Atlas Mountain Trek, Morocco

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  • Atlas Mountain Trek, Morocco
  • Tom B
    Member

    ….specifically a multi day trek that takes in the summit of Toubkal. Has anyone done one? If so, what guide did you use? Are the local companies okay? They’re about 75% cheaper than the likes of exodus!!!

    I’ve just booked flight to Marrakesh for end of May next year and will be there for 7days. Hoping to do 4/5 days in the mountains then a day in Marrakesh…..any advice/experiences would be great.

    jaylittle
    Member

    Did this in the summer however it was an organised school trip so all was pre arranged through a UK company. Spent 2 weeks in Morocco in total. Great experience. Did a few days on the coast at Essaouira which was a great place for R&R.

    latham2104
    Member

    Went years 18 ago, and just did it of our own back.

    Got a taxi from Marakesh to Asni, and then arranged a trip on the back of a grain truck up to Imlil. The roads from Asni to Imlil when I went were like something out of a “road from hell” programming with shear drops and crumbling road surface…brilliant pearched on top of tonnes of grain!! The road may well be surfaced now so a taxi direct from Marrakesh to Imlil maybe quicker, but definatley not as much fun.

    Once in Imlil, we arranged a quide to take us up to the bothy at the foot of Toubkal. Nice trek up there and then he guided us up to the summit.

    Once done, went back down to Imlil before trekking over to Setti Fatma without a guide. Stayed in Berber villages and they were so welcoming and let us kip in their houses (or cattle sheds). Fed and watered us for a few dirhams and their tagines are much better than on the high street!

    TheDTs
    Member

    Yes, wife and I did it several years ago. Independent, we were in the first Ryan Air from Bristol to Marakesh, welcoming committee. And everything when we arrived.

    We had a guide and muleteer along with Muffin (the Mule) and us so we weren’t in a big group.

    It was a brilliant trek, stayed in local homes and the mountain hut on Toubkal.
    We did it in September, the snow had arrived early so we were ice axe and crampons from the hut to the top.

    We used Imil Mountain trek I think, he was great, picked us up from our Rhiad in a taxi and brought us back.
    We had a great holiday, a couple of days in Marakesh, 4 days walking, 3 nights in various places, one village was getting electricity for the first time the week after we left.

    Depending on the time of year, it can be a proper mountain expedition, we had way more snow than we expected.

    jaylittle
    Member

    Would love to do it in the winter. Came across patches of snow in july but nothing major. The road from hell has been surfaced but does suffer from landslides.

    TheDTs
    Member

    It was great, seriously cold though. My wife and I had a whole dorm to ourselves in the mountain hut and it was sooooo cold. All the guides were in the downstairs room with the wood burner and were warm as toast. I had every item of clothing on including a down jacket inside a 3 season down down sleeping bag and was still cold!

    jaylittle
    Member

    We were tenting it out front of the refuge and temps did really drop once the sun went down, also had a few hailstorms but would love to experience it in the winter (he says whilst sat on the sofa with the fire on).

    scotroutes
    Member

    My Missus did it with Exodus (she’d already done Everest Base Camp trek with them). As a solo traveller, it works out to be well organised, safe and friendly. She really enjoyed it, though she did feel that one of the guides was a bit “jaded”. It was at the end of April and, though there were patches of snow, she didn’t complain about the temperatures. She normally feels it quite cold when I’m warm so take that as you want.

    loddrik
    Member

    But what about ISIS? I heard that they had taken over Morocco and beheaded anyone who climbs mountains on account of them not wanting anyone to get closer to God than them.

    You have been warned…

    wl
    Member

    Did a two-nighter from Imlil (but no Toubkal) arranged by email with local company we found online. Can’t remember the company’s name but they were great. Personally, I’d sack Exodus and fix it up direct after doing a spot of research.

