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Marrakesh Express

This year’s Cavalcade International was a visually sumptuous affair, with participants taking in ancient cities, and the mountains of North Africa
Words: Tim Bradley

Any time a large number of Ferraris come together is likely to be quite a sight, but this year’s Cavalcade International was perhaps one of the most memorable, as Prancing Horse owners assembled in Morocco to experience the drive of a lifetime. With March temperatures hitting 32°C and the fierce sun reflecting off the desert sands, the sports cars snaked their way over the arid scenery, as journeymen had done for thousands of years.

The list of Ferrari models taking part was extensive and included some of the most stylish examples to emerge from Maranello in recent times. They included several SF90 Spider, 296 GTB, Roma, a LaFerrari, a Daytona SP3 and even an F50 all the way from Australia.

Owners brought a full range of Ferrari models to take part in the event, from Romas to 296 GTBs to a beautiful red F50 flown in all the way from Australia

Drivers meanwhile came from almost every inch of the globe, travelling to North Africa to take part from countries including the USA, Austria, Taiwan, Japan and of course Italy. 

After arriving in Marrakesh and booking into the luxurious five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel the competitors were able to rest and socialise before preparing themselves for the road trip ahead.

And day one of the event certainly proved to be worth the anticipation, as the Cavalcade embarked on a spectacular seven hour, 461 km round trip from Marrakesh to the port city of Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. 

Stretching over three days of driving, the route took in some of the most spectacular scenery Morocco has to offer, from mountain ranges and ancient red brick cities to vast swathes of Saharan desert

Once the first part of the day was done, the Ferraris skirting the Atlas mountain ranges and after lunch on the old city’s seafront walls, where brass cannons have guarded the ramparts since the 18th century, the drivers set off back on the return leg, a more direct route stopping off at the town of Chichaoua for freshly brewed coffee.

The afternoon saw the cars winding their way back to Marrakesh through the High Atlas mountains; V8 and V12 engines roaring their way across the landscape. 

The second day of the tour included about 350 km of driving towards the Berber village of Télouet, located in the High Atlas, continuing to the fortified city of Ait Ben Haddou, Tichka and return to Marrakech.

The High Atlas Mountains bordering Marrakesh provided a stunning backdrop and hundreds of kilometres of winding roads for the procession to follow

But day three of the Cavalcade was perhaps the most visually stirring, with the cars undertaking a 230km, four-hour long drive to the Agafay desert, where undulating sand dunes are criss-crossed by nomads on camel back. 

On their return to base, cars paraded through the historic Medina of Marrakech and an iconic display in Jemaa El Fna. The event was marked by a suitably lavish gala dinner and a charity auction at the splendid Palais Bahia in Marrakesh, a 19th century palace full of mosaics and works of art. 

As the auctioneer’s hammer resounded, Ferrari clients got hold of brand memorabilia and exclusive experiences, such as the Corso Pilota Classiche in Fiorano, as well as the opportunity to watch a 2023 Formula 1 Grand Prix live from the remote garage at Scuderia Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to FMPS (The Moroccan Foundation for the Promotion of PreSchool Education), a non-profit association that fosters preschool education.

Once again, the Cavalcade International offered a unique way to pair the driving thrill of a Ferrari with the culture and camaraderie of a group trip to a truly beautiful country.