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Experience the beauty of the High Atlas Mountains, just a three-hour flight from the UK. This incredible five-day trek takes you through a range of stunning landscapes, from vibrant green valleys to rugged rock formations. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming Berber villages and ascend gradually towards the peak of Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa at 4,167m.
To ensure a comfortable and supported journey, you’ll be accompanied by a team of Berber experts, including a mountain guide, cook, and muleteers with mules to carry your luggage. Your accommodation for the trip will be in traditional Berber homes known as “gites” and mountain huts for the final two days of the trek. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable adventure!
We’ll depart from Marrakech early in the morning and embark on a pleasant drive southward. As we wind our way up through the Moulay Brahim Gorge and upper valleys, we’ll reach the higher foothills of the western High Atlas Mountains and our starting point, Imi Oughlad (1450m). The towering Jbel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak at 4167m, along with Aglzim (3650m) and Aksoual (3884m), will loom before us.
After arriving, we’ll meet up with our Berber muleteer crew and begin a 2-hour acclimatization hike up switchback mule tracks in a northwesterly direction. Along the way, we’ll pass by cornfields, pine and juniper woods, and enjoy stunning views of the Imlil and Ait Oussaden valleys from the Tiz n’Tachete (2000m). We’ll take a break here before continuing for another half hour to Imi n’Ifri, where we’ll have our field picnic.
Then, we’ll embark on a slow hike for about 2 and a half hours in a southwestern direction, along a dirt track to the Assif n’Ait Oussaden and the red clay terraced village of Tiziane (1750m), where we’ll spend the night in our bivouac or gite.
On the second day of our trek, we’ll start after breakfast and begin our ascent up the Assif n’Ait Oussaden valley. The valley is known for its beautiful walnut groves that we’ll pass through, while admiring the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. We’ll continue hiking until we reach Tizi n’Taghrhourte (1995m), which offers a breathtaking view of the valley below.
After taking in the scenery, we’ll continue on a rare, almost flat stretch for about an hour until we reach the Assaka Spring. The spring is a tranquil oasis and a perfect spot for us to take a break and enjoy our field picnic. The silence here is awe-inspiring, making it a peaceful place to rest and recharge.
After lunch, we’ll begin our descent along the edges of the forest, which provides a pleasant contrast to the rocky terrain we encountered the previous day. We’ll hike for about three hours until we reach the Berber village of D’knt (1870m) or Agouns n’Assoul, where we’ll spend the night. The village is a traditional Berber settlement and a great opportunity to experience the local way of life. We’ll have dinner and spend the night in a bivouac or gite, which will provide us with basic but comfortable accommodation.
On the third day of our trek, we’ll begin with a three-hour hike through walnut tree groves, fields of corn and barley, and past many sheep and goatherders. We’ll make our way to the Tizi n’Tagdalte, which is a mountain pass that provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. From here, we’ll descend through juniper trees until we reach a small spring nestled amongst the trees. This is where we’ll stop for our picnic lunch and take a break.
After our break, we’ll continue on winding tracks along upper slopes for about three hours until we come to a small river at the beginning of the valley of Assif n’Ait Oussaden. From here, we’ll enter the village of Tizi Oussem (1850m) and continue up to the summer village of Tamsoult, where we’ll spend the night in a camp or hut.
The hike on this day is relatively easy, and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to admire the beautiful scenery. We’ll pass through small villages and fields, giving us a glimpse of the local way of life in the High Atlas Mountains. The day will end with a cozy campsite or hut, where we’ll have dinner and spend a peaceful night.
On the fourth day of our trek, we’ll start with breakfast and then set out on a moderately difficult hike eastwards. We’ll follow winding mule tracks that will take us up to the Tizi Aguelzim, which is at an altitude of 3550m. This part of the hike can be quite challenging, but the stunning views of the surrounding mountains make it all worthwhile.
From the Tizi Aguelzim, we’ll continue for another three hours towards the south-east until we reach the Toubkal Refuge. This marks the spring snowline at an altitude of 3207m. Here, we’ll have our dinner and spend the night in a bivouac around the Refuge.
This part of the trek is one of the most scenic, and we’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the High Atlas Mountains. The hike up to the Tizi Aguelzim can be a bit steep and rocky, so it’s important to wear appropriate footwear and take plenty of breaks to rest and take in the scenery. The Toubkal Refuge is a cozy spot to spend the night, and we’ll be able to enjoy a warm meal and some rest before our final ascent to the summit of Mount Toubkal.
On the fifth day, we start very early with breakfast around 6am and set out for a steep climb for about 3 hours to reach the summit of Jbel Toubkal (4167m), which is the highest peak in North Africa. The view from the summit is breathtakingly beautiful. Once we are ready, we will take the Ikkhibi Sud or South Cirque for a relatively easy 2 to 3 hour descent back to the Toubkal Refuge where we will have a picnic lunch.
After lunch, we will head northward, descending along steep zigzagging trails of the higher slopes of the Valley of the Assif n’Isouhouanem n’Ouagounss towards the Shrine of Sidi Chamharouch. The shrine is located next to a waterfall and is a pilgrimage site with a ‘marabout’ shrine, which is likely a remnant of pre-Islamic culture but is not accessible to non-Muslims. After another 2 hours of downhill hiking, we will reach the village of Imlil, which is where most treks begin, and from there, we will take a taxi back to Marrakech.
