Toubkal Trek & Sahara Desert

Morocco

1

Hike North Africa's Tallest Mountain and sleep under the stars of the Sahara Desert - 6 Days.

Itinerary

Day 1: Marrakech to Imlil (1,740m)

You will be picked up at 8 pm from Marrakech Airport, or 7:30 pm in the city center, and then driven to the mountain village of Imlil. Here you can enjoy your welcome dinner, and take in the panoramic views of the High Atlas mountains. All food, accommodation and transfers are included on this trip.

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In the morning 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 up lunch, and you can also get fresh orange juice from one of the local stools. Afterwards, you continue for another 3 hours to Refuge de Toubkal, where you’ll stay for the night.

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You start at around 5am, with a slow and steady pace upwards. After 2-3 hours you’ll aim to reach the summit of Mt Toubkal (4,167m) at sunrise! From here you can look down from the snowy summit, to the green Anti-Atlas mountains, and then finally the vast Sahara desert! After taking some time to enjoy the views, we’ll then head downhill for 6 hours to Imlil.

Crampons (spikes for your boots) are provided if needed, and you'll be given training on how to use them if you've never done it before.

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After breakfast, you'll be collected by your driver, and head to Ait Benhaddou Kasbah - a UNESCO world heritage site. You will take the 'highway of 1000 Kasbahs', before arriving at one of the most striking ancient cities in Morocco - Ouarzazate. You may recognise the city from Game of Thrones and Lawrence of Arabia!

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Today you'll make your way to the Sahara Desert, and make your way 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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After a once in a lifetime evening spent in the Sahara Desert, you'll head back to Merzouga for breakfast and a shower. Then you'll drive back to Marrakech, where you'll be able to stay and explore the city, or head back to the airport.

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5.00 (1 review)

Kim
Verified - Travelled September 2021

Had the best time in Imlil/Toubkal and the Sahara dessert out of my 3.5 weeks of travelling in Morocco. Local host from Atlas Vertical was absolutely brilliant, from the moment I got in touch, I was v ...read more

  • 1(current)

FAQs

Included

  • Airport and in-country transfers 
  • Certified guides
  • Porters
  • Food
  • Accommodation

Excluded

  • International flights
  • Tips for guides and porters
  • Travel insurance

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 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 any spring water.  

You stay in a hostel in Imlil and Ouarzazate camp in the desert, and a mountain hut on the mountain. The lodge will offer twin shared rooms, with intermittent internet and warm showers.

The mountain refuge is very basic, and showers do not always offer warm water, with basic style toilets. 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.

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. 

Maximum group sizes are 12.

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

Start: Your guide will meet you at Marrakech airport at 7 pm, or hotel Ali in the Old Medina (Jemaa el-Fnaa) of the city at 6:30 pm. If you have arrived early, we recommend you spend a few hours exploring Marrakech city. It can often take around 1 hour to get through security at Marrakech airport. Please ensure your flight arrives before 6pm.

End: For return flights, you will be dropped back at the airport for 12 pm (midday) on the last day of your trip. You can also be dropped in Marrakech city if you would like to stay on. 

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.  

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

• Glasses/contact lenses (if needed)

• Sleeping bag (2-3 season)

• Bathroom items including travel towel

• Electronics - Head torch, travel adaptor (French plug style), phone & charger

• Lipsil

• Book/mp3 player (optional) • Walking poles (optional -Available to rent for €3) 

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. 

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.

Basic accommodation includes: Hotel Ali, Riad Omar, Hotel Imilchil 

Luxury accommodation includes: Riad Africa, Riad Anya   

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. 

The summit day on Toubkal can be 9-12 hours (with lots of breaks) so you do need a good level of fitness. We recommend training with jogging or sport 1-2 times a week, in the run-up to your trip. 

You can see the latest NHS advice at https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/morocco. 

Provided by Atlas Vertical

Skyhook Adventure is an Authorised Agent of Atlas Vertical. Please familiarise yourself with the Atlas Vertical Terms & Conditions and Skyhook Adventure's Terms & Conditions.