Atlas Mountain Trek (Toubkal area) - Morocco
Morocco's Toubkal National Park plays host to this fantastic 2 week circuit trek, culminating in an ascent of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. Along the way we traverse the valleys and passes of the rugged landscape, stay in fantastic picturesque villages and enjoy the hospitality of the local Berber people and their unique North African culture.
The ascent of Jebel Toubkal can be undertaken in less days however this expanded itinerary allows more time to appreciate and trully explore the entire region.
Situated in the North-west corner of Africa, Morocco is a land of great contrasts from the white-washed houses on the fertile Mediterranean coast to the arid brown mountains of the interior.
Our gateway to the mountains is Marrakech so called the red city, and Morocco,s 4th largest with a population of around one and a half million. We overnight here and have the opportunity to explore this ancient city with its exotic souks, palaces , gardens and heaving mass of dust ,noise and colour. The often snow clad summits of the High Atlas provide a wonderful back-drop to the ochre coloured buildings of the city.
Rising out of the haze to the south of Marrakech, the High Atlas, North Africa's highest mountains offer us an incredible variety of scenery, a superb network of trails, and challenging peaks. Snow capped for half the year, from West to East they stretch from the Atlantic ocean just north of Agadir, until they fade into the desert on the Algerian border a distance of nearly a thousand miles. Centuries ago the famous Roman geographer Pliny described the high Atlas as “the most fabulous mountains in the whole of Africa”.
By the standards of more popular trekking and climbing areas in Europe the atlas are still remote and scarcely touched by tourism. On our trek we aim to explore the less well known areas, walk on remote trails and climb to the summit of some of the less well known peaks. We want you to experience an authentic Moroccan way of life, and have an appreciation of what a magnificent wilderness area this is.
Adventure Alternative guides will lead trips to the Toubkal region of Morocco. They have a lifetime of experience in mountaineering and wilderness exploration. Amongst many other skills they all have an infectious enthusiam for the Atlas Mountains to go alongside their knowledge and experience.
Dates and Itinerary
|28th September - 11th October||30th May - 12th June|
|27th September - 10th October|
|1||Arrive Marrakech [Itinerary Begins] Night in Riad|
|2||Drive to Imlil. Acclimitisation walk|
|3||Imlil- Tizi n Aguersioual- Amssakrou- Tizi n Tiratene- Waterfall camp|
|4||Waterfall camp- Gliz- Tizi n Oukaimeden- Oukaimeden- Tizi n Ouhattar- Agounss- Labassene|
|5||Labassene- Tizi n Tacheddirt- (Angour)- Tacheddirt|
|6||Tacheddirt- Tizi Likemt- Azib Likemt- Azib Tamenzift|
|7||Azib Tamenzift- Azib Amtou- Tizi n Tifourhate- Tizi n Terhaline- Irhir n Tarhbaloute- Tissaldi|
|8||Tissaldi- Amsourzerte- Imhilene|
|9||Imhilene- Lac d Ifni- Tizi n Ouanoums- Nelter Refuge|
|10||Nelter Refuge- Ras Ouanoukrim- Timesguida Ouanoukrim- Nelter Refuge|
|11||Nelter Refuge- Jebel Toubkal- Nelter Refuge|
|12||Nelter Refuge- Tizi Melloul- (Afella)- Lepiney Refuge|
|13||Lepiney Refuge- Azib Tamsoult- Tizi n Tzikert- Imlil|
|14||Drive to Marrakech [Itinerary Ends] Depart Marrakech|
|1||450m||Arrive in Marrakech. Time explore the city by night an overnight stay in a hotel and a group dinner.|
|2||After breakfast in the hotel we drive to the village of Imlil, and the start of our trek at 1740 m altitude. It is a large village in the heart of the high Atlas and takes 2 hours from Marrakech on a very scenic road. We stay overnight at a Berber family run guest house called Dar Tighoula. It is situated just above the village and offers tremendous views from the roof terrace, home cooked traditional Berber food, comfortable rooms and free internet. After lunch we have an afternoon trek which will help our acclimatisation and it offers great views of the peaks around us and an introduction to the Berber villages and way of life. Dinner and overnight stay in the guest house.|
|3||6hrs||After helping to load our mules and a good breakfast, we head of on our Toubkal adventure. From Imlil we gradually traverse and ascend the hillside on a good path to reach the Tizi –n-Aguersioual col at 2,030m. You get wonderful views of the high atlas peaks from the col before we descend to the village of Amssakrou beautifully situated in a deep valley. After lunch next to the river, we ascend upwards out of the valley to cross the Tizi -n-Tiratene then continue onto our camp site at 2,300m in a beautiful location with a nearby waterfall and views down to villages in the valley below us.|
