Morocco – Lawrence Bransby (Issue 11)

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREFor a while, the tracks we had been following across a stony, desert plain in the south of Morocco had been getting disturbingly indistinct, until what was left seemed to be little more than the deep scoriations of a ripper attached to a heavy-duty grader, roughly demarcating the route of some future or abandoned road.
It wasn’t the route we thought we’d be following; that was somewhere to the left across the desert, supposedly part of a long-past Paris-Dakar route marked with cairns. We had enough fuel to turn back to the safety of people and houses and, more importantly, petrol. And, if we didn’t encounter problems or get lost, we probably had just enough to make it to the Al Mahbas-Zag road which, if we kept going long enough due east, we were bound to hit.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
According to the map there was supposed to be a town or village somewhere nearby but the last village – also marked on the map – had strangely disappeared.
What to do…?
Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThis was our third desert piste since entering Morocco and we were slowly gaining confidence in ourselves, our bikes and our ability to ride across sand; but the fear of the unknown, of getting lost in the enormity of the Sahara, is something entirely different.
After completing our first and second pistes and heading further south towards Mauritania, we’d chanced upon, and been invited to join, a group of French outfit riders and their guide. We spent two days with them well off the beaten track in the more remote High Atlas, but that is another story.
Now, much further south, we were attempting our third and most ambitious piste; a remote section of desert recommended by the legendary desert biker Chris Scott. But the track we had been following was becoming disturbingly indistinct until, eventually, we paused, unsure of what to do: turn back; head off into the desert and try to pick up the track Gareth had marked on his GPS, or keep on following the ever-diminishing grader tracks and hope they wouldn’t just peter out… (extract from issue 11)

Overland magazine L Bransby Morocco