Beautiful scenery, accessible summits
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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...more
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.'more
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.
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...more
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...more
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,...more
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.
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...more
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.more
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...more
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...more
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.
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.more
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...more
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...more