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walking holidays

High Atlas and Marrakech in Comfort

Overview

Our High Atlas and Marrakech walking holiday in Morocco combines some moderate walking in the iconic Atlas Mountains with the vibe of exotic Marrakech. Experience the beauty of Berber villages and valleys of the Atlas Mountains in the Toubkal region with varied and picturesque scenery, dramatic passes, non-technical peaks and the guarantee of a cheerful welcome from the Berber people. Spend the nights in comfortable riads and 3 or 4-star hotels, some of them with pools.

Travel from Marrakech to the High Atlas mountains to Imlil via Tahannaoute and Moulay Brahim Gorges, meet your Berber team (guide, cook and muleteers). Start your hike via Tizi N’Tinzert pass into Ouirgane Valley, where you will enjoy your stay in a comfortable guesthouse. Walk in Azzaden valley through exotic Berber villages into the Village of Ait Aissa, where you will enjoy a hammam and an afternoon relaxing on the premier Kasbah du Toubkal (Azzaden Trekking Lodge) roof terrace.

Day 3 will take you to the spectacular valley of Imlil, where you will enjoy your stay at another comfortable guesthouse. Then follow a circular route in the Imnane valley via Tizi N’Tamater and Tizi N’Agersioual. Visit the spectacular Ouzoud Waterfalls and finish your holiday in Marrakech.

This is a privately guided walking holiday, you will not be part of a group, and in the mountains, your party will be accompanied by a personal certified guide, a cook and a muleteer as appropriate.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Marrakech

Arrive in Marrakech. Private transfer from airport to the hotel.

Accommodation: Riad Zanzibar or similar (optional upgrade)

Day 2: Tinzert – Marigha | 5-6 hrs

Car transfer. You will leave the vehicle at Imi Oughlad (1,450 m), where you will meet your Berber muleteer and guide. Your first day will be a more leisurely acclimatisation hike in the Ouirgane National Park. The terrain here is gentler, with copper green soil and juniper trees. Head toward Tinzert village. Tinzert has a beautiful view of the Ouirgane Valley, where you will enjoy your first lunch in the Atlas mountains. The afternoon walk will be down a small valley leading towards Marigha village through the olive groves overnight at Ouirgane Ecolodge.

Day 3: Marigha – Ait Aissa | 5-6 hrs

After breakfast, you’ll wind your way through the olive groves and make a gradual ascent up towards the Azzaden Valley. Fantastic, expansive views open up as you cross into the valley, and your guide and cook will pick a picturesque spot to prepare a welcome lunch. After lunch, you’ll follow the course of the river up the valley walking through several small traditional Berber villages before reaching Ait Aissa (1,860 m), where you can enjoy a hammam and afternoon relax on the Azzaden Trekking Lodge roof terrace.

  • Accommodation: Berber house at Ait Aissa
  • Meals: Full Board
  • Walking distance: 13 km / 5-6 hours, 760 m elevation gain

Day 4: Ait Aissa – Imlil | 6-7 hrs

Today’s walk will take you up the Azzaden valley through the village of Tizi Oussem, summer village of Tamsoult, with a side walk to the largest waterfalls in the Toubkal National Park. After visiting the falls, you will join the path that takes you to the Ait Mizan Valley via Tizi Mzzik, which is at 2,500 m and gives you the opportunity to view the villages of Imlil and the entire Atlas mountain range. The final leg of the walk will be descending to Imlil.

  • Accommodation: Drar Adrar Guesthouse
  • Meals: Full Board
  • Walking distance: 15 km / 6-7 hours, 800 m elevation gain

Day 5: Imlil – Aguerssioual – Marrakech | 7-8 hrs

Today you will take a circular route into the picturesque Imnane valley. You start by heading east out of Imlil (1,740m) and along the Tamatert Valley before taking the mountain pass of Tizi N’Tamatert (2,279m). Once you reach the top of the pass, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Imnane valley. From here, you will head down to the Berber village of Tinerhourhine and follow winding mule trails, passing through the villages of Ikkis and Amssakrou on the way. As you walk, you will pass by terraced Berber hamlets clinging to the mountainsides.

You will have lunch on a picnic spot with a superb view of the peak of Jbel Oukaimeden (3,268 m). After lunch, you set off on the last leg of the journey, hiking up the Tizi N’Aguersioual Pass (1,767 m) before descending back into the Imlil valley. Here you will meet your vehicle and will be transferred back to Marrakech.

  • Accommodation: Riad Zanzibar or similar (optional upgrade)
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Walking distance: 17 km / 7-8 hours, 800 m elevation gain

Day 6: Ouzoud Waterfalls Day Trip | 2-4 hrs

Ouzoud Waterfalls are located in the Middle Atlas 170 km from Marrakech (3 hours drive). You will be able to discover the highest waterfalls in Morocco, walk around the falls, ride a local boat to cross the river or hike for 2 hours to get to the source of Ouzoud cascades. Enjoy the tasty local food in one of the restaurants with terraces overlooking the waterfalls. Transfer back to Marrakech.

  • Accommodation: Riad Zanzibar or similar (optional upgrade)
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Walking distance: 2-4 hours

Day 7: Departure or Extra Nights in Marrakech

Departure after breakfast (airport transfer included) or extend your stay.

Vibrant Marrakech is a fascinating city, home to numerous mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewellery. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.

