Overview

Two week trek through remote gorges, passes and valleys of the High Atlas mountains

During this varied and challenging trek we aim to summit Jebel Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak (4167m), Jebel Ouanakrim (4088m) and Jebel Adrar n'Dern (4001m). We also discover seldom-visited gorges, passes and valleys and are rewarded with spectacular views as far as the Sahara. Campsites are mostly in high valleys and one night we camp near Lake Ifni with the chance of an afternoon swim. When our trek is over we return to the fabulous city of Marrakech to cool off in its pleasant gardens or visit the vibrant souks.

Key information

  • 7 nights full service camping, 4 nights gite with shared facilities & 3 nights hotel in en suite rooms
  • 12 days point-to-point walking
  • Free transfers for any flight
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leaders. Min age 18 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4167m, average 2400m
  • Travel by private minibus
14 Nights 15 Days 25 Aug and 15 Sep
Inclusions/Exclusions

What is included in the tour

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Free transfers
  • Crampons if required
  • Return flight to London

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa's and Vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Conquer three peaks over 4000m
  • Explore varied scenery from every peak and valley of the High Atlas Mountains
  • Trek through remote villages and discover the traditional Berber way of life
  • Soak up the vibrancy and culture of Marrakech

Essential Info

Morocco Visa

No visa required by British passport holders.


Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners included.

Breakfasts usually consist of porridge, bread and jam with coffee or tea. When eating out, meals are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost only about £4 (approx. US$6.50). In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal with wine will cost anything from £20 (approx. US$30) upwards. Generally dinner is likely to cost between £5-10 (approx. US$8-15) depending on what you drink. £15 (approx. US$25) a day for food should be sufficient. Local beers, wines and soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices but you can pay UK prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening.

Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of cous cous and tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural or trekking sections of the trip. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Leisure hoppers Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home. 

If you are travelling from UK we advise you buy your own water purification tablets in the UK and take them with you. Bottled water can be purchased throughout the trip. Please note recycling is not fully established in Morocco so plastic bottles are an increasing waste problem.

We encourage you to bring water bottles and a means of purifying, filtering or sterilising water (see packing section) in order to be able to drink cool water from mountain streams. Bottles of water are available but we strongly discourage buying these as it contributes to plastic waste.


Weather

In the summer months, temperatures in Marrakech often exceed 35ºC and the nights are hot. In the mountains, the midday temperatures can be in the high 30's and we often have early starts and take long lunch breaks, walking in the cooler parts of the morning and afternoon. Even nights are warm to hot and it is only chilly at a couple of the higher camps. If you do not cope well with high temperatures, you should not travel to Morocco in July and August. June and September are cooler but with a slightly increased chance of rain in September. However the Atlas, like many mountain ranges can experience short sharp storms at any time, and this is not unusual. May and October can get cold at night and there is a slight chance of snow and ice at high altitude. It is not unknown for squally storms to blow through at this time of year and warmer clothes should be brought. The itinerary may be amended to take this into account. Please note this chart denotes the average temperatures in Marrakech and mountain regions will be cooler than this.


Is this trip for you?

Point-to-point walking and camping are the best options to help us cover more remote regions of the High Atlas as well as the frequently-visited sections. Please note all nights camping are in wild camps as no official campsites exist in the areas we visit. On the treks we use mules to carry personal gear so only a light daypack is required, occasionally with a share of the picnic lunch.

Out of eleven days walking (with full porterage), four are considered less demanding due to the duration and terrain. The three ascent days are considered tougher. Although this trip is not technically difficult, you should be an experienced walker as trails can be very rough and stony. A lot of the walking is at some altitude on mule trails or piste and the sun can be very fierce in the summer. The temperature at a particular time of year can make a difference to how tough this trek feels. Please note that Morocco can get very hot during the summer months of July and August and departures during this time may not be suitable if you struggle with the heat. Be prepared as well for some stormy weather during the summer.