|4||2682m||7 hrs||After breakfast we ascend to the Tizi-n-Oakaimeden 2,682m, then drop down quickly to a large grassy basin and the ski resort of Oakaimeden. Our next objective is to climb and cross the Tizi-n-Ouhattar at 3230m. It’s an excellent track to the col and well worth the big effort required. From the col great views of the Atlas peaks are had in all directions. If the weather allows we will have lunch on the col , otherwise continue down to find a more sheltered spot. Below us lie the villages of Agounss, and Timichchi which we pass through on our way to our overnight camp at the village of Labassene 2,240m. It’s a very traditional Berber village situated high above the narrow valley floor.|
|5||7 hrs||After breakfast we ascend on a good trail to the Tizi-n-tacheddirt 3230m. From the col if conditions allow we will ascend the slopes of Angour 3616m to gain brilliant views and give a big help in our acclimatisation, then continue down to the village of Tacheddirt 2300m where we stay overnight.|
|6||7 hrs||After breakfast our initial objective is the Tizi Likemt 3555m, and ascent of nearly 4000 ft! It needs a big effort as much of the trail is on scree. We will eventually get there, take a well earned rest then descend steeply down to join a more firm track and drop down to the small village of Azib Tamenzift 2500m which is our overnight camp.|
|7||7 hrs||After breakfast, we follow a gorge with several river crossings to the village of Azib Amtou , and then ascend to reach the Tizi-n-tifourhate 3,130m . There are wonderful views as we continue over the col of the Tizi-n-Terhaline , 3350m , then heading down a valley to our overnight camp at the village of Tissaldi.|
|8||6-7 hrs||Today is another delightful trek. We pass through many villages, fertile terrain and many fruit trees, as we descend the Tissaldi valley. We may make our overnight camp at the village of Imhilene or continue another hour to the shores of Lac d,ifni .This will depend on the weather especially the wind.|
|9||7 hrs||Lac d,ifni is the only lake in the Toubkal region and stocked with trout. We may camp on the shore, or will trek past early in the morning. From the lake we have one of the longest ascents in the Atlas Mountains .Fully 1500m, or 5,000 feet, its fortunately on a good path through impressive rock scenery, to reach the Tizi-n-Ouanoums 3,664m . From the col there are impressive views of all the major summits of the Atlas. We descend on an improving path to arrive at the Toubkal (Neltner ) refuge 3207m. This refuge is the most popular in the region, due to its location under Mt Toubkal and it is open all year round. We make camp very close to the refuge.|
|10||We have an opportunity today to ascend Ouanoukrim 4088m the second highest summit in the Atlas and one of the most enjoyable. It has two twin summits North and South, both of which we will attempt. 6 hours trekking. Overnight camp at the Toubkal refuge.|
|11||4167m||6 hrs||Early this morning we climb to the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains and North Africa jebel toubkal 4,167m.The ascent is on a good trail initially, traversing the hillside from the refuge then up steep valleys to a ridge and eventually the summit. There are excellent views from the top. We have an option to descend by a different route back to the refuge. We will have earned the well earned rest and refreshments when we return to our camp for our overnight stay.|
|12||7 hrs||Our route today is to the Tazaghart (Lepiney) refuge. It’s a fine days trekking through wonderful mountain scenery. Our initial challenge is to ascend to a col at 3875m. If the weather is good there are a couple of peaks we can ascend on route From the col we descend through some permanent snow patches and some easy scrambling to eventually sight the refuge and our overnight camp. The Lepeney refuge 3,000m is located in the remote Azzaden valley and receives few visitors. It’s in a wonderful location and at night the lights of Marrakech can be seen.|
|13||Today is our final day of the trek. Initially from the refuge we descend past some great waterfalls, and then the day consists of traverses and descents on excellent paths with tremendous views until eventually we sight our finish at the village of Imlil. We overnight at the Dar Tighoula lodge,and enjoy a group dinner with traditional Berber music and dancing.|
