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This week long trekking trip in Morocco culminates in the ascent of North Africa's highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4,167m). Trek through the valley of Imlil, past Berber villages and over beautiful passes surrounded by panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights simple mountain refuge
2 nights simple village house
Moderate and Challenging
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Marrakech. Morocco's famous Red City, Marrakech is the spiritual heart of the country, a cultural melting pot of the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the south. Blessed with some of the most stunning architecture in Morocco, its mix of tradition, colour and history makes it the ideal starting point.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Marrakech at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK), which is around 20 minutes' drive.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to relax beside our hotel's rooftop swimming pool or take a stroll around Djemma el Fna Square.
Hotel Meriem (or similar)
Leaving Marrakech behind this morning we drive south, towards the Imlil Valley and the craggy peaks of the Toubkal Massif. At the village of Aquersioul (1,600 m) we begin our climb, hiking up into the Matate Valley and then on to Tizi n'Oudite (2,200 m), where we stop to enjoy a picnic lunch. Descending through a juniper forest into the Azaden Valley, we then continue towards Id Aissa, enjoying the views out towards the colourful mountain villages of Tizi Zougaghen and Tizaine as we make our way towards our final stop in Tizi Oussem (1,850 m). Here we stay in a traditional Berber-style mud-brick building built into a hillside. The rooms are two-four bed with large and very thick mattress on the floor. It's a rustic property with shared facilities but it is charming and you're receive a warm welcome.
Today's moderate eleven kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total ascent of 792 metres and a descent of 597 metres.
Tizi Oussem Gite (or similar)
Simple Village House
After breakfast this morning we continue walking along the valley, before beginning a steady ascent up towards Tizi Mzik (2,489 metres). From this high mountain pass we then begin our descent towards the village of Aremd (1,950 m). Built on a moraine spur overlooking the valley floor, Aremd is the largest village in the valley and provides us with a fascinating insight into Berber life. This afternoon we have a chance to take a walk around the village, taking in its captivating mix of terraced farming, traditional gites and mountain landscapes.
In Aremd we stay in a traditional Berber village house. There are number of twin or triple rooms with shared facilities, hot showers and a communal area for eating.
Today's moderate ten kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total ascent of 785 metres and a descent of 653 metres.
Aremd Village House (or similar)
Continuing along the Mizane Valley we cross the flood plain and follow the mule tracks up into the high rocky cliffs above the valley. Crossing the river we eventually come to the pastoral shrine of Sidi Chamharouch, set beside a small waterfall and a jumbled cluster of village houses clinging to the rock face. From here the trail continues to climb steadily, snaking and zigzagging its way up towards the snow-line and the welcoming sight of the Neltner Refuge (3,207 m).
At the base of Toubkal we stay at Mountain Refuge. The rooms are basic dorm rooms with bunk beds. There are shared toilets and showers, a dining room and large lounge area with a wood burning stove where everyone gathers and socialises in the evening. It's a great way to meet like-minded trekkers from all over the world.
It is possible to extend today's hike with an afternoon optional walk from the refuge up to the pass of Tizi Ouanoums 3650m, returning to the refuge. This optional walk is expected to take around two hours with a total additional ascent of 720 metres.
Today's moderate ten kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with a total ascent of 1,595 metres.
Refuge Du Toubkal (or similar)
Simple Mountain Refuge
Early this morning we make our attempt on the summit of Jebel Toubkal (4,167 m). Our route takes us up the south cirque, a steep climb across scree and rock that leads eventually to the Tizi n'Toukbal (3,975 m). Cresting the ridge it is then just a short walk to the summit. On a clear day the views from up here take in the Marrakech Plain and the High Atlas Mountains and stretch as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. From the summit we head back down to the refuge for a second night.
Today's challenging seven-and-a-half kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with a total ascent of 1,212 meters and a descent of 990 metres.
Retracing our steps we then return down the mountain and head back towards Imlil this morning, we then drive back to Marrakesh where, on arrival, we have some free time to explore the city's colourful souks and perhaps take a stroll around its celebrated Djemma el Fna Square. A feast for the senses, the square is a wonderful confusion of noise and colour, where you will find the streets alive with storytellers, musicians, jugglers and water-sellers: the perfect place to haggle for some last minute presents, or just sit at a cafe and watch the spectacle unfold before you.
Today's challenging thirteen kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with 1,451 metres of descent.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Marrakech.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Marrakech at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to wander in the souks of Marrakech or buy your last souvenirs before departure.
Total distance : 48.5 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 £40 - fixed cost (will be split amongst participants) (dependent on the schedule of your flights) - Bahia Palace entrance fee 70. MAD (approx. £6) - Saadien Tombs entrance fee 70. MAD (approx. £6) Aremd - Local hammam approx. £5
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. Crampons - Bring your own if you have them or these can be hired locally for MAD300 (approx. £20) each for the duration of the trip. They can go on any type of walking boot. This is only applicable at the start (Apr- May) and end of the seasons (Oct) if there is late/early snow on the summit. Please advise us if you would like to hire this equipment locally so we may add a note to your booking.
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.
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.
Morocco is a developing country and as such, the accommodation standards are not equivalent to those in Europe and can be more basic. We generally choose our properties because of their location, cleanliness, traditional style or for their welcoming atmosphere, as we endeavour to provide an authentic Moroccan experience. However, some of the properties might have some outdated or simple furniture and the level of service may vary depending on the location. You may find that availability of hot water is variable or limited in certain locations. In Tizi Oussem we stay in a gite (traditional Berber-style mud-brick building) which is on the edge of the village nestled in amongst other houses and buildings. Its built into a hillside so you enter on the second floor with a communal room, where you eat. The rooms are two-four bed. They have a large and very thick mattress on the floor. It's a rustic property with one shared bathroom (two showers and four toilets) but it is charming and the staff are lovely. In Aremd we stay in a traditional Berber village house. There are number of twin or triple rooms with shared facilities, a communal area for eating and socialising, and roof terrace. All bedding is provided. This is a fantastic way to meet the local Berber people and gain an insight into their lives. At the base of Toubkal we stay at Neltner refuge which is very basic. The rooms are dorm rooms with two platform bunk beds accommodating 8 people on each level (ear plugs recommended!). There is no bedding provided and if the group is small we may be sharing the platforms with other people outside of our group. There are shared toilet facilities (take your own toilet roll). There are showers, which may or may not be hot. There's a dining room and large lounge area with a wood burning stove (wood is extra), where everyone gathers and socialises in the evening. Please be prepared to pay extra for the hot showers, wood and bottles of water. Whilst the refuge is very basic, it's a great way to meet like-minded trekkers from all over the world and is the ideal base to sumit Toubkal.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
What is it like to climb Toubkal?
Read the blog here!