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 Morocco

Mt Toubkal & Sahara Desert (6-Days)

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Hike North Africa's tallest mountain, and sleep under the stars of the Sahara Desert on this 6-day Moroccan adventure.

Itinerary

Day 1: Pick up in Marrakech and drive to the Atlas Mountains (Imlil)

You will be picked up from Hotel Ali Cafe in Jamaa Elfna Square at 7:30 PM. We'll also make a stop at Menara airport at 8:00 PM to grab the rest of the group.

We then drive to Imlil, which lies at the foot of Mount Toubkal. Our local team will welcome you, and you'll have a freshly prepared dinner and trek briefing.

Accommodation tonight is in triple and quadruple rooms with showers.

Drive time: 1hr 40mins / Driving distance: 64km

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Breakfast is at 7:30 AM. At around 8:30 AM, we begin the trek.

You’ll give your main bag to the muleteers and then hike for 3 hours to the tiny settlement of Sidi Chamharouch. Here your cooks will serve lunch. Fresh orange juice is available to buy from one of the local stores.

Afterwards, you continue hiking for another 3 hours to Toubkal Refuge, which is our accommodation for the night.

Hiking time: 6hrs / Hiking distance: 12km

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Today we get started very early. At around 5:00 AM, you will have breakfast. After this, we begin the hike, taking it slowly and steadily as we make our way upwards.

It takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit of Mt Toubkal (4,167m), which we'll aim to reach at sunrise! You can look down from the snowy summit to the green Anti-Atlas mountains and vast Sahara desert below.

After taking some time to enjoy the views, we’ll head back to Imlil. This is a long, 6-hour trek. The slope is steep and slippery in some sections, but we are soon back down.

Hiking time: 10hrs / Hiking distance: 19km

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After breakfast, we drive towards the south east of Morocco. Along the way, we will visit Ait Benhadou Kasbah, Ouarzazate City, and Rose Valley. By the end of the day, we arrive at Dades gorges, where we spend the night in a hotel.

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Today you'll make your way to the true Sahara Desert. You will be able to hike or ride a camel across the dunes of Merzouga.

In the late afternoon, you'll arrive at your traditional Berber camp in the desert and sleep under the stars.

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Today you will have breakfast at sunrise. It's then time to return from the dunes to the main center. Meet your minibus for a long but spectacular drive back to Marrakech, where your tour ends. We should arrive back in Marrakech by 8:00 PM.

What's Included

Included
  • Airport and in-country transfers.
  • Certified guide and porters for Toubkal trek.
  • All meals during the Toubkal mountain trek.
  • Accommodation in Imlil & Toubkal refuge.
  • Accommodation in Dades Valley hotel (this is in triple and quadruple rooms with dinner and breakfast included).
  • Driver guide for Sahara trip.
  • Accommodation in tent in Merzouga dunes with dinner and breakfast.
  • Mineral water (1.5 L per client per day).
  • Camel ride.
  • Visit of Ait Benhadou Kasbah.
Not Included
  • International and local flights.
  • Lunch meals during the Sahara portion of the trip.
  • Winter climbing equipment (see FAQs for the difference between summer and winter Toubkal climbs).
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Travel insurance.
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

Team Images
Team Images
Team Images

Rated 5.0

35 verified reviews

Alejandro
Alejandro

(Jun 2024)

Nearly perfect. In my opinion, though, the Toubkal would require one more day or, at least, a notice on how demanding is for those unexperienced. Some extra info regarding the services available at Merzouga would be welcome: amenities and food both in the shuttle hotel and the desert camp.

Triin
Triin

(May 2024)

This trip was like a dream! If you've never been to Morocco, this trip is a very good introduction to the country, the culture, the food and the people. The trek to Mt. Toubkal was beautiful. The trek on the second day was technical and slippery, but so memorable to start walking in the darkness and seeing the sunrise over the mountains. When visiting Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou we had a really good guide, who took us around the kasbah and shared interesting facts about the area. Definitely recommend to get a guide! The guest house at Dades Valley was one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed in, a wonderful respite after the spartan conditions of the mountain refuge. The camel ride to and from the desert was a great experience (I didn't know though that it is possible to get motion sickness riding a camel). Be prepared for a long drive back to Marrakech on the last day. It's a beautiful drive but long.

Sandra
Sandra

(May 2024)

The trip was amazing and incredibly well organised. The local guides were so knowledgeable and helpful. Will definitely consider booking another trip with Skyhook in the future!

Venkat
Venkat

(May 2024)

Excellent and Wonderful guides, but unfortunately had to wait till the last minute for information. Pictures don’t do any justice to the trip and the long journey on the last day is very exhausting after the hike and in the heat.

