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High Atlas and Mount Toubkal

High Atlas and Mount Toubkal

Overview

Our High Atlas and Mount Toubkal walking holiday in Morocco combines the challenge of summitting Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak (4,167 m), with some moderate walking in the High Atlas Mountains and the vibes of exotic Marrakech. You will reach Mt Toubkal using a route starting from Oukaimeden through the high passes of the Atlas Mountains which will allow you to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, the Marrakech plain and the Berber villages scattered below.

Experience the beauty of Berber villages and the 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, guesthouses and mountain refuges.

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.

Day 2: Oukaimeden (2,600m) – Tizi Nadi (2,900m) – Tacheddirt Village (2,300m) | 5-6 hrs

Car transfer to Oukaimeden which is the trek’s starting point, and where you’ll meet your mule team. You will visit some ancient relics, then walk towards Tacheddirt passing by Tizi Nadi to arrive at the valley. Overnight in a lodge or tents. Have a tea inside a Berber house in the late afternoon.

  • Accommodation: Dar Techdirt Lodge, Gite Ougoug Chez Brahim or tent camp
  • Meals: Full board
  • Walking distance: 5-6 hours

Day 3: Tacheddirt (2,300m) – Tamatert Pass (2,280m) – Imlil (1,740m) – Armed (1,800m) | 5-6 hrs

After breakfast, you start your trek from Tacheddirt and head towards Tizi n’Tamatert pass. You will descend to Imlil valley, then to Targa Imoula. Today you will have the chance to spot Toubkal peak in the background of Ait Mizane Valley, where you will spend the night in a riad.

  • Accommodation: Traditional riad (Dar Amadine or similar)
  • Meals: Full board
  • Walking distance: 5-6 hours

Day 4: Tizi Mzik Circular (1,740m – 2,664m – 1,740m) | 8-9 hrs

This is an 8-hour trek west of Imlil past Berber hamlets with a stunning mountain panorama including the Oukaïmeden, Tasskssout, Imsserdan, Azzaden valley. The walk features a waterfall where a swim may be possible, juniper and pine forests. The trail then heads west from Imlil (1,740m) up through almond, walnut and apple groves offering a panoramic vista of the beautiful valley and Berber hamlets of Tanghourt, Fimlil and M’Zik. There is a strenuous ascent through the Tizi M’Zik pass (2,664m) from where there is a splendid view of the Jbel Oukaïmeden range, the plateau of Tazaghârt and the pretty Assif Aït n’Ouissedene lined with palm trees. Next, the path descends through juniper and pine woods between Jbel Tasghimout (2,664m) and Adrar Adj (3,729m) to the Tamsoult Cascade (2,204m), a lovely spot for a picnic lunch and a nice place to bathe. The return leg is via the same general route but via different paths via the Tizi M’Zik pass back to Imlil.

  • Accommodation: Traditional riad (Dar Amadine or similar)
  • Meals: Full board
  • Walking distance: 8-9 hours

Day 5: Imlil (1,740m) to Mt Toubkal Base Camp (3,207m) | 6-7 hrs

At the village of Imlil, you will leave the vehicle and, in the company of your mountain guide, begin your trek, heading along the Mizane Valley, first towards the village of Aremd and then onto the shrine of Sidi Chamarouch. Built on a moraine spur overlooking the valley floor, Aremd is the largest village in the valley and provides an exciting mix of traditional terraced farming and streets that seem to be permanently gridlocked by goats and cattle. Continuing east and crossing the floodplain your route takes you along mule tracks and up into the high rocky cliffs above the valley. Crossing the river you eventually come to the pastoral shrine of Sidi Chamarouch, which attracts tourists and pilgrims alike (although only Muslims are allowed to cross the stone bridge to visit the shrine itself). From here the trail continues to ascend steadily, snaking and zigzagging its way up to the snowline and the Mouflons Toubkal Refuge (3,207m), your stop for the night.

  • Accommodation: Refuge LeMouflons (dormitory; optional upgrade to private room depending on availability)
  • Meals: Full board
  • Walking distance: 6-7 hours

Day 6: Base Camp (3,207m) to Mount Toubkal (4,167m) | 9-11 hrs

Early in the morning, you will make your attempt on the summit of Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in Northern Africa. The route takes you up the south cirque, crossing the stream above the refuge and then heading across one of the numerous scree fields, where you will have to negotiate a seemingly endless carpet of boulders and rocks. The walking is relatively straightforward, but the scree and the altitude will make it difficult, however, the views along the way make the walk more than worthwhile.

Cresting the ridgeline, you will reach the plateau, from where it is a short walk to the summit and the vistas are quite breathtaking. From the peak there are unrestricted views in every direction, from the Marrakesh Plain to the High Atlas in the north and as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara.

Retracing your steps you then return down the mountain and head back towards Imlil, before your transfer back to Marrakech.

  • Accommodation: Riad Hel’lo in Marrakech or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Walking distance: 9-11 hours

Day 7: Departure or Extra Nights in Marrakech

Departure after breakfast or extend your stay. Airport transfer included.

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 riads or guesthouses, and mountain refuges on Day 2 and on Day 5 at Mt Toubkal base camp. The Toubkal refuge Les Mouflons is located at 3,207 meters height. Its 600 m² area allows it to offer single and family rooms with separate showers, as well as seven dormitories. By default you will be accommodated in a dormitory there; we can optionally try to accommodate you in a private room with en-suite facilities, but this depends on the availability and cannot be guaranteed. Optional upgrade of the Marrakech hotels is also possible.

Click to view sample accommodations

*Accommodations 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 an excellent physical condition and some trekking experience. No mountaineering or climbing experience required. There are some longer (strenuous) walks on Days 4 and 6, especially the climb to Mt Toubkal, which is non-technical but demanding. 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). Part of the walks are above the snow line. We will provide crampons if needed, which might be the case if doing the trip in winter months.

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

Click to view travel options

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

  • 2 nights in a comfortable 3-star grade riad in Marrakech
  • 2 nights in basic riads in the mountains
  • 2 nights in dormitories in mountain refuges (cabins)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 4 dinners
  • 5 lunches (some of which are packed lunches)
  • 1 airport transfer on arrival and 1 airport transfer on departure
  • Bag transfers of one bag of up to 20 kg per person between accommodations
  • Services of a qualified mountain guide, a muleteer and a cook as appropriate in the mountains
  • 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 Days 1 and 6 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
  • Recommended: Extra night in Imlil before the Mt Toubkal climb (with or without a guided acclimatisation walk)
  • 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

     

Urska

We updated the program and managed to do the hike in 4 days. First 3 days were a nice and easy walks. The 4th day, going on top of the Mt Toubkal was amazing experience but very difficult as well, especially because you have to return all the way to the valley. We had a private guide Hamid and cook Hamid, both were excellent and really made our trip exceptional. We would definitely recommend this trip with this agency and ask for Hamid 1 and 2😉

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