Experience Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains

From the bustling markets to the Atlas Mountains, this seven-day Lonely Planet Experience combines city sights and mountain trekking. This action-packed trip will immerse you in mazelike Marrakech, introduce you to Amazigh (Berber) culture and see you summiting Mt Toubkal. Stay in mountain gites and hiking huts, trek through spectacular mountain scenery and reach the ‘roof of North Africa’ with an expert crew and trusty pack mules. See two very different sides of Morocco in just one week.


Start
Marrakech, Morocco
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination
Morocco
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Walking & Trekking
Code
XMXO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Summit the highest peak in North Africa, Mt Toubkal, and enjoy morning views over the Atlas Mountains and rural Morocco.

  • Hike through the rugged mountains with spectacular scenery at every turn and a trusty pack of mules heading up your crew.

  • Experience life in an Amazigh (Berber) village during a stay in an Atlas Mountains village, complete with accommodation in a gite.

  • Embrace the vibrant souqs, sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech on a guided walking tour of the Medina and visit to Bahia Palace.

  • Plenty of free time and optional extras in Marrakech mean you can explore this vibrant city at your own pace.

Is this trip right for you?

  • In 2020, Ramadan will take place from 23 April until 22 May. Travelling in Morocco during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience. However, some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your local leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider your travel arrangements carefully before booking travel for this period.

  • This is a trekking trip. In order to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal, you need to be reasonably fit and healthy. Previous mountain climbing or hiking experience is recommended.

  • The summit of Mt Toubkal is 4167 metres (13,671 feet) above sea level. At this height you may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Please see the ‘Medical and health information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more.

  • On Days 2–4 of the trip you'll be staying in typical Moroccan mountain accommodation, which may include sharing rooms and basic facilities. This is a great way to experience the Amazigh (Berber) culture of the High Atlas Mountains.

Itinerary

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader. 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, fortune tellers and dancers while snacking on street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

You will likely encounter ‘snake charmers’ at Djemaa el-Fna. We do not support this practise and encourage you to avoid supporting the industry. Please see more on our stand on animal welfare here www.intrepidtravel.com/animal-welfare.
Rise and shine for breakfast and a group meeting at 8 am. 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, with awesome views of valleys and the Atlas Mountains along the way. Arrive at Imlil village, which is 1740 metres above sea level (approximately 1.5 hours). Take a 50-minute hike to your mountain base in the village of Aroumd (2000 metres above sea level). In the afternoon, stretch your legs with a gentle orientation walk around Aroumd. Your accommodation tonight is a gite, a traditional village house with dormitory-style rooms that seep around eight people. Rooms are furnished in traditional Amazigh (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.
Accommodation
  • Mountain Gite (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
At our accommodation this evening, bathroom facilities are usually shared.
This morning you begin 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. Along the way, pass the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch, home to the tomb of the local marabout (Muslim holy man). Only Muslims are permitted to cross the bridge and approach the large white stone that serves as a shrine. 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 (3207 metres above sea level). Enjoy a hearty dinner and make sure you get plenty of sleep before the big ascent day tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Mountain Refuge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Total hiking time today is approximately 4 hours.

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 Amazigh (Berber) life.

Accommodation tonight is simple, but clean and atmospheric. You will be sharing a room with other trekkers and bedding is similar to a large bunk-bed platforms. Dining rooms and other facilities are also shared with other climbers.
Embrace an early start this morning and tackle the rocky terrain that leads to the summit of Mt Toubkal. At 4167 metres above sea level, this is truly the roof of North Africa. Take in the beautiful silence of the morning while you make the final climb, which can involve some scrambling. Your effort is rewarded by superb views from the summit, which on a clear day can include the entire Atlas Mountain range, 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.
Accommodation
  • Mountain Refuge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
A full 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. 

Total hiking time today is about 8 hours.
After breakfast, pack up and head back down to Imlil via Aroumd (approximately 4 hours). From here it's a 1.5-hour drive back back to Marrakech. You'll have free time to explore after checking in to the hotel. Perhaps head to the Photography Museum to see the history of Morocco captured in amazing pictures or grab a bite at one of the many rooftop restaurants surrounding Djemaa el-Fna.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Totally hiking time today is approximately 4 hours.
After breakfast, embark on a guided walking tour of the Medina, including souqs devoted to a different trades such as pottery, woodwork, carpets or spices. Then, continue to the 19th-century Bahia Palace and spend some time admiring the architecture. The rest of your time in the city is free for you to make your own discoveries. If you're keen to experience a traditional Moroccan bath, your leader can advise you where to find the nearest hammam. If you’ve enjoyed your taste of Moroccan cuisine so far, maybe indulge your inner foodie with a Taste of Marrakesh Urban Adventure tour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Marrakech - Guided Walking Tour
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia
Optional Activities
  • Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage - MAD750
  • Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure - MAD605
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your adventure ends after breakfast this morning. If you wish to spend more time in Marrakech, an Intrepid booking agent be happy to secure additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Marrakech - Hot Air Ballooning - MAD2050
  • Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains Cycling Day Tour - MAD2000
  • Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure - MAD640
  • Marrakech - Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD715
  • Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Quad Biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
  • Essaouira - Food & Culture Urban Adventure - MAD1554
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private minibus, walking

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nights), mountain gite (1 night), Mountain Refuge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Marrakech - Guided Walking Tour
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability. The price of the single supplement does not include nights where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Day 2 Aroumd
- Days 3–4 Neltner
Please also note that there are a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please contact an Intrepid booking agent.

1) A 'Passenger Self Assessment Form' is required to be completed for this trip. Please ask an Intrepid booking agent for details.
2) Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres (9200 feet) where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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 Essential Trip Information

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