Atlas Mountains, Morocco Trekking Adventure

In the Berber language, “the people here” are the Imazighen, the “free men” who live in harmony with nature. We’ll trek in the foothills of the giant Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains April 30 – May 5, 2023 to discover the daily life of the Berbers and their ancestral culture – a deep attachment to the land, a sense of the sacred, of a people who perpetuate a heritage inseparable from the identity of Morocco. We’ll stay in Berber guest houses along the way while having our luggage transferred for us and meals prepared. This will be an authentic small group experience.

Our 6-Day Itinerary

Day1 / April 30 – Marrakech – Ourika – Setti Fatma – les sept Cascades. Today we transfer by private minibus from Marrakech to the Ourika valley and check-in to our guest house. For lunch, it is the perfect opportunity to enjoy one of the restaurants by the river, and to taste the famous local Berber tajine, accompanied by salad and mint tea. The Ourika Valley is the Marrakchi’s favorite destination for a day trip; they come here to relax and enjoy the tagine, especially on weekends, and even more so in summer when they go up to take a break. Afterwards we drive to the top of the valley, Setti Fatma where we’ll hike to discover the waterfalls that make the place famous. Ground transfer: 1 h 30 Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours – uphill: 650 ft. downhill: 650 ft. Overnight at Guest House Le Maquis or similar. (L) (D)

Day 2 / May 1 – Ourika – Oukaimedem (8,500 ft.) – tizi n’Aidi (9,776 ft.) – Tachedirt (7,500 ft.). After breakfast we drive to Oukaimeden (the only ski resort in the Atlas, at an altitude of 8,500 ft.). Here we will discover the neolithic rock engravings of the plateau. Lunch today is in one of the village’s restaurants; here again, the Berber tajine is a must! After passing at the foot of the Ouka chairlift, winding up to the tizi n’Aït Aidi; from the pass, we behold a beautiful view of the villages of Imlil (Aït Mizane). The slopes of Toubkal appear, surrounded by 13,000 ft. peaks. We then descend by a good winding path to Tachedirt where we settle for the night. Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours – uphill: 1,200 ft. downhill: 2,200 ft. Overnight at Guest House Tigmi or similar. (B) (L) (D)

Day 3 / May 2 – Tachedirt – tizi n’Tamatert (7,500 ft.) – Imlil (6,000 ft.). Today’s hike is an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the agricultural traditions of the Berber mountain people. The irrigated terraces rise very high on the slopes of the valley. The upper canal (targa) forms an almost rectilinear boundary between the brown of the mountain and the green of the crops; villages are built above it so as not to lose any acres of fertile land. We descend to the villages of Tamguiste, Ouaneskra, and Tinghrine. Crossing the wadi to attack the ascent to the tizi n’Tamatert. If you are in good shape, the ascent to Aourir n’Ouassif is a pleasant addition to this day, providing a magnificent view over several valleys and many villages clinging to the mountainside. Crossing a pine forest of Aleppo to reach our guest house above Imlil, where we settle for two nights.

Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours – uphill: 1,300 ft. downhill: 2,800 ft. Overnight at Ryad Tourtirt or similar. (B) (L) (D)

Day 4 / May 3 – Imlil – tizi m’Zik (8,200 ft.) – Imlil. We wake up with our breakfast on the terrace, facing the Toubkal mountains. Then it’s departure for an amazing day of hiking. After crossing several villages, a clear path leads to a pass, the tizi (local name) n’Zik, at nearly 8,200 ft. There is a very beautiful view of the Imlil Valley, Oukaïmedem, and Tizi Oussem Valley; the contrast between the green valleys and the arid mountains that dominate them is striking. Lunch is taken at or near the pass. A mule carries the necessary items for the picnic, and the cook takes care of everything to make this last Berber lunch an unforgettable experience. There is a possibility to climb on the hills above the pass for a superb view of the two valleys. We then return to our guest house in the middle of the afternoon. Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours – uphill: 1,480 ft. downhill: 1,480 ft. Overnight at Ryad Tourtirt or similar. (B) (L) (D)

Day 5 / May 4 –  Imlil – surrounding villages – Marrakech. Today we discover the surrounding villages up to Aremd, at the end of the trail and the starting point of the path to go to Toubkal. We’ll return to guest house for one last delicious Berber lunch. We savor our final experience in the mountains on the terrace with a mint tea and some local cakes. Then we transfer to Marrakech where we arrive by mid-afternoon and check-in to our hotel with a spa. Optional massages are available with advance booking. Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours – uphill: 650 ft. downhill: 650 ft. Ground vehicle transfer: 1 h 30 Overnight at The Bahia Salam or similar. (B) (L) (D)

Day 6 / May 5 –  Marrakech – Casablanca.At our leisure today. Private ground transportation to Casablanca airport (2 hr 30 min) for our international flights back to the USA. (B)

Price: $1,600 per person double occupancy (Single Supplement Available)

Single Supplement: $250 (5 Nights)

Includes: All Private Ground Transportation, Berber Guest House Accommodations, Professional English Speaking Local Tour Guide, 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners

Excludes: All International Flights, Travel Insurance, Alcohol Drinks, Souvenirs, Tips for Guide /Driver /Cook, Spa Services on Last Evening back in Marrakech

About Author
Jack Witt