Morocco

5 Days Toubkal and Sahara Desert Tour

7

Combine the best views of Morocco, hiking the dramatic summit of Mt Toubkal and road tripping through the Sahara Desert. Get to know the local cultures, enjoying the Berber bakeries in the atlas mountains, and learning to play the Tam Tam drums with the nomads in Merzouga.

Itinerary

Day 1: Marrakech – Imlil – Toubkal Refuge

After an early breakfast at the hotel in Marrakech, at 9AM our driver will pick you up and take you to the heart of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, the trek starts from Imlil (1740m), a small Berber village located at 1740m above the sea level, at 67km on the south west of Marrakech, here you will meet the team who will accompany you during this amazing adventure, the driver will drop you off in the village, the muleteers will deal with your luggage, food & all other equipments that we usually provide for our clients, within half an hour you start the walk with an experienced mountain guide through the Berber villages following a mule track which will take you to the mountain hut via the shrine Sidi Chamhrouch (2500m) where you will have your picnic lunch prepared in advance by our cook, after lunch & a short break, continue towards the refuge (3200m), as the mules walks faster, the muleteers & cook, will pass over & will be waiting for you at the hut or camp, get a tasty mint tea upon arrival while you will enjoying the scenic Mountain surrounded the based camp. The hot shower is available to clean your body and be ready for the next day.Option: the night could be spent on the tent but in summer time.

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Wake up early to avoid the sunny way, breakfast around 5.00am and start the ascent climb at 5.30am, each one of you may need to pack his own pack-lunch, step by step until you get to the point above the hut where you have a short break with nuts, water & oranges etc..After 3h/4h walking up the hill, you will be able to see all the high atlas mountains like a view from the air, stunning view of the green valleys & Berber villages, a break of 45min on the summit will allow to take pictures & enjoy the views before heading down to the hut, a diversify lunch will be ready for you there. After lunch you walk down hill towards Imlil overnight in guest house in berber village.

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We Depart from imlil village at 08h in a modern, air conditioned transportation. We travel over the Atlas mountains, enjoying the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside below and we visit the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou. This journey takes approx 3h. From there, after our break, we continue to Ouarzazate (approx 1 hour or so) for lunch break & Sightseeing. Lunch is available in the local cafe’s. After lunch, we continue along the route of The Dades Valley to reach our guesthouse where we will stay for the night. The guesthouse offers Private ensuite rooms and an evening meal and breakfast are included.

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The next morning we continue along the Dades valley, visiting Dades Gorge, Todra, Todra Gorge and other interesting sites, making our way to Merzouga. At Merzouga we explore the village and meet our Camels who will take us for 1 and a half hours into the Dunes to reach our desert camp at Erg Chebbi. Each person rides their own Camel . The Camel trek is usually just prior to sunset, so that you may enjoy the sun setting over the landscape from the top of the Dunes. Once we arrive at the Desert camp, we are greeted with a cup of delicious hot minty tea and we spend the evening under the stars, on the dunes and beside the warmth of the fireside. We enjoy a locally cooked meal of Tagine or couscous (vegetarians are catered for with vegetable tagine), a drum party and story swapping. The camp has toilet facilities. Those that wish to can sleep directly under the stars, but there are Bivouacs for everyone. The stars in the desert are a great opportunity to see as their are no artificial lights around and you can fully appreciate the glory of the skies above

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Wake up early , just prior to sunrise, we have a 1h30 camel ride at sunrise to explore the area further and we head back to Merzouga on our Camels. When we reach Merzouga, have breakfast & have the opportunity to shower and then we begin our journey through the stony desert and over the Atlas mountains, with plenty of stops for photos, exploring and lunch as we return to Marrakech. The usual arrival time in Marrakech is between 17:00hrs and 18:00hrs.

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7 verified reviews

Rated 5.0
Adam
Adam

Traveled Aug 2022

This is definitely one of the best things to do in Morocco. The climb up Mt. Toubkal was really fun and Mustapha made sure that we had plenty of stops. Once you get to the top the view is beautiful. The trip to the Sahara Desert was also really fun. Mohamed and Mustapha knew all the best places to stop and visit, and where to get the best photos. The Berber Camp in the Sahara desert is also really nice. Both Mohamed and Mustapha were really friendly throughout the trip and even told me the best places to visit in Marrakech. I would highly recommend this package to anyone wanting to experience to different sides of Morocco in a small time frame. Definitely worth every penny.