|14||450m||After breakfast Return to Marrakech, and either remain in the city, head to the coast or transfer to the airport for your flight home.|
Atlas Mountain Trek (Toubkal area) cost: £825.00
- All food and hot drinks on trek
- Mules to transport main bags
- Western Guide
- Local Moroccan Guides
- All accomodation on trek(tents & Lodges)
- All transportation and airport transfers
- Group equipment
- International Air Fare
- Personal travel Insurance
- Meals in Marrakech
- Mineral water/ soft drinks
- Single room supplements
- Optional tips to Moroccan staff (approx £25+)
- Additional nights in Marrakech
- Personal spending money (note Moroccan Dihrams are not available abroad, we can help you change/withdraw some in Marrakech)
The ascents on this trip are not technical climbs and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment is needed. You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the climbs are moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of altitude may also further tax your body. You will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip. You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.
Type of Terrain
Most of the paths are in good condition, some are steeper and looser under foot than others. On the main ascent of Toubkal the path does include some loose scree, which can add to your energy expenditure, especially on the descent.
Adventure Alternative Support
Mules will transport the majority of our equipment and personal belongings, allowing you to trek with just a day pack.
- Trekking kit list
- 80 Litre Duffle or Rucksack
- 35Ltr Day Pack
- Stuff sacks, waterproof, various sizes
- Warm Jacket Synthetic or Down insulated
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Trekking trousers x2 (zip off legs)
- Long sleeved trekking shirt x1
- Long sleeved base layer top x2
- Thermal Base Layer Legginngs x1
- Thin liner socks x2 (optional)
- Thick trekking socks x2
- Underwear x4
- General socks x3
- Warm Hat
- Warm gloves or mitts
- Wide brimmed Sun Hat
- Trekking boots
- Crocs/Sandals/Flip flops
- 4 season sleeping bag (comfort temperature -20C)
- Compression sack for sleeping bag
- Thermarest or thick foam sleeping mat
- Thermarest repair kit
- Walking Poles (optional)
- Head torch & spare batteries
- Watch with alarm
- 2x 1 litre drinks bottles
- 1 litre bottle to urinate in (optional)
- Toilet roll
- Ear plugs (wax)
- Passport & copies, visa, insurance details, money, credit cards, plane tickets
- Diary & Pencil
- Personal Wash Kit
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Wet wipes (optional)
- Toothbrush with cover
- Roll on deodorant
- Shaving gear & small mirror
- Showergel/shampoo (<100ml for before/after climb)
- Microfibre trekking towel
- Personal Medical Kit (see below)
Additional Kit Info
Personal Medical Kit
Water Purification Tablets
Personal Medication as required:
eg. Anti-Malarials, Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc
Possible Additional Personal First Aid Items
Prochlorperazine tablets (for sickness/nausea)
Ciprofloxacin tablets (general antibiotic; prescription required)
Acetazolamide tablets (altitude prophylactic; prescription required)
Note: you must check with your GP for your personal suitability to all medicines and their possible side effects and interactions. Please inform us of the details of all regular medication that you intend to use though the course of your trip and any relevant allergies and medical history related to them. You also need to check the requirements and regulations of the airline and all countries visited in relation to medications. For example; laws governing transport of some pain control medication and the need keep insulin at a suitable temperature, ie not in the cargo hold.
- We offer small scale, authentic expeditions, which can also be tailormade.
- All our guides and staff are professionally trained and have years of proven experience.
- We have built up partnerships with local guides and drivers which are mutually beneficial and exist on a fair and open basis so that the host country and its people may fully benefit from tourism without being exploited.
- We are continually improving our quality service year on year.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development worldwide in a real way.
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
- Financial security is guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
- We are members on Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.