Welcome for hiking in atlas mountains,
DAY 1: MARRAKECH – IMLIL – AROUMD – SIDI CHAMHAROUCH – TOUBKAL REFUGE.
Departure by private car from Marrakech around 9 in the morning for exhilarating 2hour drive south up over gorges and high passes to the Berber town of Imlil (1740m), known as Morocco’s ‚Little Chamonix‘, set in the upper level foothills of the Western High Atlas mountains, a main trailhead with mule paths branching out in all directions.
Here we shall leave our vehicle to strike out for some 4km. towards the south up to the Berber village of Aroumd (Aremd) (1843m) and the hamlets of Taourirt, Targa, and Imoula, up and down the stark slopes, the magnificent Western High Atlas peaks of the Toubkal Massif immediately before us. We shall stop at Aroumd to visit this rather singular village in the Assif Aït Mizane Valley, built seemingly house upon house on a large moraine spur, overlooking ancient irrigated terraced fields of fruit trees and vegetables.
We thence carry on for a further 8km. to the equally-quaint village of Sidi Chamharouch, a Berber village set beside a waterfall and small stream, again with its pisé homes seemingly built somewhat chaotically one into another. This village is a place of pilgrimage for devout Moslems and it is where there is a marabout shrine – forbidden to non-Moslems and said to be a relic of a pre-Islamic religious cult. We take a break for a picnic, within full view of mighty Jbel Toubkal, at 4167m the highest peak in the Maghreb, prior to setting off up to the Toubkal Refuge for our dinner, and overnight accommodation in the Refuge.
DAY 2: TOUBKAL REFUGE – SUMMIT JBEL TOUBKAL – SIDI CHAMHAROUCH – AROUMD – IMLIL – MARRAKECH.
A very early breakfast to set out around 6am, to attain, after a three hour non-technical but steep climb, the highest peak in the Maghreb (4167m). The panorama from here is simply stunning. This remarkable climb and view is what you have come so far for. The first recorded climb of this peak, in 1923, was made by the French mountaineers V. Berger, M. Doubleau and the Marquis de Segonzae; many serious trekkers since then have made the highly rewardable effort.
Day 2 of this hike can be very long and if possible we would recommend taking the three day option for the climb of Mt Toubkal to truly enjoy the experience.
Whenever you are ready, we shall take the Ikkhibi Sud or South Cirque for a straightforward – with your guide – 2 to 3 hour descent back to the Refuge for our picnic. We shall now set off towards the north along steeply descending, zigzagging trails of the higher slopes of the Valley of the Assif n’Isouhouanem n’Ouagounss towards the Berber village of Sidi Chamharouch (3106m). Before entering the village, we shall notice a tree, sacred to the local Berbers, on which they hang strips of coloured cloth and pile up stones around the trunk. We descend high above the valley of the Assif Aït Mizane, down zigzagging trails around granite and basalt grey rocks for about 8km to the remarkable village of Aroumd (Aremd) (1840m), commanding one of the more fertile valleys of the High Atlas mountains with terraced, irrigated plots and fields of maize, onions and fruit trees on all sides.
Here we shall stop for our picnic prior to continuing on along the floor of the valley, thence up a well-defined mule track zig-zagging above the river for some 4km. to arrive, at around 5 in the evening, after a long day’s activity, back at the Berber village of Imlil and a welcome glass, or two, of mint tea in the home of our senior guide Mohammed Aït Idar prior to your return to Marrakech and arrival around 7pm.