Berber villages trek
Berber villages trek
A superb trek through the valleys, passes and villages of Morocco's Atlas mountains. The route takes off the main tourist trails and we stay in the heart of each village community in a locally owned guesthouse.
The trek will appeal to people who want to see the spectacular scenery of the High Atlas mountains whilst staying at lower altitudes and experiencing the authentic Berber lifestyles and communities that have evolved to live in this mountain environment.
Berber villages trek itinerary
|1||Drive Marrakesh to Imi Oughlad, trek to Tinzert|
|2||Trek Tinzert to Tizian|
|3||Trek Tizian to Tizgui|
|4||Trek Tizgui to Tizi Oussem|
|5||Trek Tizi Oussem to Imlil|
|6||Day in Imlil|
|7||Drive Imlil to Marrakesh|
|1||1.5hrs Drive + 6hrs Trek||After around a 1 to 1.5 hour drive up from Marrakech, you will meet your guide, mule and cook at the small village of Imi Oughlad which sits beside the road that climbs up the bottom of the Ait Mizanne Valley. The mules will take your big bags and you will carry just a small day sack. First we have a short steep climb amongst a forest of old but small and gnarled juniper trees. The path then eases off as we follow the valley up and over a pass before dropping gently down the other side to the village of Tinzert where the valley opens out again. In Tinzert we will settle into a guesthouse that is owned and run by a local family. The guesthouse will be simple and basic but has beds with foam mattresses, toilets and somewhere to take shower or stad-up wash. The food will be cooked by the expedition cook who is travelling with you but in the guesthouse kitchen. Meals will be served inside the guesthouse or possibly outside if you prefer.|
|2||5 hrs||Leaving Tinzert we make our way around to the larger Azzaden Valley and begin to follow it up to the south. The valley is a strip of lush green amongst the more arid hillsides surrounding it. The small river in its base is fed from the snow melting from the higher peaks to the south. We follow this green strip past a few small traditional Berber villages before we arrive at one called Tizian, where we will spend the night. We will stay in a guesthouse that is owned and run by a local family. The guesthouse will be simple and basic but has beds with foam mattresses, toilets and somewhere to take shower or stand-up wash. The food will be cooked by the expedition cook who is travelling with you but in the guesthouse kitchen. Meals will be served inside the guesthouse or possibly outside if you prefer.|
|3||7 hrs||As we leave Tizian in a southerly direction we pass through terraces of large walnut trees. We will stop at Tizi Taghrhourt from which we get a great view back down to the North, along the Azzaden Valley. Then it is a long steady climb up to today's highest point of the pass at the head of the valley. The terrain here is more arid than in the valley bottom and we will see reds, yellows and greys in the exposed rocks and soils. Dropping down the other side we wind our way down into the Dkent Valley and around to the large village of Tizgui. Here we will spend the night in a guesthouse that is owned and run by a local family. The guesthouse will be simple and basic but has beds with foam mattresses, toilets and somewhere to take shower or stand-up wash. The food will be cooked by the expedition cook who is travelling with you but in the guesthouse kitchen. Meals will be served inside the guesthouse or possibly outside if you prefer.|
|4||7 hrs||Today we will leave the Dkent Valley and climb back over to the Azzaden Valley. This morning will start with a sustained uphill trek to the high pass of Tizi Tougdal at 2700m. We start off amongst terraced fields in the valley bottom but then climb up out of the oases and onto the arid mountainside again. Once we pass Tizi Tougdal it is all down hill back into the Azzaden Valley and the village of Tizi Oussem, surrounded by the green of fields and well established groves of trees, terraced on the hillside. In Tizi Oussem we will stay in a guesthouse that is owned and run by a local family. The guesthouse will be simple and basic but has beds with foam mattresses, toilets and somewhere to take shower or stand-up wash. The food will be cooked by the expedition cook who is travelling with you but in the guesthouse kitchen. Meals will be served inside the guesthouse or possibly outside if you prefer.|
|5||7 hrs||From Tizi Oussem we start our last day by following the Azzaden Valley up to the south as it narrows and approaches the mountains that feed its river. High above to the West is the Tazarhart Plateau, a 3900m mountain with a flat top around 2km across. We will see the cliffs rising up to its lip to the right of the valley head. Passing the hamlet and mountain refuge at Tamsoult we will continue to where the valley narrows to a cliffed gorge and a large waterfall crashes down into the bottom. After a rest at the waterfall we will follow the valley back down but this time follow the path up the East side of the valley and work our way around and up to the hig pass at Tizi Mzik. From here we get a superb view down into the Mizane Valley and the handful of villages that are known collectively as Imlil. We make our way down into what may now seem like a bustling metropolis after our days amongst the smaller, more isolated villages. Imlil is the main starting place for treks to north Africa's highest peak and there are lots of guesthouses and shops to cater for the needs of the trekkers. We will spend the night at a small guesthouse which is owned and run by the Amzil family. There are simple ensuite bedrooms with western-style flush toilets, hot showers and a rooftop terrace to enjoy the view back across to Tizi Mzik where we descended from.|
|6||Today will be a free day for you to explore the villages on Imlil or just relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.|
|7||1.5 hrs Drive||The drive back to Marrakesh is only around an hour and a half so depending on when you need to be back in the city, we can have a relaxed start and walk down into Fimlil, the main centre of the villages, and have a look in the local shops and stalls and generally soak up the atmosphere before driving back down to the bustling city of Marrakesh.|
Berber Villages Trek from £495.00
- Private vehicle transfer from Marrakesh to start of trek
- English speaking guide
- Expedition cook
- Mules to carry main bags
- All food and drinks with meals
- Accommodation in local Berber guesthouses
- Private vehicle transport back to Marrakesh from end of trek
- International flights
- Accommodation & meals in Marrkesh (meals cost an average of about £10-£15, depending on the exchange rate)
- Personal travel insurance
- Extra snacks & bottled drinks
- Discretionary staff tips (~£20 per trekker)
A deposit is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.
