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Reach the very peak of North Africa in record time on a challenging weekend adventure in the Atlas Mountains. Journey to the heart of Morocco on foot, passing through fertile valleys and quaint villages, and experiencing traditional Berber hospitality along the way. All before getting lost in the maze-like streets of the Red City, Marrakech.
Explore Tour Leader
1 nights simple camping
2 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights simple village house
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour of Morocco starts in the Red City. With its dusty rooftops, maze-like streets and bustling souks, Marrakech encompasses the essence of Morocco. Head to the medina and people watch while you sip a mint tea in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square) or visit the Jardin Majorelle, just a short walk from our hotel. Alternatively, you might like to relax in the hotel's rooftop swimming pool before our adventure begins.
There are no activities planned for today, so you're free to arrive at any time. If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive at Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which is around a 20 minute drive from our hotel. Our tour leader will meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for a welcome meeting and then an optional dinner. If you arrive later, they'll catch you up as soon as possible.
Hotel Safia (or similar)
Leaving the city behind, today we'll drive south towards the craggy peaks and plunging valleys of the Toubkal Massif. Crossing the Haouz Plain, we'll pass through the small town of Asni, from where the road begins to climb towards the foothills of the Massif. Below us, the valley of the Oued Rhirhaia stretches out into the distance and small villages cling to the sides of the steep hills.
We'll meander our way to the village of Imlil (1740m/5707ft), where our adventure on foot begins. We'll leave our vehicle and join our mountain guide to begin our trek, heading along the Mizane Valley. First, we'll make our way towards the village of Aremd (1900m/6230ft) and the shrine of Sidi Chamarouch. The largest village in the valley, Aremd is a charming patchwork of farms, gites and pathways and is home to the local Berber community who've spent generations producing corn, potatoes, and walnuts on the land.
Continuing across the flood plain, our route takes us along mule tracks and up into the rocky cliffs above the valley. Crossing the river, we'll come to the pastoral shrine of Sidi Chamarouch, which attracts tourists and Muslims alike (although only Muslims are allowed to cross the stone bridge to visit the marabout shrine itself). The village sits beside a tranquil waterfall and is a jumble of clustered mountainside houses and pathways. From here, we'll continue our trail, climbing steadily up to the snowline and our camp (3206m/10,520ft).
Tonight, we'll camp at the base of Toubkal with spectacular views down to the valley. Two-man tents are provided and there is a dining tent and basic toilet. You can buy drinks and snacks at the nearby refuge, where showers are also available for a small fee.
Today's walk covers 11 kilometres/6.8 miles and is graded as challenging. It has a total ascent of 1460m/4790ft. We expect it to take around 5 hours.
Toubkal Base Camp (or similar)
Setting off early, this morning we'll make our way to the summit of Jebel Toubkal (4167m/13,670ft). Our route takes us up the south cirque, a steep climb across scree and rock that will lead us to the Tizi n'Toubkal saddle (3975m/13,040ft), just a short walk from the summit. The going is tough up here and we'll negotiate scree fields and carpets of boulders - the altitude will also get harder to handle but the vistas make it all worthwhile. The Roman scholar, Pliny once described the Atlas as 'the most fabulous mountains in all of Africa' and from up here, it's easy to see why. On a clear day, the panorama takes in the Marrakech Plain and the High Atlas Mountains and stretches as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara.
Once we've marvelled at the view, we'll retrace our steps back down the mountain and towards Aremd (1900m/6240ft), our home for tonight. We'll rest up in a traditional Berber village house with twin and triple rooms, shared facilities, and a communal area for eating.
Today's walk covers 17 kilometres/10.5 miles and is graded as challenging. It has a total ascent of 960m/3150ft and descent of 2217m/7270ft. We expect it to take around 10 - 11 hours.
Aremd Village House (or similar)
Simple Village House
Today, we'll retrace our steps back to Imlil (1740m/5707ft) and from there, we'll drive back to Marrakech. We'll have free time to explore the Red City and take in the pandemonium of Jemaa El-Fna (the main square) or delve into the spice-scented souks to pick up a souvenir to end the trip. There's the option to take a walking tour of the souks, stopping by the Koutoubia Mosque and tower, with a local guide. Alternatively, you might like to get lost alone in the Gueliz (the modern, French-built city) or the Medina (the old city).
Today's walk covers 1.5 kilometres/0.9 miles. It has a total descent of 210m/690ft. We expect it to take around 45 minutes.
Our tour of Morocco ends at our hotel in Marrakech.
There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like an airport transfer, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
Total distance : 29.5 kilometres
The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (if sight seeing is included we will do our best to avoid the heat of the day during this period). Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day's heat rapidly diminishes. From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 18-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.
2 Pin Round
Arabic, Berber, French.
