Situated in the Atlas Mountains, which dramatically separate the Sahara desert from the Atlantic and Mediterranean Coast, Mount Toubkal (locally known as Jebel Toubkal) is the highest peak in northern Africa, at 4167 metres.
Rugged and rocky, Toubkal has little in common with the alpine peaks of Europe and is characterised by deep gorges, volcanic formations and soaring crags, interspersed with Berber villages. Although at times steep or slippery, the climb isn’t technical or very strenuous during the summer months and its peak can be summited in as few as three days. However, spending one week or two trekking on the Atlas Mountains is the best way to fully appreciate their varied landscape and to enjoy the Berber hospitality. Because of their isolation, the local villages have retained their way of living for centuries. By staying as guests in the Berbers’ traditional houses you can get an insight into their fascinating and relatively untouched culture.
If climbed in winter, Toubkal presents a very different challenge. Icy and covered with snow, its peak can only be conquered using an ice axe and crampons. As fewer hikers attempt the summit in winter there is a real sense of remoteness too. When observing the amount of snow covering its slopes, it’s hard to believe that the hottest desert on earth, the Sahara, borders the mountain range and can even be seen from the summit on a clear day. And if the challenge might be greater during the winter months, so is the reward once at the top - as views of the snow-capped Atlas ranges unfold below you