    Trimix
    Member

    loddrik – Id not worry about that, you can tell them a mile off, the look shifty so they are easy to avoid.

    atlaz
    Member

    Trimix – problem is, all foreigners look shifty

    jambalaya
    Member

    OP just to add I think you’re doing the right thing by focusing on the trek with just a day (or two) in Marrakesh. We went in January and it was 70 degrees on the coast (Essouria) and in Marrakesh and the mountains had a decent amount of fresh snow 🙂 whilst Marrakesh is an assault on the senses the mountains are stunning with a mix of greenery and apple orchards and barren red rock.

    @loddrick I know your post is an attempted wind up but Tunisia was considered safe until it wasn’t. I was in Morocco last year and would go back. However, there is an undercurrent in Casablanca for sure with recent demonstrations against Jews and staging mock executions link

    TheDTs
    Member

    Also would say that a day or two in Marrakesh is plenty.
    It does get right on your wick after that.
    Even the French, who are still there, are more French than the French, if you know what I mean. We had a proper hair dryer treatment from a French restaurant owner in the middle of his restaurant, when I didn’t tip!

    It was quite comical, a bit like a Monty Python sketch.

    jambalaya
    Member

    We had a proper hair dryer treatment from a French restaurant owner in the middle of his restaurant, when I didn’t tip!

    @TheDTs for next time make sure yiu tell him in no uncertain terms that the French don’t really tip, as far as they are concerned the service is always included. My wife is French and she will regularly leave just €2-3 on a €100 bill and that’s only if the people are nice. I’m always a it embarrassed being used to the US/UK model but the staff are always thankful.

    TheDTs
    Member

    He wouldn’t have listened to the Pope if he had come in at the same time. He was properly cross, apoplectic type ranting.

    atlaz
    Member

    I’m always a it embarrassed being used to the US/UK model but the staff are always thankful.

    Yep, these days in France you actually tip the person so a few euros in their pocket is a nice thank you rather than insulting.

    Tom B
    Member

    Cheers for the replies folks.

    Any recommendations of a riad for a day or two in Marrakech prior to heading to the mountains?

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Hotel Foucauld, simple, well placed, fuss free. Close to the Tazi for a cheeky beer.

    schrickvr6
    Member

    Dar Zemrane is nice, reasonably priced and really well located. It’s a five minute walk from the Jma El Fna, a minute from the souks but out of the madness and right next to the local hole in the wall eateries.

    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g293734-d1490228-Reviews-Dar_Zemrane-Marrakech_Marrakech_Tensift_El_Haouz_Region.html

    Did a winter ascent of Toubkal 5 years ago. Really enjoyed it, great views at over 4000m. Didn’t use a guide just hiked up to the refuge from Imlil. Spent the night – prob the most miserable and cold refuge I’ve ever stayed in. Did the ascent early nxt day.

    Really you DO NOT need a guide!! Forget Exodus – adventure holidays for the unadventurous. Just follow the well beaten track – it’s like the M1, can’t miss it. That plus there’ll be hundreds of other people doing it as well. Make sure you’ve got a ice axe and crampons and know how to use them. Also a couple of nights in Imlil beforehand to acclimatise to the alltitude.

    Really it’s one of the easiest 4000m peaks you can do. I took my 14 year old nephew with me. He had no probs.

    i spent 3 weeks wandering the atlas about 15 yrs ago.
    we didnt go up toubkal, due to unseasonal snow, but to be honest i probably wouldnt have anyway.
    in fact once we had found a guide with a mule we got him to take us immediately away from all that tourist stuff. think we paid the guide 200 euro and so little on food and board staying with families that i cant even remember
    it was and still is the most amazing place ive ever been and the friendliest happiest people ive ever spent time with.
    no electricity, no litter, no chatter for multiple glorious weeks. it was like stepping back in time a few hundred years.

    i bet its all ruined now though 😆

    edit; oh, i got a cracking dose of dysentery and shit myself in front of a policeman as i was coming down out of the mountains- don’t drink shepherd’s mint tea at altitude

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