Trekking in Atlas Mountains
Leaving colourful Marrakech you drive to the mountains and, where the road ends, continue on foot. You'll feel like you have entered another world - from the small foothill village of Aremd you'll adjust to your new surroundings and enjoy some shorter warm up walks. The anticipation builds and the adventure really begins as you trek through the High Atlas, travelling from one small Berber village to another.
Mount Toubkal Summit
Skirting the east side of Toubkal you enter the southern Atlas and traverse a desolate wilderness of huge boulders to reach the once glacial Lac D'Ifni. Then you'll make a base at Neltner before tackling the final steep walk to the summit of Jebel Toubkal (4,167 m). You will be exhilarated by your sense of achievement as you stand on top of the highest peak in North Africa!
Hiking in Imlil
Imlil is the ideal base for hiking or camping in the Atlas Mountains. If you are coming from Marrakech your first stop will be Asni. Asni is the end of the line for bus and taxis coming from Marrakesh. From here, you can take a pick-up or taxi. The 17 km trip from Asni to Imlil is startling in its natural beauty. As the road begins to climb, the beauty of the valley, river and small villages look more like paintings than reality. The air in Imlil is crisp and clear as the town stands at an altitude of 1740 meters. Although the town has no particular sights it has a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere. Paths and streams are plentiful in the area, if you need to stretch your legs after the trip.
Excursions in South Marrakech
The Imlil about the same height as the Alps and Rockies, are excellent for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Just south of Marrakech, the foothills of the Atlas are a patchwork of emerald green terraced fields, rising to rugged barren peaks sliced through by dramatic valleys and escarpments, and eventually opening out onto the awesome landscapes of the pre-Sahara.
In the High Atlas less than ninety minutes away from Marrakech, there are lush garden terraces and little rivers contrasting with the harsh rocky wilderness, and it is here that one finds the Toubkal National Park with the highest mountain in North Africa, Jebel Toubkal (4167 m). The local Berbers are reserved but friendly, and hiking from Imlil will reveal a variety of wildlife including several species of butterfly, squirrels, vultures, larks, and golden eagles as well as large herds of Barbary sheep and goats.
The High Atlas Mountains run SW through Morocco. They are remote, barren and absolutely stunning. Our challenge is to climb Mt Toubkal (4167 m), the highest mountain in North Africa. The route is tough in places with steep rocky climbs and our challenge is made tougher due to the effects of being at altitude; however the reward of magnificent views from the summit and our sense of achievement more than compensates!
The route also takes us through colourful Berber villages. The villagers farm in the river valleys and herd their goats and sheep in the mountains. We also have time to explore the ancient and bustling city of Marrakech, with its labyrinthine streets boasting some of the most intriguing souks in Morocco.
Climb Mt Toubkal
Although it is possible to contact Mountain Guides once you get to Marrakech, all the best ones are booked up well in advance, especially during the spring high season. English-speaking guides are rare. Mount Toubkal (4100 m) is best climbed during a week's trekking trip to adjust to the height and to get the best out of the environment. However, a straight "up and down" trip from Imlil can be achieved in two or three days. The guide will arrange all food and accommodation, as well as porter age of your baggage by mule. There are many gires available to sample the local dwellings, but they are all of a very basic standard.
For an early May trip, crampons may be required, but not by the end of May. One extra point: in Morocco there is a standard handling charge of 70p for each travellers cheque exchanged, regardless of denomination. It is best to use either high denomination travellers cheques or to use cash (the Euro is recommended). The exchange rate is controlled, so you will find the rate is the same in hotels or banks.