  • Meals: Breakfast included

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in quality hotels (riads) in Marrakech, hand-picked guesthouses and one night in a traditional Berber house. Optional upgrade of some hotels is possible (please choose when booking).

Click to view sample hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide to you exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All breakfasts are included, as well as all lunches and dinners in the mountains (picnic lunches are included when out on walks). During your mountain walks, you will be accompanied by a local guide, a cook and a muleteer.

Difficulty & terrain

This trip requires a moderate physical condition. There are some longer (strenuous) walks on some days. The terrain varies, and the trails are often exposed to the sun. In the mountains, the route follows ancient Berber tracks, which can be high, steep, narrow, uneven and rough underfoot (read more about difficulty grades).

Due to the lack of signposted trails, you will be supported by a local qualified mountain guide. This is a very remote area. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this walk.

When to go

This trip is available to start on any date between 6th of January and 20th of December. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

July is the hottest month in the Atlas Mountains with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) and the coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in July. Some walks are above the snow line year-round.

Please note that during Ramadan and Eid Al Adha’s festival times, many restaurants and shops will be closed, which may affect your trip experience. Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr (Festival of Sacrifice of Sheep) change yearly. Ramadan 2021: 13th April to 12th May. Eid al-Adha 2021: 19th July to 23rd July.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK).

  • Private transfer from the airport to your hotel on Day 1 and from the hotel to the airport on Day 7 is included. Please note that only one airport transfer is included, though we can arrange additional transfers. Therefore, it is advisable that all party members arrive on the same flight or at least at a similar time. Extra charges may be applicable on private transfers in case of late-night arrivals.

Inclusions

Included

  • 3 nights in a comfortable 3-star grade Riad
  • 1 night in a hand-picked guesthouse
  • 1 night in a Berber village house
  • 1 night in a comfortable ecolodge
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 3 dinners
  • 5 lunches (some of which are packed lunches)
  • 1 airport transfer on arrival and 1 airport transfer on departure from/to Marrakech airport
  • Bag transfers of one bag of up to 20 kg per person between accommodations
  • Services of a personal walking guide, a muleteer and a cook as appropriate in the mountains
  • Guided day tour of Ouzoud Waterfalls on Day 6
  • Detailed holiday information pack
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room. Please note that in mountain refuges single room accommodation cannot be guaranteed.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as costs are not shared.
  • Optional “In Style” hotel upgrade: if you prefer to stay on your nights in Marrakech in a luxury 4-star hotel (riad) e.g. Charme d’Orient (or similar), you can add this option when completing the online booking form
  • One or two extra nights in Marrakech before or after the holiday (standard accommodation)
  • One or two extra nights in Marrakech before or after the holiday (luxury accommodation)
  • You can also book one of our guided day tour extensions  – listed below – for these extra days in Marrakech, or just relax and stroll the streets of Marrakech.

Click here to view Ourika Valley full day guided tour

Ourika Valley, due to its many waterfalls and several attractions, is a very popular day trip from Marrakech. This valley is the sole location within the High Atlas Range where the endangered primate Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus is known to occur; this primate is found in the Middle Atlas and a few disjunctive populations in Algeria and Gibraltar. The region is inhabited by Berber people who practice a traditional way of life. You can picnic in the oasis or hike up to the famous seven waterfalls. It is an easy hike, accompanied by an official guide, and it can take between 1 and 3 hours.

Note: Overnight accommodation not included, please choose an extra night in Marrakech extension when booking.

Click here to view Fishing port of Essaouira full day guided tour

Your day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech will begin with a drive along the Haouz planes to Chichaoua village where you will stop for a cup of coffee before you continue to Sidi Mokhtar. On your way, you will cross the Argan trees forest, where you might spot some goats climbing the trees. To watch how the Argan oil (also called the liquid gold, or Moroccan oil) is extracted, you can visit a local ladies’ cooperative and learn how some fine cosmetic products are locally made out of the rich Argan oil. From here, we will carry on to Essaouira. Upon arrival, you can explore the beautiful city at leisure:

  • Visit the fishing port of Essaouira and watch the local fishermen returning inland with their catch
  •  See Skala Kasbah, which was a citadel in the times of war
  •  Visit some of the beautiful Essaouira art galleries scattered in the Medina
  •  Stroll in the Medina of Essaouira, which can be explored easily as the streets are aligned opposite to every other Medina streets in Morocco, which look like a maze.
  •  Shop at leisure for some local souvenirs
  •  Have a seafood lunch in the harbour stalls or at a local café terrace
  •  Walk down the beach and watch local boys playing football
  •  Sunbathe at the 6 km long sandy beach

Note: Overnight accommodation not included, please choose an “Extra night in Marrakech” extension when booking the guided tours (or book a hotel on your own).

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Reviews

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Rating

     

Jordan

Incredible trip. We spent 4 days in the mountains. Two days trekking and two days summiting Mt Toubkal. The trip was made by our guide Omar and his chef Muhammad. Wonderful characters who were experts but also more than willing to teach us about Berber cultures and life in the mountains. This 5 star review is for them. Muhammad thank you for following us up the mountains each day on your mule Rose. It was like having our own private chef who made amazing meals surrounded by the stunning landscape of the Atlas Mountains. I suffer from altitude sickness but thank you Omar. You kept me safe and sickness free for the whole journey. If you decide to go on this tour and your are english speaking, ask for Omar as your guide. He was by far the best guide on the mountain. Even the other guides said that to us.

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