Steve
Steve

Traveled Jul 2022

Fantastic trip organised via Skyhook. The whole 5 days were very well organised, all by local people. Picked up from my Riad at Marrakech by Hassan who was very informative and kind. We forgot our head torches for the mountain climb and Hassan was kind enough to get two from his home for us to borrow. We then met Mustapha our guide at Imlil for the two day hike up the mountain. Also there was Ilbrahim, our muleteer who took care of our bags for the trip up. Mustapha clearly knew this trek so well and the first day hike to the refuge/ base camp was pleasant with great views, lots of stops for drink. Lunch was made on the mountain by Ilbrahim who created such a lovely meal, displayed like any good restaurant could have done but with minimal cooking equipment on his mule. Amazing and there was always more than enough to eat. The night was spent in base camp, with another huge dinner and a time to relax with other fellow hikers on the same climb. The next morning was an early start (0500 walking start) after a great breakfast provided. The hike up to the summit was about 3-3.5 hours and I have to say was not as easy as I thought it would be. You do need a decent level of fitness and leg strength to get you up. I’m 51 and run regularly and found I had to put a lot of effort in to get there. Mustapha was always there checking to see I was ok and providing lots of breaks and encouragement. I found it quite emotional when I reached the top with my son and it was a moment I will never forget. There was a group hug of me, my son and Mustapha. Lots of photos at the summit and then the long walk back down to Imlil with lunch again in between, provided by the best cook/muleteer Ibrahim in the most scenic of places in the mountains. That night was spent at Mustapha’s family guest house which was clean and comfortable with a great dinner and breakfast provided. Mustapha took us down to a cafe in Imlil to show us this village and his own where we had a drink and watched the life of the village go by. So interesting for someone who has never experienced a Berber village. Day 3 we were picked up by Hassan again and the trip to the desert began. On the way Hassan stopped off to show us a market brimming with people looking to buy a sheep/ goat for Eid. This was an amazing experience. The trip took us to Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate and ending up in Dades Valley. That night was spent in a fantastic Berber family hotel. A great air conditioned room with lovely views of the valley and a fantastic dinner. We were then blessed by the owner and all of his family playing music/songs to just me and my son and Hassan, where we later joined in on the drums. This was a family proud to be Berber and willing to show that they want to share in everything they have and do. The memories of us playing together I will always remember with happiness. The next day we were taken by Hassan to Todra Gorge which was amazing to see. A mini Grand Canyon. A stop off at a woman cooperative for making/selling carpets was next which was ok. There was no obligation to buy but it can be difficult to say no when you are the only customer there. That said my son bought a small rug for £100 which is a lot of money but it will hopefully last a lifetime , is hand made and supports the local people so we were happy to do this. We could have said no if we did not want it. Next was a long drive to Merzouga through a lot of desert. There are a lot of towns/villages on the way and you now feel you are in the desert wilderness. It is a long drive so make sure you purchase a lot of water for the drive. Lunch stop at a restaurant and good value for a 3 course meal for £10. We arrived early at our hotel meeting point to pick up the camels and after a mint tea were gifted the use of the hotels swimming pool. This was amazing and when the temp was around 45-47 degrees was heaven sent. Our bags taken by car to the desert camp we were then transported by camel for a great trek through the desert at sunset. I’ve done a few camel trips in the past, including Cairo pyramids but this was so much better. The staff working the camel trip and camp were very welcoming. Remember it is a tourist attraction but they do so well making you feel you are living in the desert. The camels take you to your camp where we had our own ensuite tent with shower, sink and toilet. We were there at one of the hottest times with the evening temp still around the late 30’s and you need to remember there is no escaping that heat, so be prepared. Hassan will stop at a cooperative for clothing and head scarves enroute where you can buy for the desert if you wish but the scarves were £25 each so might be worth bringing your own if you do not want to spend that amount of money. Evening at the camp consisted of a 3 course meal followed by a drum party by the staff. We were quite tired at this point as it was a long day of travelling and I’m not sure I would recommend this part for young children. It might be easier at cooler times of the year. My son and myself got up early for the sunrise which was good and we then had the choice of the camel ride back (90 mins) or a 15 min 4x4 ride. As we had a long drive back we decided on the 4x4. The drive back to Marrakech was very long (approx 10.5 hours) with a stop for lunch. This was a bit of an endurance in such heat and again I would not recommend this for those who are not prepared to sit in a car for so long in that heat. We did see some sights on the way back of local towns and villages as Hassan took us on a different route so it would be interesting. We finally arrived back in Marrakech for around 1830. A cold shower awaited in our Riad which was much needed. Mustapaha, Ibrahim and Hassan were fantastic. All are Berber (Amazigh) and are so kind and will do anything to make sure the trip is the best they can give. I’m 51 and my son is 20. This was a great trip for us both with so many lifetime memories. One of the main aspects I will take away is the kindness of the Berber people. These are local people trying to make a good living to provide for their families and they will always want to make sure you have the greatest experience. Thanks to Mustapha, Ibrahim and Hassan, we truly did. Highly recommended.

