Day 1: Drive from Marrakech to Imlil – Trek to Toubkal Refuge via Aremd & the Mizane Valley
Leaving the city behind we drive south today, towards the craggy peaks and plunging valleys of the Toubkal Massif. Crossing the Haouz Plain we pass through the tiny town of Asni, from where our road begins to climb towards the foothills of the Massif. Below us the valley of the Oued Rhirhi stretches out into the distance and small villages cling to the sides of the steep hills as we meander our way towards the village of Imlil. Here we leave our vehicle and, in the company of our mountain guide, begin our trek, heading along the Mizane Valley, first towards the village of Aremd and then onto the shrine of Sidi Chamharouch. Built on a moraine spur overlooking the valley floor, Aremd is the largest village in the valley and provides an interesting mix of traditional terraced farming, gites and streets that seem to be permanently gridlocked by goats and cattle. For generations the local Berber villagers have worked these lands, producing corn, potatoes and walnuts from the harsh landscape. Continuing east and crossing the flood plain our route takes us along mule tracks and up into the high rocky cliffs above the valley. Crossing the river we eventually come to the pastoral shrine of Sidi Chamarouch, which attracts tourists and pilgrims alike (although only Muslims are allowed to cross the stone bridge to visit the marabout shrine itself). The village sits besides a small waterfall, a jumbled cluster of houses that seem to melt together into an anarchic mass. From here the trail continues to climb steadily, snaking and zigzagging its way up to the snowline and the Toukbal Refuge (3206m), our stop for the night. (HB)
Approx 5hrs walking.
Day 2: Trek to summit of Jebel Toubkal(4168m); return to Imlil
Early this morning we make our attempt on the summit of Toukbal Mount, the highest peak in Northern Africa. Our route takes us up the south cirque, crossing the stream above the refuge and then heading across one of the mountains numerous scree fields, where we will have to negotiable a seemingly endless carpet of boulders and rocks. The walking is relatively straightforward, but the scree and the altitude will make the going quite difficult in parts, however, the views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile. Cresting the ridgeline we find ourselves on the plateau, from where it is a short walk to the summit and the vistas out across the surrounding landscape are quite breathtaking. From here there are unrestricted views in every direction, from the Marrakesh Plain to the High Atlas in the north and as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. Pliny, the great Roman scholar, once described the High Atlas Mountains as “the most fabulous mountains in all of Africa” and from our vantage point high above the valley it is easy to understand why. Retracing our steps we then return down the mountain and head back towards Imlil. overnight in Imlil. (HB)
Day 3: Imlil – Tizi n’Tichka – Skoura – Rose Valley – Dades Valley
After breakfast, we will drive from Imlil over the High Atlas Mountains through the Tizi N’Tichka Pass. Spectacular views over the valleys and the Berber villages perched on the mountainsides, sometimes barely distinguishable from the mountains themselves. The road continues along the Ounila valley, past beautiful, prosperous villages. We will follow it to Skoura Oasis, the location of numerous ancient kasbahs. From here, the road reaches Kelaat M’Gouna, the fortress of M’goun valley. Then to the valley of roses, through a larg group of ruined Kasbahs whose lavish decoration can still be appreciated. Overnight in Dades valley. (HB)
Day 4: Dades Valley – Todra gorges – Rissani – Ziz Oases – Merzouga
After breakfast, we check out, then drive to tinghir, a former military outpost standing on the banks of the Oued Todra, where olives, pomegranate and orange trees grown. The road through the Todra gorges follows the right bank of the river, which covered with palm trees, is one of the most beautiful oases in Morocco, we drive farther east to the narrowest and most spectacular section of the gorges, here, we will have time to wander in the narrow corridor towered by walls of rock. In the afternoon we leave for Erfoud by crossing the palm grove of Tinjdad and Touroug. Visit to a workshop production of marble fossils. Then its straight to the impressive town of Merzouga with. Here all unnecessary luggages can be left in safe rooms at the hotel. The one hour and a half camel trek will take us to a Berber camp in the middle of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, some rising of 820 feet), the highest in North Africa. The camp consists of three comfortable Berber tents equipped with mattresses, linen, toilets, a restaurant, and a kitchen. The evening will consist shooting stars show, then dinner followed by a traditional music show and overnight in a nomad camp in tents. (HB)
Day 5: Merzouga Culture and traditions – Tea with Nomads!
Wake to a desert sunrise and then return to the Hotel by camel. You will then have a chance to freshen up with a shpwer and enjoy a breakfast. After breakfast, relax for an hour or two, then go in 4 WD off-road tour around the dunes via the oasis of Merzouga, the nomadic depository, Khamlia village to visit the Gnawa Black people’s village, originally slaves brought from black africa, to listen to their spiritual music, then continue to meet desert nomads in their tents, and discover a new sense of life. Not far away there’s the lake of Merzouga, with its bird populations (Seasonal lake), you’ll leave for Rissani. Once called Sijilmassa, this was the meeting place for the salt caravans, coming from Timbuktu in Mali. Here you’ll walk through the souk, selling spices, vegetables and cloths. After a lunch pizza in Rissani you will travel back to your amazing Kasbah hotel at edge of the golden sand dunes, relax beside the swimming pool, at night you will meet a desert blues band live show. (HB)
Day 6: Merzouga – Rissani – N’kob – Tazarine – Draa Valley – Agadez – Ouarzazate
Shower and breakfast. Morning departure to Ouarzazate on a different road via Rissani. We pass through Alnif, N’kob, the capital village of the Berber Ait Atta tribe, where we will stop for lunch in a traditional Kasbah with an amazing panoramic view. As far we will cross the Draa Valley one of the biggest valleys in Morocco, big with it’s huge member of palm trees. We arrive to Agdez, the old caravan route linking Marrakech to Timbuktu . We head to Ouarzazate therough Tizi-n-Tinfifite pass to Ouarzazate, where you can visit the filmmaking studios, there we can travel along the huge history of filmmaking industry in Hollywood of Africa. (HB)
Day 7: Ouarzazate – Ait Benhaddou – Atlas Mountains – Marrakech
After breakfast, we will visit the cinematography museum of Ouarzazate, Kasbah of Taourirt and the Atlas Studios, the largest and most famous film studio in Africa., walking in the footsteps of many famous actors. The road then continues back along the Ounila valley, with stunning mountains and views of traditional Berber architecture. Driving north, we will leave the main road and follow a smaller road to visit Ait Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Carry on then across the Tichka pass, we can enjoy lunch in the mountains, and will be back in Marrakech by the evening (late afternoon), our guide will walk with you along the narrow streets of Marrakech to make sure you get to your Riad / Hotel.
• Transportation / Fuel / Driver : 7 days Air-conditioned 4WD vehicle(s), mini bus or motorcoach.
• Guidance: Services of a qualified fluent multi-language guide.
• Comprehensive sightseeing including guidance.
• 5 nights Accommodation in well recommended hotels / Kasbahs / Riads (HB)
• One night in a Traditional Berber Tents (HB).
• Camel Ride (Camel per each individual)
• Breakfast and dinner daily
• Sand boarding (Free & Optional)
• Traditional Music live show
• Drinks and personal items