Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6pm, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and group leader – check with reception to confirm the time. If you can’t arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you’re able to attend. We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. After the meeting you have the option to join your leader on a jaunt to Djemaa el Fna, the square in the centre of the Medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers (although we do not support this, please see more on our stand on animal welfare here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/uk/animal-welfare), fortune tellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists come together in what has been called the ‘greatest spectacle on earth’. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real experience.
This morning will start with breakfast and a group meeting at 8am. Your leader will go through everything you need to know about the trek before you set off into the mountains. Leave Marrakech behind and drive across the plains towards the ancient marketplace of Tahanaoute, photographing valleys in full flower and the High Atlas Mountains looming ahead along the way. Arrive into Imlil village, which is 1,740 metres above sea level (approximately 1.5 hours). Walk into traditional mountain village life with a 50-minute walk to your mountain base in the village of Aroumd (2,000 metres above sea level) with views towards Toubkal. In the afternoon stretch your legs with a gentle orientation walk around Aroumd, far from the reach of the modern world and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Tonight is spent in a ‘gite’, a traditional village house with dormitory rooms sleeping around eight people. Rooms are furnished in traditional Berber style with low couches (which can be used as beds), tables, carpets and cushions. On warm nights it’s often possible to sleep out on the terrace under the stars. Showers and toilets are usually shared.
Neltner Hut/Mt Toubkal Summit
Today embark on the first day of your ascent of Mt Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. From Armoud the trail crosses the floodplain of the Ait Mizane Valley, before climbing steeply in a zigzag up the mountainside. All baggage and provisions are carried by mule. Used to plough fields, carry loads, turn threshing machines and ferry people between villages, mules are an indispensable part of Berber life. Along the way, pass the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch, home to the tomb of the local marabout (Muslim holy man). See the shrine from across the gorge, as it’s forbidden for non-Muslims to cross the bridge to the other side. From here climb steeply through a series of switchbacks and traverse the flank of the valley above the river. Arrive into Toubkal Base Camp at Neltner (3,207 metres above sea level), where you’ll spend the next night. Enjoy hearty dinner and make sure you get plenty of sleep before the big ascent day tomorrow.
Neltner Hut/Mt Toubkal Summit
Early on in the morning set off for Jebel Toubkal along rocky terrain, and appreciate the rugged beauty of the surroundings. At 4,167 metres above sea level, this is the roof of North Africa. Take in the beautiful silence of the morning, and make the final steep climb, which can involve some scrambling. The effort is however rewarded by superb views from the summit of the entire Atlas range. On a clear day it’s even possible to make out the Atlantic coast to the west and the Sahara Desert to the east. After a rest at the summit and time spent marvelling at the view, make your way back to Neltner. In total there should be approximately 8 hours of walking.
Notes: The ascent is usually only possible during the summer (June to September) as there is too much snow on the high slopes at other times of year. This demanding two-day walk should only be considered by those who are fit and have plenty of mountain-walking experience.
After breakfast, pack up and head back down to Imlil via Aroumd (approximately fours hours). From here it’s a one-and-a-half hour drive back across the plains to Marrakech, a vibrant city and absolute feast for the senses. You’ll have plenty of time to explore after checking in to the hotel. Head out to colourful square of Djemaa El-Fna and start your city adventure with the glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, the famous drink of Marrakech. Head out to the photographic museum to see the past of Morocco captured in amazing pictures and end your day on the one of many rooftop restaurants surrounding the square.
Dig into breakfast then take a guided walk through the souqs of the Medina, each devoted to a different trade such as pottery, woodwork, carpets or spices. The rest of your time in the city is free for you to make your own discoveries. Visit the 19th-century Palais de la Bahia, built for the Grand Vizier, or the former royal townhouse of Dar Si Said, which now houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts. If you’re keen to experience a traditional Moroccan bath, your leader can advise you where to find the nearest hammam, or perhaps indulge your inner foodie with a Taste of Marrakesh Urban Adventure tour, or a tajine cooking class. In the evening, why not head back to Djemaa El-Fna to celebrate the end of your adventure with the group.
Your adventure ends this morning There are no activities planned for your final day but if you do decide to stay on longer, perhaps tour the impressive Saadian Tombs or take one last opportunity to relax in a hammam (Moroccan bath).
Marrakech - Guided walking tour
Marrakech - Palais Bahia