This exiciting school geography expedition will take your group into the heart of Morocco's rugged Atlas Mounatain range, traverrsing passes, steep ridges and lush valleys, where goat herds and traditional villages add some local colour to the natural landscape. We will appreciate the hopsitality and pride of our Berber guides and mule drivers who lead us through their homeland to summit the two highest peaks of the region, Ouanoukrim and Mt Toubkal. At 4167m Mt Toubkal is the highest mountain in North Africa and a challenge for even the fittest trekker. The hike to the summit for both these mountains is challenging but non technical and does not require any mountaineering experience. On a clear day the panoramic views from the summits are very memorable. We will also spend time in the vibrant and ancient city of Marrakech with a guided tour of its religious sites as well as trips to the markets, mosques and museums.
This expedition involves trekking through undulating country, often untracked, for up to six hours a day at a steady pace. To undertake this level of activity you will need a good level of trekking fitness and be sure-footed. Some days involve walking over rugged terrain, including boulders, scree and heavily vegetated ground. As a minimum, we recommend 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise three times a week for three months leading up to your trek.
THIS IS JUST A SAMPLE ITINERARY. IT CAN BE TAILORED TO YOUR REQUIREMENTS.
We will all meet at the airport in Marrakech. Upon arrival you will be greeted by a World Youth Adventures representative and transferred to the group hotel. Depending on your arrival time there may be an opportunity for a quick afternoon walk. Once we have freshened up and checked in we will enjoy a guided tour of this buzzing city. Explore the Bab ed Debbagh (city gate) the Medersa Ben Youssef (school of Islamic Studies), the Ben Youssef Medersa, an Islamic school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to some of the most beautiful art and architecture in Marrakesh. We will then visit the souks and finally the Koutoubia Mosque. We will enjoy a group meal this evening in a local restaurant to sample some delicious Moroccon cuisine, bfore heading out to the amazing Jamaa al Fna, one of the most interesting public spaces in North Africa. The atmosphere of this square is overwhelming with its jumble of food stalls, snake charmers, fortune and storytellers and the wide variety of people that flock to its attractions, with exotic smells of spice and perfume filling the air, today will have hopefully been a great introduction to this wonderful country.
After breakfast this morning we transfer out of the city, south and into the High Atlas Mountain range. After approx. 1 ½ h of driving, we will reach the starting point of our fantastic trek. Here we will meet our team of porters and donkeys where we can sort through our kit and load up for the trek. The challenge begins heading up the side of a beautiful valley, heading gently towards the pass of Tizi n’Addi at an altitude of 2960 m. After a lunch rest we descend to the valley and village of Tacheddirt.
Approx. 4 hrs of walking
After a cup of tea and breakfast we will start today's trekking with a gentle ascent to the top of a ridge to enjoy a splendid view over the Imanene valley, the sun hopefully warming us up as we emerge from the shadow of the valley. From here we descend again - with several up and down sections - into the Imanene valley passing through several typical villages like Tinghourine and Ikkis. We will then ascend some 300 m of altitude to reach the Tizi n'Aguersioual at 2050 m . The final section of the day leads to the village of Aguersioual.
Approx. 5:30 to 6 hrs of walking
In the morning we will cross the Mizane valley to begin a steady but easy ascent to a grazing plateau surrounded with juniper trees. A short climb away is the Tizi n'Oudite pass at 2200 m (approx. 3:30 hrs). After enjoying the views you will descend into the Azzaden valley and walk through a juniper forest. You will soon come across great views out to the colourful villages of Id Aissa, Tizi Zougaghen and Tiziane . You continue your trek up the valley to the village of Id Aissa, notable for its mosque visible throughout the valley, and on to the village of Tizi Oussem.
Approx. 5:30 hrs of walking
After breakfast we will leave Tizi Oussem and head up along the valley of Oussem. Slowly you will ascend up to Azib Iminouatss and follow the trail to the small and narrow pasture of Azib Tamsoult at 2160 m. Before lunch we will have a short visit
to the waterfalls at Ighouliden, before continuing on for a further hour up to Azib Tzikert where the next overnight camp will be. (3-4 hours trekking)
We begin today following a path which will take us through the mountain chains of Aguelzim. It's a zigzag trail that leads up a couloirs for 400m to the first pass. Here a panoramic view to Tizi Oussem and the Haouz plain can be seen spreading out before us. The trail ascends another 100m, before yreaching the 3430m high pass of Tizi Aguelzim (approx. 4 hours of walking). We will have a great view to Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, before descending on the trail – rocky at first - to the Neltner camp (approx. 2 hours of descent). It will be important to get a good nights sleep tonight, ready for the challenging day tomorrow.
Breaking camp before dawn we will make an early start for our attempt on Toubkal, walking around 3-4 hours to the peak (4167m) in the dark to avoid the midday sun and to summit in time for sunrise. First we must traverse long scree slopes; tiring terrain at this altitude but we will proceed slowly to conserve energy. Higher sections are more rocky and there is little vegetation. Once at the summit the views are spectacular, and although wind and cold conditions mean we will not linger long, we have time to enjoy the scenes of surrounding peaks of the Atlas mountains and down to the plains around Marrakesh far in the distance. We then begin the descent back to Neltner camp (3050m), where we will have a late lunch and enjoy a well earned rest after a hard days trekking.
Today will truly test our endurance and is only an option for those who are still feeling strong after climbing Toubkal yesterday. We will climb from Neltner camp up in the direction of Tizi n'Ouanoums, then follow the trail to Tizi n'Ouagane at 3780m. From this pass it is an approx. 30 minutes steep climb up to the ridge of the mountain, from where we follow the ridge to the summit at 4088m. The summit allows for a great panoramic view (if good weather) of the Toubkal summit, Tazararte plateau or even to Anti Atlas and Tizi n'Test region as well as the valley of Souss on a very clear day. We descend via the same route to the Tizi n'Ouagane. From here, if you are feeling fit and well acclimatized, we can climb another optional peak, the Igher n'Abdellai (approx. 1 hour in addition from/to the pass). From this summit we have a good view to the Lac Ifni (mountain Lake). Afterwards we head back to the pass and from here descend to Neltner camp for a well deserved lunch.
Today we descend down the valley, passing again through the deeply religious village of Sidi Chamarouch. This area is also rich in wildflowers, and in spring we’ll find the magnificent Peony Rose. We will also pass herds of goats traversing precarious mountain trails. We trek down to Aremd where we have a late lunch. This afternoon we will have a walk around the village.
This morning we will say farewell to our muleteers and trek the final two hours down to Imlil where we will have lunch. Here we will meet our vehicles who will then drive us back to Marrakesh. After check in the afternoon is free to explore Marrakech, pick up a few last minute souverniers in the markets, or just relax at the hotel after all the fresh air in the Atlas mountains! In the evening we will go out together for dinner to celebrate our expedition and discuss our favourite memories of Morocco.
After breakfast, check out transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Brilliantly organised with a wonderful local crew.
P. Johnson, UNited Kingdom, 16 Oct 2017
Per Person, Twin Share