Experience Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains on this Mt Toubkal trek

From the heart of Marrakech’s Medina to the top of Mt Toubkal, this Moroccan adventure offers you a sublime combination of city sights and mountain trekking. Learn some basic Arabic or Berber from the local villagers in the Atlas Mountains, while experiencing the friendly hospitality of the Berber people, and ascend to the summit of North Africa’s highest peak. Prepare for a sensory overload as you encounter the Djemaa el-Fna for the first time, get lost in Marrakech’s maze of covered market streets and feel those tastebuds tingle over a traditional Moroccan tajine.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1st of January 2017 this trip will run on improved itinerary. The day order will change to allow a shorter drive and more free time to celebrate after successful summit day. New itinerary (with all inclusions as per 2016) will look as follows:
Day 1 Marrakech
Day 2 Aremd
Day 3 Nelter
Day 4 Nelter (Summit day)
Day 5 Aremd
Day 6 Marrakech
Day 7 Marrakech

Start
Marrakech, Morocco
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Countries
Morocco
Themes
Walking & Trekking
Code
XMXO
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
129kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Ascend the dizzying heights of mighty Mount Toubkal, climbing to the highest peak in North Africa. With unequalled views of the Moroccan landscape, this is one thing you can tick off your bucket list
  • Wander along forest paths and experience a traditional homestay in the Atlas Mountains. This is a great way to better understand Morocco’s traditional Berber people and their customs
  • Embrace the vibrant souqs, sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech on a guided walking tour. Dine on tagine and couscous in Marrakesh’s biggest outdoor food market and watch from a rooftop cafe as the Djemaa el-Fna comes alive at dusk
  • Plenty of free time in Marrakech allows you to really get under the skin of this vibrant city. This means you'll get to see everything you want, as well as having time to relax

Itinerary

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6pm, where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader – check with reception to confirm the time. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. After the meeting you have the option to join your leader on a jaunt to Djemaa el Fna, the square in the centre of the Medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists come together in what has been called the 'greatest spectacle on earth'. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real experience.

Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this. For those who are travelling on the group flights from the UK, a welcome meeting will also be held on the morning of Day 2 over breakfast. Please check the notice board for timings.
This morning will start with breakfast and a group meeting at 8am. Your leader will go through everything you need to know about the trek before you set off into the mountains. Leave Marrakech behind and drive across the plains towards the ancient marketplace of Tahanaoute, photographing valleys in full flower and the High Atlas Mountains looming ahead along the way. Arrive into Imlil village, which is 1,740 metres above sea level (approximately 1.5 hours). Walk into traditional mountain village life with a 50-minute walk to your mountain base in the village of Aroumd (2,000 metres above sea level) with views towards Toubkal. In the afternoon stretch your legs with a gentle orientation walk around Aroumd, far from the reach of the modern world and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. The next two nights are spent in a 'gite', a traditional village house with dormitory rooms sleeping around eight people. Rooms are furnished in traditional Berber style with low couches (which can be used as beds), tables, carpets and cushions. On warm nights it’s often possible to sleep out on the terrace under the stars. Showers and toilets are usually shared.

On Day 3, explore your surroundings with morning and afternoon walks in the stunning mountains. The High Atlas region is a mix of fertile valleys, snowy peaks almost touching the sky and Berber villages constructed using local materials. Total walking time is approximately 6.5 hours, with the option to do more if you’re feeling energetic. End your day surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, meet the host family and enjoy Berber hospitality and food.
Today embark on the first day of your ascent of Mt Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. From Armoud the trail crosses the floodplain of the Ait Mizane Valley, before climbing steeply in a zigzag up the mountainside. All baggage and provisions are carried by mule. Used to plough fields, carry loads, turn threshing machines and ferry people between villages, mules are an indispensable part of Berber life. Along the way, pass the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch, home to the tomb of the local marabout (Muslim holy man). See the shrine from across the gorge, as it’s forbidden for non-Muslims to cross the bridge to the other side. From here climb steeply through a series of switchbacks and traverse the flank of the valley above the river. Arrive into Toubkal Base Camp at Neltner (3,207 metres above sea level), where you'll spend the next two nights.

Early on in the morning of Day 5, set off for Jebel Toubkal along rocky terrain, and appreciate the rugged beauty of the surroundings. At 4,167 metres above sea level, this is the roof of North Africa. Take in the beautiful silence of the morning, and make the final steep climb, which can involve some scrambling. The effort is however rewarded by superb views from the summit of the entire Atlas range. On a clear day it’s even possible to make out the Atlantic coast to the west and the Sahara Desert to the east. After a rest at the summit and time spent marvelling at the view, make your way back to Neltner. In total there should be approximately 8 hours of walking.

Notes: The ascent is usually only possible during the summer (June to September) as there is too much snow on the high slopes at other times of year. This demanding two-day walk should only be considered by those who are fit and have plenty of mountain-walking experience.
Pack up camp and head back down to Imlil (approximately 3 hours). From here it's a one-and-a-half hour drive back across the plains to Marrakech. The vibrant city of Marrakech is a feast for the senses. You'll have plenty of time over the next few days to explore. Take a guided walking tour through the souqs of the Medina, each devoted to a different trade such as pottery, woodwork, carpets or spices. For the rest of your time in the city you'll be free to make your own discoveries. Visit the Palais de la Bahia, built in the 19th century for the Grand Vizier of Soultan Moulay al Hassan. Only part of the palace is open, as the royal family still uses the building. Another possibility is the former royal townhouse of Dar Si Said, which now houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts. Perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. Take a wander through the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). If you’d like to experience the relaxation of a traditional Moroccan bath, your leader can advise where to find the nearest hammam. Perhaps indulge your inner foodie with a 'Taste of Marrakech' Urban Adventure day tour, or take part in a cooking class to create the perfect tajine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco. The media is always fascinating, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea. On your final night, perhaps be drawn back to maybe head to the action-packed Djemma el-Fna – dinner here is a great way to finish your adventure.

Your Mount Toubkal Trek adventure ends on the morning of Day 8. There are no activities planned for your final day and you are free to leave at any time. If you decide to stay on longer, perhaps tour the impressive Saadian Tombs or relax in a hammam (Moroccan bath).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Transport
Private minibus
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Hotel (3 nights), Mountain hut (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Guided walking tour around Marrakech
  • Palais Bahia

Dates

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Important notes

1) A Single supplement is available on this trip. please see trip notes for details.
2) A 'Passenger Self Assessment Form' is required to be completed for this trip. Please ask your Travel Consultant for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Mount Toubkal Trek trips score an average of 4.87 out of 5 based on 15 reviews in the last year.

Mount Toubkal Trek , July 2016

Mount Toubkal Trek , May 2016