The road to Merzouga – high above the world at Tizi n’Tichka, Morocco

V, WFD and I recently made the journey from Marrakesh to Merzouga.  For the readers that have yet to head to Merzouga this drive is approximately 350 miles east from Marrakesh to a place just miles away from the Algerian border.

This is not a drive for those with weak constitutions.

In order to make it to Merzouga, you must first proceed through the Tizi n’Tichka, the Tichka Pass.  The mountain roads gradually pick up altitude as you leave Marrakesh, though it’s easy to mistake the beginnings of the upcoming craziness for just an itty-bitty hill.  The gentle curving road suddenly takes on a new character – the left side of the road is a deep gulch and guardrails suddenly seam much more important.

Where are the guardrails?

The gulches become ravines.  The ravines become sheer drops.  The gentle curving road turns into a seemingly never-ending series of hairpin turns.

You will freak out.

Buses will crowd you out of your lane as they tear down the hill.  Dudes sit on the lone guardrails – exactly where you don’t want them to hang out – while peddling home made phoney precious stones and fossils.  Every turn is a blind.  Peeled rubber slicks all of the turns and makes you wonder “well, did they make it”?

And then you come across this view:

2,260 meters above sea level. Not for chumps.

After passing through a canyon slightly higher up, cliff faces are replaced with mountain-top fields filled with grazing ponies and cows.  Goats feed on lush expanses of long grass and Berber families stretch out blankets for daily picnics.

You are not in Kansas anymore.

If anything, this drive feels like a Top Gear fan’s wildest dream.

Seven hours of hard charging through the more switchbacks and desert and you’ll be in Merzouga, but what’s the fun in going the easy way?  Stay tuned.

7 Comments

  1. One of my top 3 wildest most challenging roads in the world ( Next to Cinque Terre mountain delights in Italy and northern Andes mountain passes in remote Southern Venezuela – few guardrails on the others , but lots of crosses !

    1. You’re just bragging about Venezuela because you know that I haven’t been there…yet! Great trip!

  2. Makes you homesick for the wide lanes of the GSP. I’ve tried to keep up with JD on a venture from Brooklyn to Holmdel/Red Bank NJ, and he “smoked” me… Of course he had a newer Volvo — which JD isn’t “shy” about running a “few” miles over the speed limit… Glad you kept to the posted speeds on this venture. All is well at the KCDA. Kramer

    1. The GSP only started to prepare me for driving over here. While not everyone can hit the top speeds of the beautiful Garden State, everyone aspires to own the road! It’s good to hear from you – stop back in soon!

  3. Leo Picariello

    I would love to take my TT Roadster on that road!

    1. You could always set up a group ride over here! You’ll have to plan ahead – the fastest shippers take about a month to get a car from Port Newark to Casablanca. 🙂

  4. […] and I recently played hosts to WFD and JBG, two guests yearning for distinctly different experiences in Morocco and with vastly […]

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