Atlas Travel Guide

  • Atlas - Making Argan Oil (2009)
    Atlas - Making Argan Oil (2009)
    by Kaspian
  • Atlas Mountains (2009)
    Atlas Mountains (2009)
    by Kaspian
  • Atlas - Mountain Shops (2009)
    Atlas - Mountain Shops (2009)
    by Kaspian

Atlas Things to Do

  • Mount Toubkal

    Mount Toubkal is the highest mountain in North Africa. (4167m). It can be climbed in a minimum of two days starting from Imlil. We stayed in Aremd a short distance from Imlil. There is no climbing involved and anyone of reasonable fitness can reach the summit. There was a bit of a scramble across a scree fields near the top. In the Summer no...

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  • Jebel Toubkal Ascent

    The most popular hike in the Atlas mountains is the ascent of Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s highest mountain. Toubkal is 4167 metres and is in the highest mountain in the Maghreb countries of North Africa. The first recorded climb was in 1923 though it’s likely that local Berbers had made the ascent prior to this. In summer this is a straightforward...

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  • Sidi Chamarouch

    Sidi Chamarouch is the last settlement on the route from Imlil to Toubkal. It's about 1/3 of the way along the route from Imlil and takes 2 hrs to get here. It's marked by a distinctive white rock which you'll see in the distance long before you arrive. There are shops here selling the usual Moroccan souvenirs, as well as a couple of small cafes...

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  • Aroumd

    Aroumd is the first village on the hike from Imlil to Toubkal. (You may also see his town called Armed or Around in different guidebooks) It's about 30 minutes walk between the two, and part of the route is via a motorable road. Aroumd has a small choice of hotels and restaurants (though not as much as Imlil) so it can be as good a base as Imlil....

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  • Imlil

    Imlil is the most popular trailhead for the ascent of Toubkal. There are good transport links with Marrakech, and a large selection of hotels and restaurants. Also, in Imlil, you can rent crampons, find out about the latest weather conditions and stock up on provisions for the journey. Years ago Imlil was a tiny village, but it has grown...

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  • Visit an olive press

    From my journal:'We stop at an olive press, run as a cottage industry by a family. We try bread dipped in "extra virgin olive oil", which is how they eat it here.'

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  • Small zoo

    Behind the Asni hotel and restaurant, there is (or was) a small zoo, where they keep 'wild' boars and monkeys, which, for a small fee, you can feed. They were quite cute I suppose, but not kept very well.

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  • Mountain Views

    From the hotel / restaurant at Asni, we had the most tremendous views of the Atlas Mountains, with the snow-capped peaks stretching out on the horizon. Worth the visit!

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  • Berber villages

    From my journal:'All around the roadside are Berber homes built quite precariously on the hillside. We stop to take photos of them and nearly get run over by a man riding an out-of-control donkey. Both Larbi and Gary are very angry with him, so I don't know whether he did it on purpose.'

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Atlas Restaurants

  • grets's Profile Photo

    by grets Written May 10, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We only had a drink here, and enjoyed the view tremendously. The place was modern and clean, and I should imagine it would be a great place to stay - waking up to such tremendous vistas every morning. It really was miles from anywhere though.

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Atlas Transportation

  • Tizi n' Tichka

    The Tizi n’ Tichka is a road through the Atlas mountains, connecting Marrakech to Ouazazarte and the rest of the south east. It’s spectacular drive with plenty of climbs and switch backs and the views are superb. The road was build during the French occupation and made the journey south from Marrakech much easier. The old road went from Telouet to...

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  • Mules and Porters

    Most people planning the trip to Toubkal from Imlil hire guides, mules and porters. However, none of these is really necessary, provided you don't mind carrying your backpack to the Toubkal refuge and that you have a good idea of the route. On a busy day the latter is not an issue as you can just follow the crowds. If you do take your own stuff, be...

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  • TRANSPORT

    Bus station and taxis: square Al Jamia Al Arabia, Tangier Morocco tel.: 039 946 682Railway station: square de la Marche verte, Tangier Morocco tel.: 039 934 570Airline :Royal Air Maroc: square 'de France', Tangier Morocco tel.: 039 935 501Boukhalef Souahel Airport, Tangier Morocco tel.: 039 935 720. Fax : 039 932 676Shipping companies:Comanav,...

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Atlas Shopping

  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    by barryg23 Written Apr 27, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Make sure you stock up on food, drink and other supplies in Imlil or Aroumd as there are few opportunities to buy food or drink in the mountains. On the long hike to the refuge, you can get basic stuff at Sidi Chamarouch or Aroumd, but it’s better to stock up beforehand.

    Drinks are occasionally available along the route to Toubkal. We passed this little “shop” about 30 minutes up hill from Sidi Charamouch. He had an interesting way of keeping his drinks cold using an empty plastic bottle to spray hosed water from the nearby stream. He charged 10 Dh for a bottle of sprite - the normal cost is 3 - but I guess he has to cover transport costs somehow. I think this was the last place before the refuge where to buy anything.

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Atlas Local Customs

  • Shop sign

    These bright orange plastic bottles hanging on tree along the side of the road, indicated that there is a small family run olive press here, and you are able to buy olive oil. In other words, a very effective, non-verbal shop sign.

