Tizi n’ Test Pass: Another “Most Dangerous Road”

March 17, 2023

We spent a couple of nights at Bivouac Lot of Stars outside Ouarzazate before heading further west to Taroudant.

This place (Bivuoac Lot of Stars) was a small oasis in the middle of the city. Nothing fancy; in fact, a bit the opposite. But comfortable.

Lots of peacocks here. These were hanging out on the wall next to the door to our room. More were on the roof of our room. And yes, they can be loud.

But tthey are also cool to look at.

The owner’s scooter got a new 2RTG sticker before we left.

Our hotel for the next two nights was on the west side of Taroudant, and somehow we had to ride through Taroudant to get there. This seems sensible, since we were approaching from the east, but we had been on a two=lane highway for miles, and when we got to Taroudant, we went from highway to alleyway in the blink of an eye. It’s more than a bit weird to go from wide open desert to suddenly in between shop stalls, following pedestrians, donkeys, and bicycles at a walking pace.

This lasted for about ten minutes and then we were back on the open highway again. In another fifteen minutes we were turning onto a dirt road to our destination, Le Tour du Toile.

We’ve spent a couple of weeks now in various hotels, tents, and bivouacs in Morocco, and this place has to be one of the most serene and peaceful places we’ve stayed. It’s in the desert, in what feels like the middle of nowhere, but once you enter the walls, it feels like its’ own oasis. The people were very friendly — this seems to be the story of Morocco — the room was comfortable and the food was great.

And they insisted I park the bike in the courtyard right outside the front door..

I had originally intended to do a loop through the Anti-Atlas Mountains, but we were so comfortable here, we decided to just relax for a couple of days.

From Taroudant, we headed north towards Marrakech over the Tizi n’ Test Pass. You can google it and you’ll find many articles describing this pass as one of the “Most Dangerous Roads” in Morocco. There seems to be a theme here. Nearly every pass is “most dangerous”. At first I thought this must be a term assigned to any road that is less than straight and flat; a title given by city dwellers, YouTube vloggers, or luxury tourists who experience these roads for the first time while riding in a limousine or rental car, perhaps accidentally detouring off the intended path.

Later I decided that perhaps these “most dangerous” monikers were bestowed years ago, when the road was the primary connection between two places, in this case Taroudant and Marrakech, and thus there was a lot of commercial truck and bus traffic on the road. I can definitely see how these roads could be considered more dangerous when faced with an oncoming bus or gravel truck veering around a switchback at a very unsafe speed.

Today, the Tizi n’ Test Pass, much like the “Death Road” in Bolivia is mostly a tourist road, used by cars, motorcyclists, and bicyclists for tourism purposes. There are still locals living along the road as well, but the main road from Agadir to Marrakech has long replaced this small mountain pass. Traffic is almost non-existent. We passed perhaps a dozen cars in a couple of hours on the road.

It’s a great ride, and highly recommended, although it would have been much more pleasant without the construction work that was happening on the Marrakech end of the pass.

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