Morocco

Toubkal Trek & Sahara Desert

12

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 from the city center (Hotel Ali Café) 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 available for hire 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 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!

Night in a hotel with diner and breakfast in Dades valley.

Approx 7hours drive.

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Today you'll make your way to the Sahara Desert, for a hike 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. 5hours drive.

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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. End of our services.

9hours drive.

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12 verified reviews

Rated 5.0
Colin
Colin

Traveled May 2022

Just got back from the combined Toubkal & Sahara trip, had a brilliant time on both and met some brilliant locals and fellow travellers. A bit more detail on the daily itineraries would help for gear and food preparation, as it sometimes felt like we were just being shuttled from point to point with no info! But still a great week...

Bella
Bella

Traveled Apr 2022

By Dawn The Toukbal part of the trip was excellent, loved the challenge, great support and everything was well provided for. Hussein our guide was nothing short of spectacular. He was kind, warm and supportive; and he did the hike while on a ramadan fast! As I'm not a big fan of long drives, the Sahara portion of the trip was truly exhausting for me, but it did become interesting that we stopped at a few places like Ouzazarte (ancient village where lots of movies were filmed including GOT and The Mummy), a traditional Berber house where we witnessed the women make traditional Moroccan carpets, and a women's argan oil co-op where we bought our 100% argan oil made with such hard labor. Our driver Ibrahim has been delightful as well, drove like a champ while also on a Ramadan fast. This trip is very much value for money - You definitely get more than you pay for, so if you are in a position to, please do tip generously :) Highly recommended.

Joanna
Joanna

Traveled Apr 2022

Hussein was a wonderful guide, and the Toubkal section of the trip was fantastic. It's tiring (all the more so for Hussein, summiting during Ramadan!), but well worth the effort. Incredible views and unforgettable experience. Ibrahim was our guide for the Sahara experience. It was a lot of time spent in the car, as the Sahara is a LONG way from Marrakech, but it was broken up with enjoyable stops at places such as a Berber village and beautiful gorge. Once at the edge of the desert we ride camels for an hour to a camp (more like glamping, with running water and proper toilets and beds). We watched the sunset, and listened to traditional drums around a fire. It was an early start to watch sunrise and return on the camels before the long return drive. Thanks to Hussein and Ibrahim for a really special trip.

Katherine
Katherine

Traveled Apr 2022

Really amazing trip! Massive shoutout to the guides who took amazing care of us, and put so much effort into making sure that everyone had a great (and safe) time in Morocco. The accommodations were really nice and all had pretty spectacular views. Being cooked for three times a day was also a bonus with lots of yummy Moroccan flavours. The hike up to Mount Toubkal was a bit intimidating when we were at our starting point but we took lots of breaks and got to the top which had an amazing view. We all had such a great time and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a bit of a fun challenge.

Catherine
Catherine

Traveled Apr 2022

I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this trip was! It went far beyond all my expectations. The local guides from Atlas Vertical were absolutely incredible. They were very professional and welcoming. Special mention to our guide Omar who’s taken such great care of us and made us discover his beautiful country. The chefs, bus driver, muleteers and the other guide whom accompanied us were also all incredibly nice and helpful. Breathtaking views on the mountain and the desert, beautiful villages, delicious food and great accommodation. I highly recommend this trip.

Lydia
Lydia

Traveled Apr 2022

This trip was amazing! It was well organised and the guides were all very friendly and encouraging. The accommodation was basic but very clean. The food provided by our cooks was tasty and authentic but I would advise bringing snacks with you to avoid getting hungry throughout the day. We did, however have to pay for 3 lunches. This was unexpected but non-expensive. The itinerary doesn't reflect how long you will spend on a coach in the last 3 days, but it was broken up nicely with regular stops for views and snacks/drinks. The pack-list was very efficient and for trips around April, lightweight, modest casual clothes are great for the last 3 days of sightseeing. Really enjoyed this trip and was great to meet new people and bond over the challenges faced by the summit and the Sahara.

Shannon
Shannon

Traveled Apr 2022

Ill find it hard to put into words on how incredible this trip was! From start to finish we were looked after so well. Omar, our guide - was kind, professional, very informative and had our safety as his main priority. The porters, chefs, bus driver and the other guides whom accompanied us on the hike were also all incredible. Food was top class, The views were breathtaking on the mountain and in the desert. So refreshing to spend time in the outdoors in lovely company, beautiful scenery with friendly, enthusiastic and professional guides and an abundance of good food! This is definitely the best for value trip I have ever been on! My only complaint is that it went too fast! Make sure you bring money to tip the guides, porters, chefs and bus driver as this isn't including in the price & they most definitely deserve one. I'd recommend extra cash to buy souvenirs and that as there is some beautiful markets and natural products for sale along the way!

Tom
Tom

Traveled Mar 2022

Really great tour. Lovely food, friendly guides, great people, highly recommended tour

Lloyd
Lloyd

Traveled Feb 2022

An absolutely amazing trip would 10/10 recommend spent my birthday hiking up to the refuge. I had a good group for the Toubkal Summit trip with very helpful and knowledgeable guides. Trip to the Sahara was great with a great group of like minded adventurers from all over the world. Special mention to Hussain of Atlas Vertical for everything.

Anna
Anna

Traveled Nov 2021

Hi, Houssain looked after us like family. The climb itself was fine, if you have done national three peaks in 24 hours, that is harder in my view so if you are fit and healthy you can do this. I personally preferred the climb than to the Sahara part but having coming all that way I wanted to see the Sahara too.

Simon
Simon

Traveled Oct 2021

Fantastic trip. Local guide Atlas Vertical ( Hussain) went beyond expectations. Great guides, accommodation and food. Would highly recommend.

Kim
Kim

Traveled Sep 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 very well taken care of, every guide I had was very friendly and professional, all of us made it to the top of Toubkal despite the challenging weather thanks to their guidance. Food and accommodation was on point, the guesthouse in Imlil was my favourite stay, big windows with stunning view of the mountains. What a highlight to my trip ! Highly recommended!

FAQs

Included

  • Airport and in-country transfers 
  • Certified guide for Toubkal trek
  • Porters
  • Food all meals for mountain trek
  • Accommodation in Imlil & Toubkal refuge.
  • Accommodation in Dades valley hôtel in tripe and quadruple rooms with diner and breakfast
  • Driver-guide for sahara trip
  • Accommodation in tente in Merzouga dunes with diner and breakfast

Excluded

  • International flights
  • lunch meals for sahara trip
  • Winter climb equipment 
  • Tips for guides and porters
  • Travel insurance

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

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

Luxury accommodation includes: Riad Africa, Riad Anya   

Maximum group sizes are 12.

You stay in a hostel in Imlil and Ouarzazate. camp in the desert, and a mountain hut on the mountain. The lodge will offer 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.

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

Start: we meet you at the airport at 8pm.

If you arrive early in the day we recommend to take a small taxi to the center and explore the old médina. If you let us know then we can meet you at Hotel Ali Café at 8pm before we drive to Imlil.

End: For return flights, you will be dropped back at the main square of the city or at your hôtel in marrakech.

End trip around 19h00 in marrakech famous square

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.  

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, or 16 with a parent/guardian. 

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.