Robert9
Robert9

(May 2024)

Skyhook..welldone! Another superb trip we'll ran we'll organised and overall just great. If I had to write one criticism it would be the slow response to my texts for me to gain real time weather/ kit requirements from the guide over here. Nevertheless, I will book with you again and again. Til next time Rob Brittle

FAQs

Before you go

Documents • Passport & visa if needed • Travel insurance details • Boarding passes for flights • Wallet • Pen for filling in arrivals form Clothing • 2-3 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) • Spare clothes for Marrakech • Underwear • Base-layer trousers (optional) • Trekking Trousers • Waterproof trousers • Shorts • Swimwear for Marrakech (optional) • 4 thick wool mountaineering socks • Warm Gloves and Hat • Walking Boots • Footwear for Marrakech Other • Large rucksack for the mules/porters • Daysack (25-35L) • 3L of water bottles (Minimum) • Sunglasses • Suncream • Sunhat • Insect repellant • Hand sanitiser & wet wipes (useful to have for the Toubkal Refuge). • Glasses/contact lenses (if needed) • Sleeping bag (2-3 season, available to rent for £5) • Bathroom items including travel towel • Female sanitary products • Electronics - Head torch, travel adaptor (French plug style), phone & charger • Lipsil • Book/mp3 player (optional) • Walking poles (optional -Available to rent for £3)

The summit day on Toubkal can be 9-12 hours (with lots of breaks) so you do need a good level of fitness. In the run-up to your trip, we recommend training with jogging or sport at least 2 days a week.

See the section above for a full list of exclusions and inclusions.

Absolutely! We get lots of solo travellers on the trips. Once you sign up you'll also be added to a private Facebook group, where you can meet all the other people before you go.

We recommend you check up-to-date advice from the National Health Service before you travel to Morocco. There's a useful link below.

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.

The minimum age for this trek is 18 years, or 16 years with a parent/guardian.

Yes, we can cater for most dietary requirements. Please indicate this on the trip form before you go. We will also check with you on arrival.

For hiking Toubkal, you need a good pair of hiking boots. They need to be warm, waterproof and have good ankle support. For those a little technically minded, a B2 boot, or similar would be ideal. If you are trekking Toubkal over winter, crampons and ice axes are available for rent in Imlil. Here's a list of equipment we have available to rent (prices are for the entire trek); - Crampons: £6 (most normal boots can fit the crampons we hire here in Imlil as they are flexible). - Ice axe: £5 - Gloves: £2 - Rain jacket: £3 - Sleeping bag: £5 - Walking poles: £3

For travellers arriving at the airport meeting point later than 8:15 pm, we can offer a private transfer to Imlil. This will be at an additional fee of 35£ for a taxi (4 seats). If there is more than one person, you can split the fee.

On your trip

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. Your belongings that will be taken by mules should be packed in a flexible duffel bag and weigh no more than 8kg.

Winter season (Nov – Mar) Winter can be quite cold on Mt Toubkal, with temperatures on the summit going as low as -20 °C. March starts to warm up with a higher chance of rain. 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.

You will follow a sensible acclimatisation 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.

You stay in a hostel in Imlil and Ouarzazate, A camp in the desert, and a mountain refuge on the mountain. The hostel offers shared rooms, with intermittent internet and warm showers. The mountain refuge is very basic with dormitory-style rooms. The showers do not always offer warm water and there are basic style toilets. Note that this refuge can be very crowded and the bathroom facilities are limited. We recommend bringing some hand sanitiser, toilet paper and also wet wipes. The mountain hut does sell snacks. It is worth taking small denominations of cash, as they sometimes do not have change available. You'll camp in the desert with very basic facilities.

Maximum group sizes are 12.

The guides will provide you with 1.5L of water each day. Water is also available from natural springs and at various village stores along the way. You may want to consider taking purification tablets with you for use in the spring water. 

Start: we meet you at Hotel Ali Cafe at 7:30 PM or at the airport at 8:00 PM, then drive to Imlil. End: around 8:00 PM in Marrakech's famous square.

Wifi is available in the hostels, however it can be unreliable given the remote location. There is no internet available in the mountain refuge, and phone signal can be poor.

Yes, you can leave anything you don't need at the lodge. You will have a chance to pick it up when you come back after your trek.

Other FAQs

Basic accommodation: - Hotel Ali - Riad Omar - Hotel Imilchil Luxury accommodation: - Riad Africa - Riad Anya

Solo travellers will be paired with other solo travellers of the same sex. If this is not possible (for instance you are a woman and there are only men on your trip) you will get your own room, at no extra charge. Solo supplements are sometimes available for all/ part of this trip. Please enquire about this directly with your local host- to do this simply click "message your guide" from your dashboard (after booking) and they'll arrange all the logistics for you. You can then pay on arrival. Note that the refuge on Toubkal is primarily set up with dormitory-style rooms (typical of almost all high-altitude refuges ). This means that single rooms are often not available.

Morocco has a strong tipping culture. Tipping is at the discretion of the guest and depends on your personal experience. At the end of your trip, if you feel that your guides and porters did an outstanding job, then tipping is greatly appreciated. A good rule of thumb is around 50 – 70 Euros per traveller (split between the Mountain and desert teams).

Climbing Toubkal in winter (November- May) is a very different experience from the warmer months. Depending on annual conditions, snow covers the mountain top which brings additional challenges to the route. We usually expect snow from early January to mid-May but some years, the snowy season lasts longer or is shorter than usual so it's hard to predict exact conditions. The main difference if you are planning to trek during the winter months is that you will need additional equipment. Crampons and icepicks (which can be rented) become necessary to safely navigate the snow and ice-covered mountainside. This makes the trek somewhat tougher. We generally recommend winter treks for those with some prior mountaineering experience. You will also need additional, warm clothing layers.

Your head guide is Lahouceine

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

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!

Lahouceine