That’s a good note to add. It’s important to keep in mind that outdoor activities like hiking are subject to changes due to weather conditions, trail closures, and other unforeseen circumstances. It’s always best to have some flexibility and openness to adapt to the local conditions and make the most out of the experience.
The best time to hike in Morocco is during the spring (March to May) and the fall (September to November). During these months, the weather is typically mild, with comfortable temperatures during the day and cool nights. The landscapes are also more colorful during these seasons, as wildflowers bloom in the spring and the foliage changes color in the fall.
However, it’s still possible to hike in Morocco during the summer and winter months. Summer can be hot, but the higher elevations in the Atlas Mountains offer cooler temperatures. Winter can be cold, especially at higher altitudes, but there are still opportunities for winter hiking and skiing. It’s important to note that some trails and passes may be inaccessible during the winter months due to snow and ice.
It is technically possible to climb Toubkal without a guide, but it’s not recommended. The terrain can be challenging, especially for inexperienced hikers, and having a guide can provide added safety and support. A guide can also help with navigation, especially in areas where the trail may not be clearly marked.
In addition to safety concerns, climbing Toubkal without a guide may not be permitted. The Moroccan authorities require hikers to obtain a permit before climbing Toubkal, and our tour companie and guides are licensed to issue these permits. If you don’t have a permit or are caught climbing without one, you may be fined or even deported.
It’s also worth noting that climbing with us can enhance your overall experience. Our guide can provide insights into the local culture and history, and can help you appreciate the natural beauty of the area. We will also take care of logistics, such as arranging transport and accommodations, leaving you free to focus on enjoying your hike.
Climbing Mount Toubkal can be a challenging hike, but it’s generally considered a moderate to strenuous climb. The difficulty of the climb will depend on several factors, including your level of fitness, previous hiking experience, and the route you choose to take.
The standard route to the summit starts in the village of Imlil and involves hiking to the Toubkal Refuge, where climbers can rest for the night before making the final ascent to the summit the following day. The hike to the refuge is approximately 5-6 hours and involves a steady uphill climb.
The final ascent to the summit involves some steep and rocky terrain and can take 3-4 hours, depending on your pace. Altitude can also be a factor, as the summit of Toubkal is 4,167 meters (13,671 feet) above sea level. It’s important to acclimate properly to the altitude and take necessary precautions to prevent altitude sickness.
That being said, the climb to Mount Toubkal is accessible to most hikers with a moderate level of fitness and previous hiking experience. It’s recommended to train and prepare for the climb in advance, with a focus on building endurance and stamina.
Overall, while climbing Mount Toubkal can be a challenging hike, the stunning views from the summit and the sense of accomplishment make it a rewarding experience.
The temperature in the High Atlas Mountains can vary greatly depending on the season and altitude. In general, the higher you go, the colder it gets.
During the winter months (December to February), temperatures in the High Atlas Mountains can drop below freezing, especially at higher altitudes. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach -10°C (14°F) or colder at the summit of Mount Toubkal. It’s important to come prepared with warm clothing and gear if you plan to visit during the winter.
In the summer months (June to August), temperatures in the High Atlas Mountains can be quite hot during the day, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F). However, temperatures can drop significantly at night, especially at higher altitudes, so it’s important to pack warm layers for evenings and early mornings.
Overall, it’s best to come prepared for a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions when visiting the High Atlas Mountains, as the weather can be unpredictable and can change quickly.
Hiking Toubkal Mount in the winter can be challenging and requires proper equipment to ensure your safety and comfort. Here are some essential items you should bring with you:
Insulated and waterproof boots: Your boots should be sturdy, waterproof, and insulated to keep your feet warm and dry in snowy conditions.
Warm clothing layers: You’ll need to dress in layers, including a base layer, mid-layer, and outer shell, to stay warm and regulate your body temperature. Insulated jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves are also necessary.
Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants: You’ll need a waterproof and windproof jacket and pants to protect you from the snow, wind, and rain.
Crampons and ice axe: In snowy conditions, you may need crampons and an ice axe to help you navigate the mountain safely.
Backpack: A sturdy backpack with a waterproof cover is essential for carrying your gear, snacks, and water.
Sleeping bag: If you plan to spend the night in a mountain refuge, you’ll need a warm and insulated sleeping bag.
Sunglasses and sunscreen: The sun’s reflection on the snow can be intense, so bring sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your eyes and skin.
Morocco is generally considered a safe country for trekking, but like any travel destination, it’s important to take appropriate safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trekking experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Stay on designated trails: Stick to designated trails and avoid venturing off into unknown areas.
Dress appropriately: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions and bring the necessary equipment, such as proper footwear, warm clothing, and rain gear.
Stay hydrated: Bring enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your trek.
Avoid hiking alone: It’s always safer to hike with a group or a guide, especially if you’re not familiar with the area.
By taking these precautions, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding trekking experience in Morocco.