Schools Africa and The Middle East Morocco Toubkal Circuit

Toubkal Circuit

12 days

This brilliant trekking itinerary provides excellent acclimatisation prior to an ascent on Mount Toubkal. You then head to the coast at Essaouira for some well-deserved rest before finishing up in Marrakesh where the group can try their hand at bartering in the souks!

The Schools Worldwide team have developed many itineraries to Morocco over the years and have prepared the following school expedition based on our personal recommendations and experiences. However, as with all our school expeditions, every itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your school and your group. You can choose this itinerary exactly as it stands, or use it as a starting point for your group's own unique overseas experience...

Itinerary Highlights

  • Marrakesh
  • Mt Toubkal
  • The village of Aremd
  • Essaouira
  • Trekking in the High Atlas
Day 1. UK to Marrakesh
Fly from UK to Marrakech and stay overnight in a hotel a short walk from the centre. After checking into your hotel, you should have time to enjoy the evening activities that take place in the Djemma El Fna, Marrakech's central squarel, where acrobats, storytellers, fire-eaters and snake charmers entertain locals and tourists alike.
Day 2. Marrakesh to Oukaimeden
In the morning you take a three hour tour of the old city, taking in some of the palaces, the markets, and travelling part of the way by 'caleche' (horse and carriage). After a good lunch in Marrakech and some final shopping for provisions in the Souk, you will transfer by bus to Oukaimeden, where there are superb views back across the plains towards Marrakech. Situated at about 2700 metres, here you will find flat, green valleys with sandstone boulders, on some of which can be found pre-historic rock engravings. You will spend the night in the Chalet refuge before embarking upon your trek tomorrow morning.
Day 3. Oukaimeden to Tacheddirt
Using mules to carry the baggage you will ascend gently to the pass of Tizi n'ou Addi (2960 metres) after which the trail descends to the village of Tacchedirt in the upper Imenane valley, the highest village in the Atlas Mountains. Depending on conditions, there is an opportunity to ascend Oukaimeden peak (3262 metres) on the way to the pass, but this is only for the very fit as it makes a long day. From Tacheddirt you follow the dirt road to your gite.
Day 4. Tacheddirt to Azib Likempt
Above your camp is a huge stone filled bowl leading up to your next col, Tizi Likempt (3540 metres). A well-made and well-graded mule track takes you steadily up to the col from where you look down into the Tifni valley. You descend into the Tifni valley and then continue to the summer settlement of Azib Likempt, near which you will camp for the night. The Berber people live in these temporary 'azibs' only during the summer months, returning to their lower permanent villages for the winter.
Day 5. Azib Likempt to Amsouzerte
Another long day's walk along the delightful Tinzer valley, where the river cascades down in a series of tempting waterfalls and pools and pass the Tizi Ouraine (3120 metres), the high point for the day. This is on the Atlas watershed, so from here you descend on the Saharan side of the mountains and soon notice just how much drier it is. You drop 1400 metres from the col to the village of Amsouzerte (1740 metres), which is connected by a dirt road to 'civilisation' and hence boasts some reasonably well-stocked shops. You will stay in another campsite and have the afternoon free to relax in the heat and to enjoy the relative comforts of the village.
Day 6. Amsouzerte to Lac D'Ifni
Following the dirt road you head up the Islani valley towards Lac D'Ifni. Initially an easy and partly shaded walk, the gradient increases as it climbs up the terminal moraine, behind which you find the lake. An oasis in an otherwise barren landscape, Lac D'Ifni is the only lake in the area and provides you with a great opportunity to wash during the free afternoon that you will have here.
Day 7. Lac D'Ifni to Toubkal base camp
You need an early start today for the long ascent to Tizi Ouanoums (3664 metres). The path makes its way up a steep sided valley where there are many opportunities for water and rest stops. Depending on progress you may stop for lunch before crossing the col, or else you can continue to the other side. From the col you have your last look back to Lac D'Ifni, which has been hidden from view for most of the ascent. The descent on the far side is short but steep, again on a well-made path. You drop into the upper reaches of the Mizane valley and set up camp on the site below the Toubkal Refuge.
Day 8. Toubkal base camp to Aremd (via Mt Toubkal)
The ascent of Toubkal (4167 metres) is a 3 to 4 hour climb up a well-trodden track, which can be a little loose at times. You will take a simple pack lunch up with you so that there is no rush and you can linger a short while on the top of this, north Africa's highest, mountain. If the air is clear you will have fine views towards the Sahara. You can descend via a different route to rejoin with the wide mule trail back to Aremd. Aremd is the home of most of your staff who will hopefully join you in for a Berber style celebration in the evening.
Day 9. Aremd to Essaouira
After breakfast you leave the mountains and take the short walk to Imlil before a spectacular drive to the Atlantic Coast and the delightful seaside town of Essaouira. The journey takes you through Marrakech (1.5 hours) and across some of the planes of North Africa. You may stop to delight at the antics of the famous Argan goats, which feed off the high branches of the Argan trees on the roadside, almost knowing that they are being photographed. You arrive in Essaouira (3 hours from Marrakech) in the early afternoon, a tranquil setting in the heart of this special place, ten minutes walk away from a never-ending beach.
Day 10. Essaouira to Essaouira
A day in Essaouira to 'do your own thing'. Essaouira is on the Atlantic coast, and it is like a French town in Morocco; it has a cafe culture, it is sunny and warm off the beach but on the sea front you can see from where the town derives its nickname of 'windy city'. Improvised open-air restaurants serve the freshest sardines in the entire country ('if not the world' say the fish mongers). Strolling within the city walls, with periodic glimpses of bronze cannons reminding you of its troubled past, you can shop in peace amongst the jewellery bazaar, spice and grain market and the alleys where the famous inlay artists live and create. Silver smiths and carvers of ebony and lemon wood allow you to mingle and inspect their wares and are known to smile when you choose not to buy. In the evenings you may choose to listen to the famous Gnoua musicians in one of the welcoming truly cosmopolitan Kasbahs.
Day 11. Essaouira to Marrakesh
Leaving Essaouira in the morning, you will arrive back into Marrakesh at lunchtime, leaving you the rest of the day to explore the souks and the Djemma el Fna.
Day 12. Marrakesh to UK
Leaving Marrakesh, you travel back to the UK. Welcome home!

If this sample itinerary has inspired you, please click below to provide us with some basic information about your group. We will then use this information to present you with a personalised quotation which we believe matches what you are looking for, as well as making further recommendations. We can also visit you at your school to talk through things in more detail if you prefer.


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