Trekking Toubkal National Park
The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It stretches around 2,500 km through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,167 meters in southwestern Morocco. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert and the northern rolling Middle Atlas and Rif Mountains. The Atlas Mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations.
The mountains are home to several plant and animal species unique in Africa, often more like those of Europe; many of them are endangered and some have already gone extinct. Examples include the Barbary macaque, the Atlas bear (Africa's only native bear; now extinct), the Barbary leopard, the Barbary stag, Barbary sheep, the Barbary lion (extinct in the wild), the Atlas Mountain badger, the North African elephant (extinct), the North African aurochs (extinct), Cuvier's gazelle, the Northern bald ibis, dippers, the Atlas mountain viper, the Atlas cedar, the European black pine, and the Algerian oak.
Trekking in the Atlas Mountains take you to very remote places with amazing. Weird geology and weather and a colorful local population make the Atlas one of the world's great trekking environments. In theory it can be hiked all year long. Trekkers should prepare for not only the time of year they’ll be trekking, but essentially, plan and prepare for all sorts of possible weather patterns that could come through. Each season brings its own flavor. In summer the sun is so intense. In winter time it snows a lot, while in spring and fall it becomes freezing with a risk of floods in valleys, gorges and canyons. This weather and land characteristics demand hiring local expertise to conquer this fascinating destination.
On arrival to Marrakech, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel/Riad. Once you have settled in and after your Guide briefing, you will want to experience the famous Djemaa el Fna square. Your first experience of the square is one of a senses explosion; entertainers performing, a myriad of food stalls all lit up with the smells to accompany them, and the general melee of activity. B&B accommodation in a Riad in Marrakesh.
Rise and have your breakfast. After that pickup at your hotel and drive from Marrakesh to the Berber village of Armed in Imlil region. Imlil is the starting point of the hike to Toubkal Mountain summit. A stop in Imlil for lunch and then continue to the village of Armed where you will spend the night in preparation for the following day hike. The drive from Marrakesh to Armed village is about 2hrs.
Upon arrival to Armed, you will enjoy a welcome mint tea offered by the host family. Later, enjoy a local dinner as you get used to the altitude for tomorrow’s ascent to the Toubkal Basecamps. Armed is the largest village in the valley and provides an interesting mix of traditional terraced farming, eco lodge.
Rise very early this morning, have your breakfast and make your way from the village of Armed along the river valley passing by Sidi Charmharouch a dwelling built around a Muslim sanctuary. In this place you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the late afternoon you will arrive at the Toubkal refuge (3207m), or base camp built of stone with a heated common area with a view over the whole region. Dinner and overnight in preparation for tomorrow’s summit.
Rise very early before dawn and head out to the summit of Jebel Toukbal, the highest peak in Northern Africa. This trek is fairly challenging. The rocky climb and return takes most hikers five to seven hours. The gorgeous views along the path make the journey worthwhile. You will find yourself on a plateau, from which stunning views over Marrakesh Plain and the High Atlas, the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. After that you will reach Toubkal summit 4,167 meters. It is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, Anti Atlas, North Africa and the Arab World. It is an ultra-prominent peak located 63 km south of the city of Marrakesh and is a popular destination for climbers. Once you are there enjoy a quick snack while contemplating the gorgeous views and take memorable photos. Later head back down to the basecamp area where you’ll arrive by lunch time. Dinner and overnight in the camp before moving onward to heart of the Atlas Mountains.
Rise and have your breakfast and start your journey to Ifni Lake. Lake Ifni is the largest mountain lake in Morocco and one of the highest with an altitude of 2,295 m. The ideal place for nature lovers and especially trekking. it is located at the bottom of a valley outlined by the peaks of Jebel Toubkal, Ouanoukrim and the dome of Ifni. Dome of Ifni is a mountain within Morocco and is southeast of Jbel Toubkal, west of Tifnoute and south of Tizi n’Imouzzer. Dome of Ifni has an elevation of 3,808 meters. Its banks are steep slopes except to the west where it is bordered by a vast stony plain, a geological formation called glacis. A huge landslide having barred the valley in which it is located gave birth to the lake. The waters of the lake seep into the rock to reappear a few hundred meters below in the valley where its beneficial waters are used for irrigation of the fields.
Today, the lake is mostly visited by tourists. They come to see the emerald waters of this lake sparkling in a mineral high mountain scenery. On occasion, they take advantage of the warmth of their waters to bathe and cool off.
Today’s hike takes you from the Toubkal refuges in the Atlas Mountains up to the Tizi Ouanoums pass (3664m) which offers a view of Ifni lake (2312m), stunning view of Jebel Sargho and Jbel Sirwa . You’ll start today’s initial ascent of Tizi Ouanoums at the head of the Miziane Valley. The path is relatively well graded and zig-zags to the col. It takes around two hours to reach the pass, a narrow gap from which another stunning scenery opens up.
As you begin to descend towards Ifni Lake, the trail becomes much rougher and the descent is challenging. As you continue the climb up the pass becomes one of the hardest climbs in the entire Atlas range. Two to three hours later you’ll come into the Assif N’Moursaine offering lovely views until you reach the peaceful Ifni Lake (2312m), completely surrounded by mountains and what appear to be collapsed hills. Here we shall picnic by the lake as camp is being set up and our evening meal prepared. The waters of the lake are cold and deep, you may be tempted by a seasonal dip or by a walk up to the nearby Berber village of Tifnoute, before returning to camp. Dinner and overnight
Breakfast and refreshed, we set off towards along the north side of the lake. Today’s hike is a leisurely hike. From here, you’ll descend a gravel piste towards the village of Ait Igrane. This stunningly fertile valley and have the various villages that truly bring the region to life. The scattered villages eventually bring you to the lovely hamlet of Amsouzart (1797m). In this village you will spend the night with a host family offering decent showers. Dinner and overnight.
Rise and have your breakfast and start your journey Azib Likemt. The journey takes you from the village of Amsouzart to the Tizi N’Ououraine (Tizi N’Ourai) pass (3109m) and down into the Tifni Valley (2600m) where the marked meadows of Azib Likemt await. From Amsouzart, you’ll climb gradually about 4-5 hours. The way to Tizi N’ouraine can be cold and windy.
From the pass, you’ll head sharply downhill to an Azib (shepherd’s hut). Picnic lunch and continue to Assif Tinzart along the riverbed. You’ll climd a small col before entering the Tinfi Valley and to Azib Likemt.
Rise and have your breakfast and head away from the valley of Azib Likemt to the the village of Tacheddirt. It may get cold and windy any day of the year. The ascent lasts about 3 to 4 hours as you make your way to Tizi Likemt at 3600 meters. The challenging walk becomes worthy once you reach the peak where there is no clouds or fog. You will see a gorgeous view of the Imnane valley below. Continue down for 2 to 3 hours to reach the village of Tacheddirt to meet your transport and return to Marrakesh. B&B accommodation in a Riad in Marrakesh.
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