HIGH PASSES, WILD MOUNTAINS AND A STUNNING LAKE IN HIGH ATLAS
During this trekking tour in the heart of High Atlas you will experience the mighty nature of Mount Toubkal National Park. We walk over high and barren mountain passes with impressive views and also through beautiful and secluded valleys. One of the highlights of the trek is the stunning Lake Ifni surrounded by mountain walls falling steeply into the turquoise water.
The tour day by day
Day one: Marrakech – Aremd
The first day we drive about 1,5 hours from Marrakech to the Berber village of Aremd, which is situated at 1 900 meters altitude. Here we will stay one night at the pleasant, welcoming guest house Dar Toubkal while we get ready for our trekking tour.
Day two: Aremd – Tacheddirt – Azib Likemt (6,5 to 7 trekking hours)
After a short drive from Aremd to Tacheddirt we meet up with our trekking team in the impressive Imenane valley. Leaving the valley and the small villages behind, we start walking uphill to the Likemt Pass (3 555 m), a quite strenuous ascent of about 1 150 meters. We follow an old path zigzagging up the mountain slope, where yellow broom bushes glow in the springtime.
Up in the pass we are encircled by mighty rugged and barren mountain ridges and peaks. On the other side of the pass the landscape changes character. The grey stony mountain slopes are replaced by terraced fields where the locals grow their crops. Our campsite the first night is at 2 500 meters in beautiful Azib Likemt, where the Berber people take their animals to graze in the summertime.
Day three: Azib Likemt – Amsouzerte (7 to 7,5 trekking hours)
This leg of our trek offers spectacular views. We begin walking uphill and then descend into a narrow valley where wild and colourful mountains border our path on both sides. Following the little river on the floor of the valley, we might come across some villagers riding their mules to their fields.
Further on, the landscape opens up and we enter into the serene Ouaourega Valley. We climb up high above the valley, where we have fantastic views. A small stream winds its way through the valley and beautifully sculptured mountain slopes rise majestically above.
Soon we reach the Ououraine Pass at 3 120 meters where we are rewarded with a grand panorama of both the Toubkal massif and the Siroua summit and plateau. Far below we can see small patches of cultivated land and tiny villages hunkering under the impressive mountain range. If we are lucky we will spot an eagle or a falcon sailing on the winds above our heads.
Next the path takes us down to lower altitudes and we may meet a herdsman driving his herd of goats and sheep. In the afternoon we reach Amsouzerte Village, situated at 1 790 meters. We stay overnight in the local guest house with a veranda overlooking the river.
Day four: Amsouzerte – Lake Ifni (approx. 4,5 trekking hours)
Today we have a long and quite tough uphill walk ahead of us, but we will be greatly rewarded at the end of the day. We leave the guest house in Amsouzerte behind and walk through villages, past farmhouses and terraced slopes. Along the way, we might stop for a cup of Moroccan mint tea in the shade of an old walnut tree.
The settlements start to thin out and the landscape becomes more and more barren and wild. When approaching the mountain pass, we are again in uninhabited land and we soon enter into Mount Toubkal National Park. At about 2 500 meters in the pass, high above Lake Ifni, we have stunning views of the lake. On its three sides, steep and rugged mountain slopes plumb abruptly into the turquoise water. Lake Ifni is a true gem in the midst of the wildest part of the Toubkal area.
The path tapers down and winds along the mountain side on a narrow ledge high above the shore of the lake. We reach the pebbled beach at the far end of the lake and here in this wonderful place at about 2 300 meters, we spend the night camping. Alternatively, we may choose to sleep inside one of the roofed wind shelters near the shore.
Day five: Lake Ifni – Mount Toubkal base camp (approx. 7,5 trekking hours)
As we let Lake Ifni gradually disappear behind us, we enter into the Moursaine Valley and start climbing uphill. As we ascend, the valley narrows off between the high mountain walls. The climb becomes steeper and the valley more ravine-like.
Vegetation is scarce here and the grazing goats and sheep have to move over large areas in search of food. Here and there we pass small waterfalls. When we reach higher altitudes, we again enjoy fantastic, panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, with the silhouette of Mount Siroua in the distance.
After 1 300 meters uphill from the lake, we reach the Ouanoumss Pass at 3 600 meters. This is the highest point on our trekking tour. We take in the superb views one last time, and afterwards start the long descent on the other side of the mountain. The path zigzags downhill to Mount Toubkal base camp at 3 200 meters, where there are two mountain lodges with camping sites, and here we spend the night.
This place is also the starting point for our climb to the summit of Mount Toubkal, Morocco’s and North Africa’s highest mountain at 4 167 meters. The climb, which is actually more like a strenuous trek, is feasible even for non-climbers who are fit enough.
Day six: Mount Toubkal base camp – Mount Toubkal summit – Aremd – Marrakech (10,5 to 11 trekking hours)
We get up before the break of dawn, have a solid breakfast and then set out in the dark. The trail starts with a steep climb uphill and continues over boulders and scree slopes. The mountain is barren up here, its colours shifting in varying shades of grey.
For a while the terrain flattens out slightly, but soon we are again climbing up a steep part that leads to a mountain crest, and great new views come into sight. For the last strenuous leg of our climb we walk along the crest and all the way up to the top.
At the summit, the 360-degree views of the surrounding Atlas Mountains are breathtaking. Far down in the valley, we can spot the village of Aremd. Weather permitting, we can even view faraway mountain ranges like M’Goun and Siroua.
After a well-deserved rest on the summit we turn around and go back down to the mountain lodge at the base camp. There we enjoy a pleasant lunch break and then descend further to Aremd on the well-beaten path.