Alexandra
Alexandra

Traveled Jun 2022

The trip was amazing and the scenery did not disappoint. It was very well organised from start to finish and the accommodation was really good. Our mountain guide Omar and our cook were fantastic. Hassan who was our guide and driver was excellent. He was very knowledgable and enthusiastic. I highly recommend this trip and the guides, thanks!

Alyn
Alyn

Traveled Jun 2022

Trip was good. Delivered what was promised. Would recommend

Sebastien
Sebastien

Traveled Jun 2022

The clime was hard and I did not make it. Maybe next year. The desert was amazing I did not have the planed trip to the desert and had to go back to Marrakesh to start. All guides where very nice and helpful. They would do everything to help you. An amazing experience

Jing
Jing

Traveled Feb 2022

I had a wonderful time on this trip, a special thank you to my guides who have showed me the kindness and hospitality of Moroccan and Berber people. Abdullah has 15 years experience as Atlas Mountains guide, he knows every bit of the mountains by heart, assuring all the mountain lovers of a safe and fantastic climbing and summit. The trip to the Sahara was also fantastic, Hassan is not only capable of skilfully managing the long winding mountains roads but also being a great travel guide and escort during the journey to make sure your mind can be set at ease. Mustapha as the main contact for this trip is always on call offering the help in case of any special travelling requirement or contingency during the pandemic. Overall, with “5-star”service experience guaranteed, I would highly recommend this program for either solo female traveller like me who wants to enjoy some quiet time alone away from hustle and bustle of the cities as well as for families and friends who want to experience the peace of nature and unique North African culture.

Owain
Owain

Traveled Nov 2021

My tour was amazing, Mostapha and Abdallah were very hospitable and really gave me a feel for how life was in the mountains. Nothing bad to say about it if I could give the review an extra star I would, great value for money.

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FAQs

Private Transport to and from marrakech & throughout during your trip to the desert

Hotel pick up and drop off

Accomodation on the mountains

All meals during your trek on the mountains

Accomodation in the hotel & in desert tents with half board

experienced & speak English Mountain guide

Crampons and ice axes for winter

Speak English desert driver guide

Mules to carry your bags during the trek on the mountains

Camel ride on the desert

Excluded:

International flights
Tips
Any visa fees (not needed for UK citizens)
Personal travel/rescue insurance

Lunches during the desert trek

Soft Drinks & Water

Tip (optional)

base-layer t-shirts (e.g. running t-shirts)

  • Fleece/soft-shell jacket

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Insulated jacket for warmth, if possible (from e.g. Rab, Alpkit, Mountain Equipment)

  • Underwear

  • Base-layer trousers (optional)

  • Trekking Trosers

  • Waterproof trousers

  • Shorts

 

  • 4 thick wool mountaineering socks

  • Warm Gloves and Hat

  • Walking Boots

If travelling between Nov – Feb, then the weather can be colder. Ensure you bring warmer clothes if travelling then. Temperatures can vary in different regions.

Documents

• Passport

• Visa if applicable

• Travel insurance details

• Boarding passes for flights

• Wallet

• Pen for filling in arrivals form

Conservative Dress

• Long pants 

• Long skirts

• Shirts that cover the shoulders

• Scarf or Shawl for mosque or temple visits

Other Dress

• Underwear & socks

• Sweater or fleece

• Long trousers/Jeans

• Shirts/T-Shirts

• Sleepwear

• Windproof rain jacket

• Shorts

• Swimwear

• Sun hut

Footwear

• Flip flops/sandals

• Relevant footwear (Optional for short hikes)

Bags

• Day bag – For carrying things during the day

• Larger rucksack – For carry all other luggage

Other

• Cash (Moroccan Dirhams)

• Credit/Debit card

• Sleeping bag (Optional but recommended for the winter months)

• Camera (Battery packs and storage)

• Ear plugs

• First aid kit (Optional for personal medication)

