Spend 6 days hiking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The unspoilt beauty of the Ourika Valley, which is home to the famous Berber tribes of Africa, is best explored on-foot.
Your trail will lead you through olive groves, terraced fields and thundering waterfalls, you will stop amidst the beautiful scenery to enjoy a picnics in a Berber villages. Get a better insight into the local culture as you stay in a Moroccan style Berber home in the village of Timichi and in Tinoughar, see women at work, groves of almond and walnut trees and centuries-old terraced irrigated fields.
Brace yourself for a steep climb to the highest peak in the Maghreb from where you can enjoy splendid views of the Atlas Mountains. This exhilarating tour shows you a side of Morocco which many tourists never see.
Day 1 : MARRAKECH - SETTI FADMA - TIMICHI
You will be picked up from your hotel in Marrakech at 0800h (8am). Travel in a private car accompanied by a guide. You will pass through one of Morocco’s longest and most beautiful, refreshing valleys - the Ourika Valley - teeming with lush vegetation and Berber hamlets.
The first hamlet we reach is a small Berber village of Dar Caïd Ouriki, with its kasbah and mosque. We also pass through Tiguemi n’Oumzilet, the ochre-red village of Akhlij where we will stops and the Berber hamlets of Asouqane and Aghbalou. Leaving this valley we carry on until we reach the riverside Berber hamlet of Setti Fadma.
It is here that we will leave our vehicle and meet up with our Berber crew, to start our half day hike at a relatively easy pace. Our route will zigzag up the ever-narrowing riverside, taking us to a height of 500m where we will find a charming Berber village perched atop a huge, rocky buttress.
Having taken a break for a picnic amidst surprising surroundings, we continue on up to the multi-layered terraced village of Timichi (1900m) for our dinner and overnight accommodation in a Berber family home. Should there be time, you can take a looping hike to visit the several Berber villages located around the hill.
Day 2: TIMICHI - TACHEDDIRT - TIZI n’EDDI - OUKAÏMEDEN
After breakfast we set out for a walk along the green and vegetated to arrive at the Tizi n’Tacheddirt (3616m). Here we will enjoy a picnic in a setting which gives us spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
We start our descent through green terraced irrigated plots for further three hours until we reach the Berber village of Tacheddirt. From here we set out northwards to Tizi n’Eddi (2928m), to follow the ridge down the Oukaïmeden trail. The hike downhill takes around 3 hours and will bring us to our camp and dinner at Tizi n’Ouaättar Oukaïmeden (3000m).
Day 3: OUKAïMEDEN - ASRTEQ - TIDILI - ARG
Today you set out in an eastwardly direction via zigzagging mule tracks down to the village of Asrteq (2200m), the last Berber dwelling in a stony corridor leading to the village of Tidili. Here we shall stop for a picnic prior to setting down on a long hike to the Berber village of Tinoughar, where we should see women herding cattle, centuries-old terraced irrigated fields and laughing children. From here we shall take a narrow, winding path down to the unique terraced village of Arg (1560m) to set up camp, after some 7 hours walking through impressive countryside and our welcome dinner.
Day 4: ARG - IMLIL
Set off after breakfast in a north-westerly direction up along a newly-opened piste through groves of almond trees of the Assif lmenane Valley. En-route we pass through the Berber village of Amskrou (Amskere) (1707m), to arrive at the village of lkiss (1740m) where we shall stop for a picnic amidst groves of almond trees growing along a river bank.
In the afternoon we continue an afternoon hike up to the opposite side of the valley to cross through the Tizi n’Aguerssiouâl (1900m) and descend along the lmlil River to enjoy the view of the red-ochre village of Mattat. Further on we reach the village Taddert (1610m), it is here that we will stay overnight, enjoy dinner and a welcome hot shower in the Gïte d’étape of our senior guide, Mohammed Aït ldar.
Day 5: IMLIL - AROUMD - SIDI CHAMHAROUCH - TOUBKAL REFUGE
After breakfast, we set out for about 4kms towards the south, up to the Berber villages of Aroumd (Aremd) (1843m) Taourirt, Targa, and lmoula. The route will take us up and down the stark slopes, all the time with the magnificent Western High Atlas peaks of the Toubkal Massif immediately before us. We shall stop at Aroumd to visit this rather singular village in the Assif n’Aït Mizane Valley, built seemingly house upon house on a large moraine spur, overlooking ancient irrigated terraced fields of fruit trees and vegetables.
We carry on for a further 8kms to the equally-quaint village of Sidi Chamharouch, a Berber village set beside a waterfall and small stream, again with its pisé homes seemingly built somewhat chaotically one into another. We take a break for a picnic, with a full view of mighty Jbel Toubkal, at 4167m the highest peak in the Maghreb. Our last hike of the day takes us to the Toubkal Refuge for our dinner, and either our overnight campsite or overnight accommodation in the Refuge.
Day 6: TOUBKAL REFUGE - SUMMIT JBEL TOUBKAL - SIDI CHAMHAROUCH - AROUMD - IMLIL - MARRAKECH
After a early breakfast, witness the spectacular sunrise and set off on a 3 hour steep climb which will take us to the highest peak in the Maghreb (4167m). You will have plenty of time to enjoy the view before taking the lkkhibi Sud or South Cirque for a straightforward 2 to 3 hour descent back to the Refuge for a picnic.
Once refreshed we shall now set off towards the north along steeply descending, zigzagging trails of the higher slopes of the Valley of the Assif n’lsouhouanem n’Ouagounss towards the Berber village of Sidi Chamharouch (3106m). On leaving the village, we shall notice a tree, sacred to the local Berbers, where they hang strips of coloured cloth and pile up stones. We descend high above the valley of the Assif Mizane, down zigzagging trails around granite and basalt grey rocks back to the village of Aroumd (Aremd) (1840m), built on a spur of rock commanding one of the more fertile valleys of the High Atlas mountains with terraced, irrigated plots and fields of maize, onions and fruit trees on all sides.
Here we shall stop for our picnic, before commencing the final part of the tour. Walk along the floor of the valley, then up a well-defined mule track zigzagging above the river to arrive in the Berber village of lmlil (1740m), with its paths and streams branching off in all directions. Here we will enjoy a hot shower and a glass of mint tea before our vehicle arrives to take us back to Marrakech.
The difficulty level of the hike ranges from one to two (Boot)Please call the local activity operator at least 24 hours prior to the start of the tour to confirm the departure details.
On all hikes over 24 hours hire of portaloo chemical toilet per day 275 Moroccan Dirham
Please ensure, at time of reservation, you advise us of your choice between bivouac or Toubkal Refuge accommodation, as the Refuge can get crowded out with last-minute hikers.
In the event of bivouacking vice overnighting in the Refuge, the price should be reduced by £8 per person per night.
Vegetarians need to pre-advise at time of reservation.