Moped in Sahara Desert – Moroccan Motorcycle Adventure

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Updated August 9, 2016 / João Leitão / No Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 3 minutes
Moped in Sahara Desert - Moroccan Motorcycle Adventure

Moped in Sahara Desert – Moroccan Motorcycle Adventure

Motorcycle in Sahara

NOTE: these pictures were taken 10 years ago with my cell phone, so expect bad image quality. Sorry about that.

A few years ago – when I was living in the Sahara Desert city of Erfoud, my friend Samuel Santos from the travel blog “Dobrar Fronteiras” visited me.

While trying to figure out something interesting we could do, I came up with the idea of riding a motorcycle on the desert tracks – along the Algerian border.

Motorcycle Diaries in Sahara Desert

Motorcycle Diaries in Sahara Desert

From Erfoud, we would take the tracks along the heavily armed border line between Morocco and Algeria. From the army post of Tisserdmine, we would ride all the way to Erg Chebbi Dunes to a hotel called Auberge Café du Sud.

From Auberge Café du Sud, we would take the tracks back to Erfoud – profiting from the existing 8.5 miles / 14 km of asphalt.

🗺 Map of itinerary:

Map of itinerary of Motorcycle ride in Sahara Desert

Map of itinerary of Motorcycle ride in Sahara Desert

So far everything seems ok, right?

What is then peculiar about this trip?

Well, the motorcycle was not really an authentic motorcycle…

I mean, it is… but it is not.

It has pedals… and it is called: “Moped”.

A moped is a small, low speed motorcycle, driven by an engine as well as bicycle pedals.

In Morocco, these small bicycles are commonly called as “Mobylette“.

So, we rode Motobécane motorcycles across the Sahara Desert.

Motobecane motorcycle to Sahara Desert

Motobecane motorcycle to Sahara Desert

The trip was amazing and we had the chance of crossing a beautiful part of the Moroccan desert on our own. These tracks are usually crossed by 4WD only.

As I had lived in the region for almost 5 years, my knowledge of this part of the desert was quite good. The way from Erfoud to Erg Chebbi Dunes can be easily made following either the marked tracks through Merzane or the asphalt road through Rissani.

Ride a Motorcycle in Morocco

Ride a Motorcycle in Morocco

We just wanted to explore further, so we turned left into the wild desert and started following whatever path, track or desert mark that inspired us.

It took us around 9 hours to cross about 25 miles / 40 km on a low speed, not desert prepared moped.

ℹ️ Moped in Sahara Desert – The Essentials

Ride a Motorcycle in Sahara Desert

Ride a Motorcycle in Sahara Desert

There are a few essentials you need to carry along with you on this Sahara Desert adventure. Basically, the most important are warm clothes, because February desert temperatures while riding a motorcycle are harsh – cold – dry. Water is also vital since we do need to keep hydrated.

  • Local clothes called Jdelaba
  • Moroccan desert scarf
  • Gloves
  • Water
  • Boots
  • Rope
  • 1.5l of extra gasoline
  • Backpack

🚧 Moped in Sahara Desert – The Most Difficult

Sahara Desert with Motorcycle

Motorcycle malfunction – Sahara Desert

Some parts of the trip require extra skills, incredible luck and a bit of craziness. Moped are not famous for their strength or off-road effectiveness. Crossing sand with this type of motorcycle requires expertise and going up rocky hills requires total focus.

  • February Sahara Desert dry cold
  • Crossing sand
  • Getting lost
  • Going up rocky hills
  • Motorcycle malfunction
  • Camels on the way

😄 Moped in Sahara Desert – The Most Fun

Lost in Sahara Desert

Lost in Sahara Desert – Is he telling me where not to go???

Adventures are made of unique experiences. This ride was very tiring, yet we had the times of our lives. All the fun parts of the trip were basically the same as the most difficult.

  • February Sahara Desert dry cold – NOT FUNNY
  • Crossing sand – A LOT OF FUN
  • Getting lost – THE FUNNIEST OF IT ALL
  • Going up rocky hills – PROBABLY NOT VERY FUNNY
  • Motorcycle malfunction – AFTER PROBLEM FIXED, YES, FUNNY
  • Camels on the way – SAMUEL CHASING CAMELS WAS VERY FUNNY

🏍 The Team

Motorcycle Diaries in Sahara Desert

Motorcycle Diaries in Sahara Desert

David Samuel Santos

Motorcycle in Merzouga - Erg Chebbi Dunes region

Motorcycle in Merzouga – Erg Chebbi Dunes region

João Leitão

Motorcycle Diaries Sahara

Motorcycle Diaries Sahara

Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco - North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.

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