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.
From Erfoud, we would take the tracks along the heavily armed borderline 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.
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 “Mobylette“.
So, we rode Motobécane motorcycles across the 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.
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 low speed, not desert prepared moped.
Around the same date in 2008, I made another trip from Erfoud to Erg Chebbi Dunes, but with a bicycle. It was my fantastic cycling the Sahara Desert adventure.
NOTE: these pictures were taken with my old cell phone so don’t expect the best quality.
Map and Itinerary
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
- 1.5l of extra gasoline
The Most Difficult
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
The Most Fun
Adventures are made of unique occurrences that become our best travel 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