Morocco: High Atlas

Select Experience Tour, Morocco: High AtlasSelect Experience Tour, Morocco: High Atlas

Morocco

High Atlas

overview

If your concept of Morocco is just sand and souks, think again. A stay in an award-winning eco-lodge in the High Atlas Mountains will send you trekking through beautiful oak forests and lush river valleys, past plunging gorges and box canyons. Above you, the sheer faces of the Atlas Mountains stand sentinel over bloom¬ing cherry orchards. And all around, the vibrancy of Berber culture adds a harmonious sweetness to the experience, like the flatbread drizzled with honey and walnuts that you’re served when welcomed into their homes.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
see full itinerary
Meet
Marrakesh, Morocco
Depart
Marrakesh, Morocco
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
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4 days, 3 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Three breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners
  • Accommodations in a mountain eco-lodge
  • 2 1/2 days of treks with an expert, local guide
  • Village association fees
  • Private transportation between Marrakesh and Imlil (and return)
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $0 

*Surcharges may apply for New Year’s, Christmas, or other national holidays

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
High Atlas
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2
High Atlas
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3
High Atlas
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4
High Atlas
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Day 1

High Atlas

Meet in Marrakesh. Transfer to Imlil and the Kasbah du Toubkal. Guided walk from the Kasbah to Achen to Mzig to Imlil; 4-5 miles, moderate

You depart Marrakesh by private mini-coach on a 1½-hour drive to the mountain village of Imlil, the point of departure for most climbers attempting the ascent of Jbel Toubkal—Morocco’s, and North Africa’s, highest peak at 13,655 feet. The tranquility of Berber village life provides the perfect contrast to bustling Marrakesh. Your home for the next three nights is situated in the heart of the Toubkal National Park. From Imlil, footpaths and mule tracks ascend through lush irrigated terraces, apple orchards, and walnut groves to higher villages, where the way of life has changed little for centuries, and traditional values and hospitality are unaffected by the outside world.

Upon reaching Imlil—the mountain-climbing center for the Toubkal region, situated at about 5,700 feet—your luggage is loaded onto a mule, and you walk 15 minutes up to your mountain resort lodge. This “hospitality center” is perched on a great rock outcropping above the village, with panoramic views of the mountains, valleys, and waterfalls, and your Berber hosts welcome you like family.

The staff, from nearby villages, work hard to ensure that your every need is met, and you are greeted with lunch in the Moroccan restaurant or rooftop terrace (weather permitting): fresh bread (baked in the clay ovens in the courtyard below), a typical Moroccan main course such as a stew-like tagine of meat and vegetables, and fresh fruit accompanied by traditional pastries or cookies for dessert. After lunch, a 2- to 3-hour guided walking circuit takes you to the west of the Kasbah through the nearby villages of Achen and Mzig, winding back to your resort through Imlil. Today’s walk is a perfect introduction to the Aït Mizane Valley, a pleasant and tranquil region full of almond, apple, cherry, and walnut trees. In 1996, the village and surrounding peaks were the location of Martin Scorsese’s film biography of the Dalai Lama, “Kundun,” set in Tibet. The village was compensated with a waste disposal system, now self-funded, and in 2004, a hammam (a traditional Turkish steam bath, for villagers only) was constructed after another fundraising initiative and is now an important communal center for residents of Imlil and surrounding villages. In the late afternoon, there is time to settle into your comfortable room. Later, you enjoy dinner, perhaps starting with a delicate lentil and vegetable soup (harira), followed by couscous, accompanied by fresh bread and local olives, and closing with a fresh fruit tart for dessert.

Kasbah du Toubkal

Imlil, Morocco

Designed in traditional style with updated amenities and comforts, the Kasbah is an award-winning mountain eco-lodge. Local Berber culture and staff ensure an authentic experience in style, with stunning mountain views, grounds, and open-air terraces.