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  • Cooker

    Seeing the cooking facilities in the local Berber home I visited makes me realise how lucky we are in England, and how much we take our easy life for granted! This is their oven, here is where they cook all the family meals. Having to bend down to ground level to cook would kill my back as a start, and I am so used to being able to flick on a...

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  • Flour Mill

    We were able to visit a flour mill along the side of the road, where they use the fast flowing melted ice water in the irrigation channels to power the mill. It is very traditional and simple, but works well, and that is all that matters.

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Atlas Warnings and Dangers

  • Beware the road!

    If you drive from Marrakesch to Ouarzazate you have to pass through the Atlas. The road is steep and narrow, with no protection at its edge, and sometimes you have absolutely the feeling of driving over the hell. Be very careful and beware also of vehicles coming the other direction.

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  • No banks after Marrakech

    In our hurry to leave Marrakech we forgot to go to the bank to get more money. We assumed we'd find an ATM at Asni or Imlil. However, when we got here there were none and we were face with surviving on 800 Dh (about 80 Euro) between us for 3 days. Given that accommodation in the refuge was 150Dh a night this would be a real struggle. Luckily, we...

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  • Access to Water in the Mountains

    Water is scarce and expensive in the Atlas mountains. For example a bottle of water at the Toubkal refuge will cost you 12 Dh compared to the normal price of 5Dh in Imlil. Hence, it might make sense to stock up before you leave Imlil, though you do have to carry more in this case. Also, if the refuge is busy the bottled water quickly runs out and...

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Atlas What to Pack

  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    by barryg23 Updated Apr 23, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: If you forego hiring a porter and mules and decide instead to carry your own stuff in the Atlas mountains, the obvious constraint is weight. We carried one large ruck sack and one smaller one between us and it made the climb from Imlil to the Toubkal refuge very difficult. Make sure you only bring what's absolutely essential.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 1. Crampons are necessary between November and May. You can check with the guys at the friendly CAF refuge in Imlil about what gear to take/hire.

    2. Hiking boots are essential.

    3. Ice-axes are not necessary from April onwards. Many people had them on the day of our climb but they are only useful if you slip or if you want to slow down when sliding down hills on the descent. In winter they are probably necessary. Again, check in Imlil.

    4. A waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers are useful but not essential.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toilet paper is on sale in the refuge but it's helpful to bring your own anyway. Aspirin or paracetamol is useful. Also, you might want iodine tablets for purifying water as water is scarce and expensive in the Atlas.

    As the sun is very strong at the higher altitudes in the Atlas, sun cream is essential. I stupidly left mine in Imlil so for two days I got badly burned on my face, especially my nose which was bright red by the time we returned to Imlil. A hat and sunglasses are also very useful.

    Photo Equipment: Batteries will run down quicker in the cold temperatures in the mountains and there is nowhere to recharge them so make sure you bring enough spares to last as long as you need. The scenery in the mountains is excellent though we took fewer photos than planned, especially at altitude. When every step was hurting taking pictures is the last thing on your mind.

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Atlas Off The Beaten Path

  • Settat

    We stop for lunch in the small town of Settat - a modern, non-descript city. There is a lovely green area in the centre of town in front of the Hotel du Ville (Town Hall), where we can take a pleasant stroll after your lunch. There is grass, aplm trees and flowers, and people out enjoying the sunshine.

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  • Telouet & Beyond

    If you carry on the road through Telouet and beyond, you come to several stunning hidden villages. Stop at the first one you come to (about 10 miles after Telouet) and you can do a stunning walk up into the mountains through several more villages.

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  • Atlas Hotels

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Atlas Sports & Outdoors

  • Hiring Crampons for Toubkal

    If you climb Toubkal in winter or spring you’ll need crampons. You should always double check the latest conditions for Toubkal before you head off but a useful rule of thumb is that the winter snowline is at Sidi Charamouch (2300m altitude) while the spring snow line is at the level of the Toubkal refuge (3207m). Ice-axes are not essential in...

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  • Camel riding

    We stopped by the side of the road to photograph a very cute white baby camel, and were immediately offered camel rides. For a charge of course. They had no saddles, so you had to ride bareback. David was th only one who tried, and he said it was easier than it looked.

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Atlas Favorites

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  • Reaching the summit of Toubkal

    I think my fondest memory of our time in the Atlas mountains was reaching the summit of Jebel Toubkal. Toubkal is the highest mountain in Morocco and at 4167 metres it is the highest point to which I have hiked. It had been a very tough 5 hours from the refuge to the summit so to finally make it to the top was quite a thrill, not to mention a big...

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  • Baby camel

    One of my very happy memories from the Atlas Mountains, was seeing a really cute baby camel at the side of the road. There were also sheep and goats all along, but I really took to this lovely little fellah.

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  • What a mixture

    One of the strangest things I saw, was a nice, tropical palm tree in the foreground with a majestic, snow-capped mountain in the background. This juxtapositioning was to me absolutely incredulous. How can this be?

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Explore Deeper into Atlas
Ridge Below Toubkal
Warnings and Dangers
Acclimatise Properly
Warnings and Dangers
This could be upsetting
Warnings and Dangers
Life along the road
Favorites
Berber Market
Things to Do
Visit a local home
Favorites
Visit a flour mill
Things to Do
Dip your feet in the icy waters
Things to Do
Watch for those corners
Warnings and Dangers
Friendly Berbers
Local Customs
Glaoui Kasbah
Things to Do
Map of Atlas

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