Marrakech and decided not to spend too much time there. We where a bit afraid of this crowded city, mainly because cyclists and big crowded cities aren’t a very good combination. To my great surprise we managed quite well to cycle through, some roads even had bicycle lanes! Once outside the city we got a much clearer view of the magnificent Atlas mountain range and Mt Toubkal (4165m).

Toubkal!

Getting high

The whole area is extremely beautiful and I’m glad to follow Steven’s (https://20angles.com/) idea of cycling the High Atlas. We decide to cycle the Tizi n’ Test pass up to 2100m. It slowly takes us higher and higher following a river. This makes it a very long climb but never very steep sections so we can maintain a good pace. Steven has intestinal problems (that’s a clean word for bad diarrhoea) which gives him a hard (get it?) time on the bicycle. Still he manages to continue and after a complete day of cycling we make it to the top of the mountain pass just before dark. We decide to stay in Augerge la haute vue for some well deserved rest and great food.

Going down

After a great night and breakfast we start our long descent. We get treated with amazing views from the other side of the atlas range. After about 30km of winding corners we come into a whole new landscape. An almost straight road takes us gently and very easy to the Atlantic ocean again. In Agadir Steven will go back to Belgium, we had a great 2 weeks cycling here but now I’ll be on my own to be crossing the Sahara desert to Senegal!

Plastic soup

Yesterday I visited the Surfrider Maroc foundation. An organisation that tries to educate, inform and clean up the area from pollution. It is a small team of great people who are working hard to make people aware of this problem. They are going to schools and companies to explain about the situation and how they can help. They organise beach clean ups in the area and make art with the found trash. To find out more about their project and goals please visit http://www.surfridermaroc.com/ you can easily make a donation through their website! One of their current projects is to make a competition between schools to make art of “garbage” and the winning school would be able to expose it at a roundabout or entrance of the city. (still trying to find support from authorities to do that).

One of the things I discovered on projects like this is that they need support from the local government to be allowed to talk in schools. This is a big difference in Belgium because a school can decide this more or less independent. The same goes for my friend Wahyu in Indonesia and it is not easy to convince the right people to get this permission. Luckily here in Agadir, they have a partnership with the government since a couple of years now. This creating the opportunity to go to schools and educate the children about their cause. As I see in Morocco people are quite receptive about the ideas they’re spreading and about the environment. I hope they can keep up the great work and will be able to spread their word!

Kilimanjaro

It might seem early but the climb for Kilimanjaro is fixed. Together with Wild Tanzania we’re organising an expedition and anyone who wants can join on this trip! The climb will start the 23 of June until the 2nd of July and is open for all who want to climb with me. Contact me at Veyt.jelle@gmail.com or check out the following link if you’re interested. I’m partnering up with them mainly because they have an engagement in their trips that respect the environment and the people working for them.

Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible!!!

and thanks for the great support!