Day 2

High Atlas

Transfer to Tizi n’Tamatert Pass in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Tizi n’Tamatert to Tizi n’Aguersioual guided trek circuit; 10 miles, challenging (elevation loss and gain of 3,900 and 3,500 ft., respectively)

This morning, awakening in the high mountain air, you start the day with a filling breakfast of fresh fruit and orange juice, homemade breads and pastries, eggs, and coffee or tea. A full-day guided trek begins with a 15-minute four-wheel-drive jeep climb to the Tizi n’Tamatert mountain pass (7,500 feet), with views of the high stony peaks and green river valleys below. From the ridge, you descend (3,900 feet along a dirt road and rocky trail) into the stunning Imenane (or Imane) valley. You pass the village of Tinerhourhine, where women and children might be out doing laundry in the river, singing and playing. The route then begins an ascent to Ikkiss and Amskere, where you stop for lunch. After this well-earned rest, you then follow a steadily ascending mule path, with several switchbacks, to the pass of Aguersioual (known as Tizi n’Aguersioual). The descent begins on a series of steep switchbacks until reaching the village of Aguersioual. At this point, the route follows a river, crossing smaller streams, and seguias, traditional irrigation canals. Above you are terraced hillsides, lush with walnut groves. Returning by late afternoon to the Kasbah, there is ample time to soak in the bath, relax in the library, or stroll the grounds and terraces before another dinner of local specialties in the inviting dining room.

Kasbah du Toubkal

Imlil, Morocco

Designed in traditional style with updated amenities and comforts, the Kasbah is an award-winning mountain eco-lodge. Local Berber culture and staff ensure an authentic experience in style, with stunning mountain views, grounds, and open-air terraces.

Day 3

High Atlas

Sidi Chamharouch guided trek; 6 miles, moderate to challenging, 1,700-ft. elevation gain and loss. Additional options through Aremd to Targa Imoula and Aït Souka; 2-4 miles, moderate

After breakfast, you embark on a 5-hour (round-trip) guided hike south of the Kasbah to the koubba (or dome) of Sidi Chamharouch, a popular and venerated Berber shrine, departing from the lodge on a trail that leads past the village of Aremd (also seen spelled “Around”), the area’s largest town. Taking the route that zigzags towards Mt. Toubkal, your goal is the Sanctuary of Sidi Chamharouch and the cool waters of its surrounding springs. The trail follows the course of the Reraya River, passing the village of Aremd, and then crosses over and up to the other side of the Aït Mizane valley. Your picnic lunch of fresh-baked bread, cheese, fresh fruit, and cookies might be unpacked en route or upon arrival at the sanctuary. You may cross paths with Berber families who make the trek, often from quite far away, to this site to seek a cure for any sort of health ailment (possibly with a goat in tow to pay for the healing).

The return walk is along the same trail, but this time you stop at the village of Aremd, traversing apple and cherry orchards. In the springtime, blooming irises line the trail and you may be able to pick the occasional cherry from a tree, while in the fall, the apple harvest might be in full swing. Time permitting, you stop for tea and a visit with some local folk taking a break in their daily chores. Aremd, a unique village in the Assif Aït Mizane Valley, has flat-roofed houses seemingly built atop one another, and a prominent location on a spur overlooking ancient terraced fields of barley, corn, and vegetables, and surrounded on all sides by almond and walnut trees. From here, the shorter option returns directly to the Kasbah. For those seeking a longer option, the trail continues past a waterfall and on through neighboring villages to Targa Imoula and ultimately Aït Souka, before looping back to the Kasbah. In the late afternoon, there is time to rest and perhaps restore in the hammam, before gathering for a final savory dinner. On your last night in the High Atlas, you may be inspired to stroll out onto the rooftop terrace to stargaze at an unbelievably clear night sky.

Kasbah du Toubkal

Imlil, Morocco

Designed in traditional style with updated amenities and comforts, the Kasbah is an award-winning mountain eco-lodge. Local Berber culture and staff ensure an authentic experience in style, with stunning mountain views, grounds, and open-air terraces.

Day 4

High Atlas

Depart Kasbah du Toubkal. Easy 15-minute walk to Imlil. Transfer to Marrakesh

On your final morning in this stunning region, while sipping your piping hot coffee on the rooftop deck, you soak in a last view of the surrounding high peaks and valleys. As your luggage is loaded onto mules, you depart on foot for the 15-minute descent to Imlil, where the minibus is waiting to transfer you to Marrakesh for onward connections.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

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