The route of the MDC2024:
The return of the legendary "coast to coast"


Years ago, the Morocco Desert Challenge made history through its epic and legendary "Coast to Coast" route. A 3000km rally-raid adventure from Agadir and Plage Blanche at the Atlantic Ocean, to Saïdia at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Almost everything Morocco has to offer, in 8 days of cross-country racing.

Every edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge guarantees a demanding course that not only gives drivers a tough challenge, but also requires navigators to be really attentive. Fast tracks, technical sections, vast African plains, many dunes, salt lakes, river beds and legendary Dakar tracks: almost all 8 stages start and end in the bivouac. We no longer guarantee a "zero kilometer liaison," but we keep them to a minimum.

We finish as usual with a smashing final party in a magnificent all-inclusive 5-star hotel.

This was the route in 2024

Stage 0 | Thursday 11th & Friday 12th April

Agadir

Technical and administrative checks

On Thursday 11th & Friday 12th of April 2024 the Morocco Desert Challenge kicks off with scrutineering in Agadir, one of Morocco’s friendly seaside resorts with an international airport. Bivouac 0 is at Place Al Amal, Agadir’s largest public square. The rally hotels, where everybody is accommodated, are located along the square.

Stage 1 | Saturday 13th April

Agadir - Plage Blanche (prologue)

​​​​​​​Liaison to the start = 32 km
SS1 = 85 km
Liaison 2 = 182 km

Assistance = 269 km

The first 32km liaison is certainly no punishment. After about 7.5 km from the Al Amal Square, you leave the main road and pass through a beautiful wooded area via winding paths to the start of this prologue. You quickly leave the asphalt behind and can warm up for the main event: the liaison goes off-road, and you even have to navigate a bit to avoid obstacles. The starting point on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean is truly beautiful, so you can enjoy the scenery if you arrive a little early.

The 85km prologue is immediately a very enjoyable special stage. The first 10km take you along the waterline with occasional dunes and beautiful paths along the sea. Then the landscape transitions to pampas: large open plains, gently rolling with nice sandy tracks. Until km 70, you won't encounter a single stone. But be careful with the navigation. There are many left-right combinations that can be tricky, especially at higher speeds.

Stage 2 | Sunday 14th April

Plage Blanche -
Tadachacht/Assa

Liaison 1 = 3 km
SS2 = 363 km
Liaison 2 = 63 km

Assistance = 211 km

SS2 has also an amazing start with the traditional 25km flat out on the beach: "Our" Plage Blanche must, of course, be included in the MDC2024! The beautiful canyon afterward is also on the menu again, and this time you drive even deeper into it, covering 18 km with impressive dunes on one side, and mountain cliffs on the other side. At km 43, we leave the canyon and encounter enjoyable, flat tracks with some stones, the first of many.

After the asphalt past CP1, we traverse beautiful tracks and oueds through the hills and past a lovely scenery.

The first 180 km, until the refueling point, offer pleasant driving with a huge variety of landscapes and occasional tricky navigation, except for a rough 50 KM stretch. After the RAV, you come across a succession of nice tracks, occasionally with stones but generally smooth. From km 250 onwards, it transitions to sandy terrain, and you cross an amazing white chott, probably at top speed. Also this part is a pleasure to drive with spectacular landscapes, vast plains, and beautiful table mountains in the background. With its 363 km, Stage 2 is the first of the many "challenging" stages for which the MDC is renowned.

Stage 3 | Monday 15th April

Tadachacht/Assa - Tissint

SS3 = 361 km
​​​​​​​Liaison = 0 km

Assistance = 330 km

The military zone! In this vast area parallel to the Algerian border, you pass by as many as 8 military checkpoints, hopefully with the barriers open. It's definitely advisable to reduce speed here!

Today's stage offers less variety on the itinerary and hence is the least scenic of this MDC. In this region, there are only a limited number of tracks used exclusively to transport heavy military equipment, often resulting in poor road conditions. A necessary evil, but we don't have much choice: if you're crossing the country, you have to go through here.

The majority of the first 200 km consists of relatively pleasant tracks. There are occasional rough patches with lots of stones, but overall, it's a smooth ride. The virgin chott, a vast sand plain about 7 km long, is breath-taking. The speed in this first part is quite high.

That changes dramatically in the last kilometers before RAV at km 240. The 25 km after RAV are also in very bad condition. Expect bumps, ups and downs, wadis. In short, the speed decreases here.

