Jump to Navigation
0808 250 7442
Freephone

Winter Toubkal (2014-15)

Trip type: 
Walking & Trekking
Trekking level: 
5. Strenuous
Max group size: 
10
Avg user rating: 
5
Africa, Morocco | 8 days
Trip code: 
XMXT
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot.

Accommodation - Hotel (2nts), refuge (3nts), gite (2nts).

Meals - 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 5 dinners.

Trip Highlights: 
Summit Mt. Toubkal in winter
View the snowy landscapes of the Atlas Mountains
Wander the labyrinth of corridors in the Marrakech bazaars
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Morocco
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Itinerary options
Itinery Map

Itinerary for Winter Toubkal

(Departures in 2014-15)
  • Day 1 - Marrakech
  • Day 2 - Aremd
  • Day 3-5 - Neltner
  • Day 6 - Aremd
  • Day 7 - Marrakech
  • Day 8 - Tour ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Day
1
Marrakech

Marrakech

Fly to Marrakech. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.

The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the Islamic world and the 'sister' to the Giralda in far-away Seville, to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco.

Explore the amazing Medina and the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. A wander amongst them is a sensory delight.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. You understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

Meals Included

1 Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
2
Aremd

Aremd

After breakfast meet your leader for a walking tour of the historic centre, taking in main sights before entering the sprawling souk.

Take a guided tour of the Medina and its seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. A wander amongst them is a sensory delight.

The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the Islamic world and the 'sister' to the Giralda in far-away Seville, to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco.

Later you leave Marrakech and head towards Tahanaoute, an ancient marketplace on the edge of the mountains. The landscape changes as the plains gradually give way to mountains, with the impressive snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas looming in front of you.

Following the road right to its end you arrive in the village of Imlil (1790 metres above sea level). From here it is about a 45-minute walk to your mountain base, a typical Berber house in the village of Aremd with views up the valley towards Toubkal.

Imlil is a small village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is located 1,740 metres above sea level. Imlil is the most important village in the Ait Mizane Valley and it is the start of most of the walks in this area. It is close to the mountain Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in Northern Africa. Imlil makes a good base for attempting to summit Toubkal.

Our accommodation for tonight is in a 'Gite'. 
A gite d’étape consists of a village house with simple single sex dormitory rooms each with space for approximately 4-8 people. Each room is generally furnished in traditional Berber style with a mattress on the floor. The eating room is also furnished in the traditional Berber style. Communal facilities usually consist of a couple of showers and toilets. Showers (sometimes hot ones!) may be available in gites but these will be offered at an additional cost of around 1-2USD.

Meals Included

1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Accommodation

Gite (1 nt)

 

Day
3-5
Neltner

Neltner

On the morning of Day 3 you will meet the mule handlers and the mules. All baggage and provisions are carried by mule - the multi-purpose all-terrain vehicles of the mountains. Used to plough fields, carry loads from valley to valley (often up incredibly steep and narrow tracks), turn threshing machines and even act as taxis, ferrying people between the villages, they are an indispensable part of Berber life in the mountains. Even these incredible animals have their limits and if snow conditions prevent them from going further, porters will be used.

After all the luggage has been loaded on to the mules you will start our climb up to the Neltner refuge.
From Aremd, the trail leads past orchards up the floodplain of the Mizane Valley climbing steeply as it zigzags up the mountainside. Along the way you reach Sidi Chamarouch (2310m), a place of pilgrimage for Moroccans who come to the tomb of the local marabout (Muslim holy man). You can only see the shrine from across the gorge, as it’s forbidden for non-Muslims to cross the bridge to the other side. Beyond here the trail climbs steeply through a series of switchbacks, traversing the flank of the valley high above the river. At some point you may well hit the snowline where it will be time for us to don your crampons, before arriving at the Toubkal base camp at Neltner (3207m). Once we've settled in there will be a briefing on winter walking and an introduction on how to use your crampons and ice axe as well as basic snow survival skills. 
Today involves approximately five hours walking. Your cook will prepare all meals for the group whilst at the refuge.

The next 3 nights are spent in a refuge at Neltner; a stone building operated by the French Alpine Club. Accommodation for up to 80 people is provided in communal dormitories. The refuge can get very cold, so make sure that you come prepared with a 3/4 season sleeping bag. If you fill up your water bottle with hot water and wrap it in a sock, it acts as a very good makeshift hot water bottle! There are toilets and showers as well as a lounge room with a small fireplace. There is a charge for showers (expect long queues) and the refuge normally also charges a small fee of about 1USD per night for communal firewood.

Day 4 offers us the chance to summit Toubkal’s sister peak of Ouanoukrim; the main aim of this being to get completely comfortable with all your equipment. Sitting at over 4000 metres the views from the top will give awesome vistas across to Toubkal and the other snow-capped peaks. You’ll start off gently along the valley before starting to ascend. 
There are several possible routes to the summit and your leader will choose the one most suitable for the conditions and the group’s ability. Approximately 6-7 hours walk.

Early on the morning of day 5 you set off for North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4167m) - the goal of many mountain walkers who visit the High Atlas. There is a steep final climb that may involve some scrambling, but the effort is rewarded by superb views from the summit of the Atlas range. On a clear day it’s even possible to make out the hazy outline of the Atlantic coast to the west, and the sands of the Sahara Desert to the east. After resting on the summit, you make your way back to Neltner. Approximately eight hours walk (five hours ascent). 

Meals Included

3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners

Accommodation

Gite (3 nts)

 

Day
6
Aremd

Aremd

Today you will have our last foray into the snowy heights around us. Most likely you’ll head up above Neltner to the tight gorge of the Tizi Ouanoums Pass. Whilst not a peak, the pass offers the opportunity to look down the southern side of the mountain to the glacial Lac D’Ifni, shimmering emerald green below. 
You return to Neltner for lunch, before descending back down the valley to Aremd for our last night in the mountains. 
Those not wanting to do the morning walk can wait at the refuge for the group’s return. Approximately 7-8 hours walk (three hours if only descending from Neltner)

Meals Included

1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner

Accommodation

Gite (1 nt)

 

Day
7

Marrakech

A short walk of about 30 minutes leads to Imlil where you will will meet our driver and vehicle, and head back to Marrakech (1 ½ hours drive).

After the rugged Toubkal climb you will enjoy seeing the lush green walnut trees, terraced fields and colourful dress of children in the mountain villages. On descending from the mountains you cross the plain to enter the imperial city of Marrakech whose old town is surrounded by a cordon of protective ramparts. The afternoon is free to explore the souks or enjoy a revitalising hammam (steam bath)

Meals Included

1 Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day
8
Tour ends

Tour ends

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.