• Sunscreen and lip balm

• Headtorch or flashlight

• Padlock/lock for bags

• Money belt

• Plugs and chargers

• Reusable water bottle

• Book/MP3

• Travel towel

• Watch with alarm (You can use the alarm on your phone)

• Sunglasses

• Toiletries

Personal baggage, cooking equipment and food are carried by the mules, leaving you to carry only a rucksack with whatever you need close at hand for the days.
NB : Left luggages or unnecessary luggages can be left safely in our storage in Imlil till you come back from the trek. for the next days to the desert , you will have everything on the car which will go with you all the way

Head torch & spare batteries

  • Power pack - plugs are available in the refuge for charging
  • Camera

Should be dress according to altitude and the environment you will be located in. The most hikers are in high altitude climate in remote area. Therefore, there are often large temperature swings. Temperatures are usually colder at the high altitudes

Meals on the trek are cooked by the Berber muleteers. The food is fresh and healthy. Example meals:

  • Breakfast: Jam, bread, cookies, fruit, juice, butter, coffee, milk
  • Lunch: salad, tomatoes, carrots, lentils, beans, rice or pasta, fish (sardines, tuna), seasonal fruit
  • Dinner: Soup, classic Morooccan tajine, couscous, olives, nuts, fruitCan my dietary requirements be catered to?

    Absolutely. Just let us know about your catering preferences when you confirm your booking to ensure any dietary requirements are met, Please remind as well your guide and cook on first day of the trek.

 Marrakesh, Morocco We meet you and pick up you at any place in Marrakech city. Let us know the details once you reserve your tour

What currency should I take?

The currency used in Morocco is Moroccan Dirham (MAD).

You can take out cash at ATMs in the airport, as well as various locations on the trip. Please check with your bank that your card is accepted in Morocco before travel, and we highly recommend bringing two cards in case you have any issues. 

Please note: your bank may charge transaction fees when you use your card in Morocco. 

Start Time :

We pick up you From your accomdation Hotel/ Raids in marrakech Around 08:30 AM 

If you are closer To Main square we meet in Hotel Ali in the center of Medina Marrakech !

End Time : 

For return you will be dropped back in the main square of the city Or at your hotel in Marrakech.

Trip ending Around 19h00 in Marrakech Jemme El fena Square .

You will follow a sensible acclimatization plan that works well for most participants. This includes regular breaks and a gradual increase in the altitude at which you sleep.

Altitude affects everyone in different ways. However, the key is to mention if you are experiencing any symptoms to your guide (headache/nausea) as soon as you feel them.

Early/late season (Apr– May & Oct)

Temperatures at lower altitudes can reach 26°C, with little chance of rain. The summit can still go as low as -10°C with wind chill.

Summer (Jun – Sep)

June has a higher chance of rain, but still stays warm. July to Sept are the hottest months with temperatures at the lowest altitudes reaching 30 °C. The summit of Toubkal can be as low as -10°C with wind chill. 

The local guides use mules to carry your main bag, so that you can just carry a small bag with water, sun cream and waterproofs whilst trekking.

The muleteers have been trained by a UK-based vet on ethical treatment of the mules. They use modern harnesses and follow strict weight limits.

Merzouga is a village in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m high. Most people are here to take a camel safari into the dunes, and to get a taste of remote tourism-influenced Berber life.

It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, which is in central Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft). The Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' are adrar and adras in some Berber languages

please about the elevation is depends how you feeling in the hike We start from 1800m to base camp ,is in 3125 M spend the night, In the next morning we From base camp to the summit 4167 M and our guide he well look after you if you how do you feeling,on the first day!

The national park encompasses an area of 146.7 square miles (380 sq km). Mount Toubkal is the highlight of the park with the collective High Atlas Mountains attracting hikers and climbers from around the world. The mountain is the tallest in North Africa.

Located 63 km (39 mi) south of the city of Marrakesh, and visible from it, Toubkal is an ultra prominent peak, the highest for over 2,000 km (1,200 mi). For climbers it is "the most popular mountain objective in the Atlas mountains".

Climbing and trekking up the abundance of summits within the High Atlas Mountains of Toubkal National Park is the biggest draw and highlight of the park. The park landscape also presents cliffs, gorges, plateaus, and valleys for visitors to experience and explore. The park also featured prehistoric drawings, but much of that has been defaced.

Your head guide is Mustapha

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Moroccobestvisitis, based in Marrakech.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!

Mustapha