I have tackled this route on six times in total. The first was in April 2006, heading east from M'semrir riding by myself on a BMW R1200GS with luggage, and it took about 3 hours.

In October 2008 I headed west from Tamtattouchte on an unladen BMW F650GS twin with four other riders. The piste was horribly chewed up and completely cut in two places, thus the traverse took nearly 14 hours, the last 6 hours by moonlight!

So it was with some trepidation that I tackled the piste once more in May 2010 travelling solo on a Yamaha Tenere heading east. Despite many stops to take photos and record the route description, plus a couple of stop to chat to other travellers, the 43km took less than 2 hours. Since then I've ridden it again on other bikes and there's been some engineering work on the eastern (Todra) end.

As you will read from the waypoint descriptions, much of the piste involves following river valleys, mostly riding in (hopefully) dry river beds. Piste conditions will therefore vary according to weather conditions over the previous few months. I’ve designated this as a technical route but in good conditions it could be tackled by novices, accompanied by more experienced riders, so long as they are not carrying luggage.

Photographs are a mixture from the various trips.

km0: 'bonne piste' says the sign as you leave M'semrir

km1: there are two tracks east from here but I normally turn off a bit to the north

km3: heading east into a green valley

km6: the start of the first gorge

km8: the route is basically three linked river beds, so get used to this

km9: exiting the first gorge

km10: a Swiss couple on an Africa Twin combo. Respect!

km17.5: Tizi n’Uguent Zegasaoun at 2645m

km18.9: Oct 2008—piste cut with 1.5m trench (photo by Andy Shortridge)

with hindsight, the five of us should have partially filled this with rocks, then cut down the sides to be able to cross...

...instead we went offroad to the left here (May 2010 pic looking in other direction)... much, much harder than it looks

km20: Barry Geasley giving advice to those 'taking the high road' (photo by Andy Shortridge)

km22: same spot, different trips—April 2006...

...and October 2008 with a chewed up river bed

km23: you don't want to be here when the river is in flood

km26: stopped for the fourth time to clear the mud jamming the front wheel (photo by Andy Shortridge)

km27: I keep bumping into Charles and Yvonne from Protrax all over Morocco

km32: climbing out of the third gorge (cave houses to the right)

km34: this section of piste has since been reengineered