Marrakech: - A guided tour through the city, into the souks, around the medina and past the iconic Djemma el Fna £15 (dependent on the schedule of your flights) - Bahia Palace entrance fee 70. MAD (approx. £6) - Saadien Tombs entrance fee 70. MAD (approx. £6)
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable, and it will be cold, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and warmer are recommended as a base layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. People may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention. We advise that in general both men and women should cover shoulders, upper arms and knees. Transparent, plunging necklines and tightfitting clothes should be avoided. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non-Muslims. -Warm jacket and trousers - After sunset and before sunrise, temperatures can fall. A warm jacket and long warm trousers are the most convenient way of keeping warm, a down jacket is recommended -Waterproof Jacket - To act as a shell layer and in case the weather changes, particularly at the start and end of the season -Waterproof gloves; a warm scarf & a warm hat - Warm and windproof gloves or mittens are essential for summit day. Also bring a scarf to cover your neck -Socks - It is best to wear a pair of liner socks under a pair of fairly thick loop stitch socks. This helps to protect your feet against blisters. Avoid nylon socks, they are abrasive, don't breathe well and can cause blisters -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Long trousers -Sunhat -Warm midlayer/ fleece -Swimwear for the pool at the hotel
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
One main piece of baggage and and a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream and water. It is preferable to bring your luggage in soft holdalls rather than a large suitcase - as it is easier to pack them on the vehicles and the mules. It will be possible to store unrequired and additional luggage at the hotel or with our agent in Marrakech during the trek.
Bring a 3-season sleeping bag (during May and Sept you will need a 4 season bag). A silk or fleece liner helps to keep your bag clean and adds an extra season. Sunglasses/ ski goggles and high factor sunscreen and lip protection- Essential for protection against UV rays and glare at high altitudes. Torch/Batteries/Bulb - A small torch is essential for finding things at night, a head torch is advised for the early ascent to the summit. Remember to bring some spare batteries. Walking Poles (advisable for the descent) Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) Reusable water bottle (minimum 1litre) - an insulated bottle is also nice to have for hot drinks. Personal toiletries - Toothbrush/paste, washcloth or small towel, toilet paper, anti-bacterial hand wash Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. Please do not give medicines to local staff without consulting the tour leader. Equipment Hire and Trek Training Days - Trek Hire UK hire out a wide range of kit including quality sleeping bags, down jackets, therm-a-rest sleeping mats and walking poles http://www.trekhireuk.com. They also run regular trek training and preparation days from their base in the Surrey Hills, ideal for getting an indication of your overall fitness level and also covering advice on kit and altitude.
Few destinations give you as warm a welcome as Morocco and our accommodation has been chosen to reflect that. We choose our accommodation based on location, quality, and traditional style to give you a real taste of life in the country. It's worth bearing in mind that Morocco is a developing country and standards might not always be equivalent to those at home. Some properties might be simply furnished, access to hot water may be sparse in certain stays and the level of service might vary from place to place. Older buildings can get cold in the winter months and don't have heating facilities, so you might want to pack an extra jumper - hotels will provide extra blankets. During this trip, we'll camp at the base of Toubkal. Two-man tents are provided and there is a dining tent and basic toilet. You can buy drinks and snacks at the nearby refuge, where showers are also available for a small fee. The camp brings us back to basics but rewards us with spectacular views of the valley below.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Morocco: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. UK passport holders are requested to have at least 3 months validity from the date of entry into Morocco. All other nationalities please check with your nearest embassy for requirements of passport validity.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
This trip goes to an altitude where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), a common and usually harmless condition caused by reduced air pressure and a lower concentration of oxygen. Whilst the itinerary has been specifically designed to allow your body to acclimatise gradually, the speed of onset and severity - as well as the height at which AMS develops can vary greatly between individuals; being physically fit affords no special protection. If symptoms occur while on tour you must let your tour leader know immediately. For further advice when travelling at altitude we recommend visiting the medical advice website of "Medex" and downloading their information booklet: http://medex.org.uk/medex_book/english_version.php Travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure, or taking the contraceptive pill must seek the advice of their GP and specifically mention the maximum altitude the trip reaches (please refer to Tour Essentials box on front page of your Tour Notes). Please take these to your medical appointment so that your doctor has the full details of your trip. You must have adequate travel insurance for your trip. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you to the maximum altitude indicated above. If you have Explore insurance you will be covered to this altitude.
It is advisable to bring re-usable water bottles and a means of purifying, filtering or sterilising water in order to be able to drink cool water from mountain streams and from the hotel taps. Bottled water can be purchased throughout the trip, but as recycling is not fully established in Morocco plastic bottles are an increasing waste problem.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2024, Ramadan runs from the 10th March to the 9th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
There are no 2024 departures that coincide with Ramadan.