The ascents of Mt Toubkal and Mt Adrar n'Dern are non-technical and no special equipment is required during the summer months. Jebel Ouanakrim requires a small amount of scrambling near the summit and is optional. If any of the high peaks are covered in snow and ice later in the season (which is rare, but can happen) an ascent will not be attempted. Although unlikely, it may be necessary for trips at the beginning and end of the season to be modified if snow blocks some of the higher passes. If this happens we will ensure that the trip remains as close to the original itinerary as possible in both content and grade. We always strive to make a summit attempt of Mt Toubkal regardless of alterations to the itinerary. We also advise before departure if extra equipment and clothing is necessary.

Altitude Warning - This trip goes to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Please refer to the Altitude Warning below for further information. One night is spent over 3000m in the most basic mountain refuge throughout the trip, which is understandable given its remote location.

Please note Ramadan runs from 5th May - 4th June 2019 and 23rd April to 23rd May 2020 - During Ramadan, our local guides and drivers choose to work and so we continue to run trips in this period. However, the energy levels of our staff and some local guides may be a bit lower and some restaurants may be closed during the day. Ramadan is a special time to visit a Muslim country - each evening the streets empty for an hour while everyone breaks their fast, and there's a feeling of festivity in the air at sundown.

Itinerary

DAY 1

Fly to Marrakech

Depending on your arrival time, there may be some time to explore this wonderfully colourful city.

Hotel Gomassine or similar


DAY 2

Morning transfer and trek towards Tizi N Tkhfiste

After breakfast we head out of Marrakech by private mini bus to Imi Noughlad, where we meet our muleteers. We start our trek up to Tizi n'Msker (1500m), taking in the beautiful view through the Imnan Valley. From here we hike down to Imsker, where we stop by the river for a picnic lunch. Then continue on to Tizi n'Tkhfiste, where we set up camp for the night.

Full-service camping

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 3

Trek through Berber villages to Oukaimden

Today we start our walk in the village of Arg, before continuing uphill through more Berber villages, learning about the local way of life. Stopping for our picnic lunch under the shade of walnut trees. Our route then leads us up to Oukaimden, a Moroccan ski resort in winter, here we stay in a simply but comfortable refuge operated by Club Alpin Français.

Chalet de L'Oukaimeden or similar

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 4

Descent to Iaabbasen

Leaving the summer pastures of Oukaimden, we contiune, zigzagging up hill to Tizi n Ouatar (3100m). From here we will enjoy beautiful views of the lush Ourikai Valley below. Then we decend down to Agouns for our picnic lunch, before taking a small pass through the valley to Iaabbasen where we set up camp for the night.

Full-service camping

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 5

Cross the Tachdirt Pass to Tachdirt (3200m)

Today we take the Tachdirt Pass (3200m) through the wide open valley in the mountains to the village of Tachdirt. Our accommodation for the night is a simple mountainside gite with wonderful views of this small valley. Tea will be served on the large terrace, giving you time to relax and take in the beautiful panoramic view. 

Gite Ogog Tachedirt or similar

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 6

Trek to pass Tizi N’Likemt and on to Likempt

A quite demanding walk today as we start our ascent to the Tizi n'Likemt pass (3615m). On the pass, we continue for another 2hrs, descending to the pastures of Likemt (2600m). Our camp for the night is close to the river where we can enjoy some al-fresco dinner whilst taking in the peace of the surrounding mountains. 

Full-service camping

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 7

Ascent of Jebel Adrar n'Dern (4001m)

We have an early start today in order to summit the first of our 4000m peaks, Jebel Adrar n'Dern (4001m). We walk to the summer pastureland of Adouz Azibs through magnificent wild mountain landscapes rarely frequented by tourists. On the summit we are rewarded with splendid views over Toubkal and the Siroua Massifs before finally descending to Aourai Camp (300m). When there are strong winds, this can be considered the most difficult peak to summit due to the exposure of the route. Those who choose not to do this peak can enjoy a gentle 3-hour walk with the muleteers to the next camp. 