The whole stage is characterized by a mix of good tracks and rough patches. Fortunately, these rough sections never last too long. So, it's a stage with ups and downs that won't necessarily be make it into the history books.

Stage 4 | Tuesday 16th April

Tissint - Tazzarine

liaison 1 = 15 km
SS4 = 261 km
liaison 2 = 93 km

Assistance = 272 km

Participants who have ridden the MDC before will be pleasantly surprised by the completely new first part of this stage 4. We start with a nice mix of fast tracks and some off-road sections with tricky navigation that aren't always easy to follow. Then, there are many parallel tracks - be careful of the dangerous situations here - that lead you to the major 'Dakar' pistes from the time when Africa's biggest rally thundered through this continent. You can once again accelerate to maximum speed during the passage of "Lake Iriki". Just be cautious of the large dust clouds that can linger for a while.

Then come the first, not to be underestimated, dunes of Erg Chegaga. Roughly 35 km as the crow flies, followed by a long but very scenic passage through the - hopefully dry - Oued Draa.

At the campsite in M'hamid, we turn left. Until the RAV, off-road sections and very difficult navigation pose a real challenge.

The second part after the RAV consists mainly of fast tracks. We pass by the old military posts and encounter more sandy tracks. The fast tracks continue until the finish line.

Stage 5 | Wednesday 17th April

Tazzarine - Merzouga

SS5 = 261 km
Liaison = 0 km

Assistance = 202 km

Another classic desert stage with a bit of everything, and the personal favorite of the organizer. The first half of the stage is completely new, featuring technical and sandy sections as well as fast tracks. From the CP at Marabout onwards, it truly becomes epic, with chotts, small dunes, plains, lots of winding sandy tracks, and breathtaking, continuously changing scenery. The beautiful stage concludes with a first passage of 15 km through the yellow dunes of Erg Chebbi. Navigation, fast driving, technical driving, and dune surfing: this stage really offers it all! You’ll surely love the sight of our bivouac near Hotel Yasmina at the foot of the Merzouga dunes.

Stage 6 | Thursday 18th April

Merzouga - Merzouga

SS6 = 205 km
​​​​​​​Liaison = 0 km

Assistance = 0 km

Don't be misled by the low number of kilometers. This is the famous dune stage that will have everyone feeling the necessary stress beforehand. And rightly so, because you'll tackle the dunes four times: three different dune seas are on the agenda: Erg Erg Znaigi, Erg Ouzina and the majestic dunes of Erg Chebbi that you have to traverse twice. Therefore, we depart early in the morning. The first motorcycles will start an hour after sunrise when the sun is high enough not to cast too many shadows in the dunes. "Une étape pour les grands garçons" (one for the big boys) as they say in French.

Stage 7 | Friday 19th April

Merzouga - Borj Bel Frissate

SS7A = 161km
liaison = 93 km
SS7B = 149 km
liaison = 47 km

Assistance = 441km

And another one for the big boys! It ain’t over till it’s over. Stage 7, with its 450 km, is the final long stage of the rally and consists of 2 parts. This stage has everything you can expect from rally-raid: a chott, one last series of dunes, long sandy oueds, rocky tracks, gravel, and especially in part 2, on the Plateau de Rekkam, beautiful WRC tracks. The liaison between 7A and 7B also goes off-road over the Col de Belkassem: a technically very difficult mountain top for which the participants will receive a separate briefing. Whoever finishes this stage well will likely be able to add an MDC2024 finish to their track record!

Stage 8 | Saturday 20th April

Borj Bel Frissate - Ain Ben Mathar

SS8 = 113 km
liaison = 166 km

Assistance = 291km

"Full throttle" is the key word for the final stage: during the first validation of the road books last February,  we completed it in an hour and a half. Very fast, so it's a stage to leave all the frustrations of loose sand, getting stuck, and the stones of the past days behind and forget about them. It's 113 km of full throttle.

But be careful: the prizes are only awarded at the finish line. To keep it exciting, our sports director Jean-Claude Kaket deliberately “forgot” a lot of cap headings n the roadbook. So, pay attention to navigation because today, this will make the difference.

Stage 8 offers pure WRC fun through the fields and pampas of North Morocco, but it demands utter concentration from both pilot and co-pilot.

A cold beer, and champagne for the winners, awaits you at the finish line!

On Saturday 20th April the finish & award ceremony will take place in the 5-star hotel Be Live in Saïdia. The airports of Oujda and Nador are just around the corner. The day after the rally, you can be home.

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.