Valleys and villages in the heart of High Atlas
This is a trekking tour that takes you through beautiful Berber villages, lush valleys and over spectacular mountain passes in the heartland of High Atlas. Treat yourself to a first-hand experience of nature and culture in the stunning Toubkal area of Morocco.
THE TOUR DAY BY DAY
Day one: Marrakech – Aremd – Tacheddirt (4,5 to 5 trekking hours)
The drive from Marrakech to the Berber village of Aremd takes about 1,5 hours. Aremd is situated at 1 900 meters and is the starting point for our trekking tour. Here we meet up with our mule drivers who will load up the mules for us.
We leave Aremd behind and walk through a forest of walnut trees, passing by several small villages. Our route then takes us upwards through a pine forest to the Tamatert Pass at 2 300 meters. Here a spectacular landscape opens up before us.
As we descend into the wide Imenane Valley where farmers grow their crops, we pass the ancient village of Ouanescra. This is one of the oldest Berber villages in the region. We spend the night in Tacheddirt (2 400 m), which is the highest situated village in High Atlas, with the impressive Likemt massif rising on the other side of the valley.
Day two: Tacheddirt – Matate (6,5 to 7 trekking hours)
Today we start by following the old mule path that crosses the mountain slope and takes us through Berber villages where traditional houses cling to the mountain sides. Daily life goes on here as it has for centuries and we may come across a shepherd or two watching their herds of goats and sheep.
The path descends into the fertile lower parts of the valley and we cross a small stream. Then slowly but surely the climb begins up to the Aguersioual Pass at 2 000 meters. At this altitude vegetation is sparse and the colours of the mountain sides shift beautifully in shades of red, brown and grey. We continue zigzagging downhill and after one last ascent we reach the guest house in Matate (1 800 m), where we spend our second night.
Day three: Matate – Tizi Oussen (4,5 to 5 trekking hours)
The third trekking day takes us uphill to a beautiful, wide plateau where Juniper trees dot the reddish coloured ground. We pass stoned enclosures where the locals keep their animals in summertime and reach the mountain pass Tizi Oudid at 2 200 meters. Here the landscape opens up with a magnificent display of surrounding mountains.
As we begin our descent into the valley small villages appear, embedded in greenery. In the village of Aït Aissa we turn southwards and head for the charming guest house in Tizi Oussen (1 800 m) where we rest for our third night. Those with limited time can continue directly to the guest house Azib Tamsoult instead.
Day four: Tizi Oussen – Azib Tamsoult (approx. 3 trekking hours)
Today we go further on into the magnificent Azadn Valley. The landscape becomes wilder and we do not pass any more villages until the end of our tour. The scenery is spectacular with cultivated terraced slopes surrounded by a backdrop of barren mountains and we take time to stop and savour the natural wonders of the High Atlas.
By lunch time we have arrived at the guest house Azib Tamsoult at 2 250 meters, where we will spend the night. It is beautifully situated in the midst of the terraces, with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. In the afternoon we take a short hike to a waterfall, about a 45-minute climb above the guest house. When we get back, we have time to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this wonderful place.
Day five: Azib Tamsoult – Aremd – Marrakech (approx. 5 trekking hours)
We leave Azib Tamsoult to close the circle and return to Aremd. Today the path starts downwards and then evens out as we walk across a steep and very impressive mountain slope. Our final ascent takes us up to the Mzlk Pass (2 488 m) where beautiful new vistas appear. In the distance we can see the Tamatert Pass which we climbed on our first trekking day.
The last part of our tour takes us steeply downhill again and soon the neighbouring villages of Aremd come into sight. The pleasant, welcoming guest house Dar Toubkal in Aremd is our very last stop and from here we return to Marrakech. From the terrace of the guest house we have an impressive view of Morocco’s and North Africa’s highest mountain Mount Toubkal (4 167 m), which you might be tempted to climb.