Berber villages trek - fitness and terrain
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 will also reduce your level of strength. Therefore, 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.
As a guide, you need to be comfortable walking on fairly hilly terrain for more than 6 hours with a small pack of around 5kg. You also need to be able to do this for a number of days in a row. It is also important that you are relatively agile and steady on your feet. There are some sections of descent on sometimes loose scree and rubble which will require care and agility to safely navigate.
This trip has some fairly long descents (3-4hrs+) which can be hard on knees ankles and sometimes hips aswell. If you have any re-occuring or previous injuries to any of these joints you need to be confident that they are well healed before the trip. Please do speak to us and/or a relevant medical professional if you have any doubts or concerns.
Using trekking poles can be of great help for balance on loose ground and to take some of the strain off your knees. You do need to learn to use them properly for them to be most effective though. We can help by giving you advice on the trip but it is a great advantage to have used them prior to the trip.
You do also 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.
Berber villages trek kit list
The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night. There is a detailed list via the menu below-right but the main points to cover are:-
- BAGS - Large duffle ~90L (carried by mules) + Medium Daypack ~25L (carried by you)
- SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
- INSULATION - Layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to and keep the sun off when it gets hot
- FEET - Sturdy trekking Boots (not walking Shoes), flip flops or similar, footwear for city
- SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag and camping mat to get a good nights sleep at the camp/refuge
- EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite energy-snacks for during the day
- WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister
When deciding what to bring it is useful to think about what you will be doing on the trip and what the conditions are likely to be like.
At the start of the trip we will be in Marrakech. Here it is likely to be hot but we will be walking gently around town, not carrying anything. For this you just need comfortable light-weight clothing and general shoes. As Morocco is a largely muslim country it is respectful to dress modestly, covering at least most of the length of your arms and legs. This is especially true for women. Temperatures could be up as high as 35degC in the middle of the day with bright sunlight. Sunglasses, sunhat and sun block are therefore pretty much essential.
On a general day of trekking in the mountains we may be getting up early when it may be cooler, perhaps down to 10degC in the shade. We may therefore start walking with thin trekking trousers, a trekking shirt/baselayer and perhaps a jumper or thin fleece. As we warm up while walking, and as the sun comes up above the peaks we start to get hotter. At this point we will probably be wearing a thin top, thin trousers or shorts, sunhat and sunglasses. By mid day it may perhaps be 30degC, although on high passes and peaks the wind-chill of any breeze will make it feel much cooler.
While we are walking we will be carrying just a small rucksack or perhaps 25-35 litres. In this we will have our water/wind proof jacket and trousers, our warmer top, two litres of water, camera etc and some favourite high-energy snacks. When we have finished the day's walk we will arrive at our camp and probably be keen to get our boots and socks off and walk about in flip-flops or sandals. We may then add a warmer layer as the sun goes down.
- We offer small scale, authentic expeditions, which can also be tailored to your needs.
- You will get to speak to our experienced UK staff who can tell you what the conditions and terrain are really like on the trek. They can chat with you and provide advice and answer questions on all the things that relate to the trek.
- We have built up partnerships and relationships 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 a fully bonded and registered travel operator with all the necessary guarantees to keep you and your money safe.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development worldwide in a real way.
Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due six weeks before travel.