Full-service camping

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 8

Aourai Pass and Tizgui Valley

Today we walk up to the Aourai Pass, through a wild volcanic landscape, with views as far as the Sahro range in southern Morocco and Toubkal.  From here we descend towards the verdant valley of Tizgui and continue to our destination, the village of Amsouzart at 1700m. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to walk to the neighbouring village and water mill. Tonight we stay in a simple mountain gite with a shop selling all sorts of treats such as chocolate and fresh orange juice. (Note: the gite does have solar power for lighting but no power points for recharging batteries). There may also be the opportunity to try out a hammam (Moroccan steam bath). 

Gite Amsouzert or similar

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 9

Trek though volcanic landscape of Aourai Pass; to the idyllic Lac d'Ifni

After crossing the beautiful valley of Ait Ighrane and ascending alongside the river, we arrive at Lac d'Ifni (2300m). This is an idyllic spot is encircled by towering mountains and we camp close to the shores of the lake. There may be the opportunity to take a swim (weather permitting) although this must be reserved for the very brave as at this height, the water is very cold. 

Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 10

Walk up to Ouanoums Gorge and Tizi n'Ouanoums Pass; to Toubkal Base Camp

We make our way up the Ouanoums Gorge today on steep hairpin paths to the 3680m pass of Tizi n'Ouanoums. From here there is a superb views back over Lac d'Ifni and forward towards Jebel Bouiguinoussem (4025m). After our picnic lunch we start our descent to the Toubkal Base Camp at 3207m, where we will be spending the next two nights.

Full-service camping with use of the refuge 

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 11

Ascent of Mt Toubkal (4167m)

Today we take on another challenging 4000m peak, Mt Toubkal. At 4167m, it is the highest mountain in North Africa. The route is non-technical although there may be some sections of snow and scree along the way but these are safe to cross. The view from the summit is truly breathtaking, as you can see the entire Toubkal Massif, the Siroua Massif and, on clear days, all the way to Marrakech. By far, the most rewarding of all achievements over the last nine days.

We return to the refuge for a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon reflecting on our journey so far. 

Full-service camping with use of the refuge 

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 12

Ascent of Jebel Ouanakrim (4089m); to village of Aroumd

Our final challenge is the last of our three 4000m peaks, Mt Ouanakrim at 4089m. Although this is generally a non-technical ascent, there will be a section towards the summit where you will need to use your hands for 30-40 mins of scrambling. Anyone who doesn't wish to undertake this ascent can instead do part of the trek up to the col of Tizi n'Ougan (3750m) and return to camp along the same route (3½ hours round trip +/-600m). We retrace our steps to Base Camp and, after lunch, continue our descent to Aroumd (1900m) for a welcome shower and night in a gite, with dinner on the terrace, facing back up toward Toubkal. 

Hotel Armed or similar

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 13

Aroumd to Imlil; transfer to Marrakech.

The short walk down to Imlil is followed by the drive back towards Marrakech, where we have a guided tour. Taking in the main sites we learn about the history, culture and architecture of this wonderful city. We then have free time to explore the Djemaa el Fna and the souk, a must for some serious bargaining for souvenirs.

Hotel Gomassine or similar

Meals included: breakfast


DAY 14

Guided tour of Marrakech; free afternoon

In the morning we have a guided tour (on foot) to some of the main sights of Marrakech and the afternoon is free for you to further explore this vibrant city. You may choose to take a caleche (horse-drawn carriage) round the old city walls, visit one of the palaces or the Saadien tombs. Haggle for some last-minute bargains in the souks or relax at the tranquil Jardin Majorelle. Finally, no trip to Marrakech is complete without a nighttime visit to the main square, the Djema el Fna.

Hotel Gomassine or similar

Meals included: breakfast


DAY 15

Fly to London.

For those on group flights, these depart in the morning and will arrive in the UK the same day.

Meals included: breakfast

Categories
Walking & Trekking