Snow-capped peaks, deep valleys and rugged mountainsides make up the Atlas Mountains. From remote villages in the west to old trade routes in the east, there is so much to experience.
The Atlas Mountains offer many challenging trekking options for school groups. Known for spectacular mountain scenery, deep valleys and remote villages, the region is perfect for short or long challenges. Finishing the trip in colourful Marrakech is a must! Students will enjoy bartering in the souks and being enthralled by entertainers and acrobats in the Djemma el Fna.
Beginning in Marrakech, there should be time to experience the myriad of sights and sounds found in the main square of Djemma el Fna, before heading off to meet our trekking support team and muleteers at the base hotel in Ourigane.
For the next five days you will trek through valleys and mountain passes, staying in remote villages. The trek reaches a maximum height of 2,960 metres - on Day 5 of the trip - before descending to the small village of Ouikamaden. On returning to Marrakech, there is time to explore the sights on foot and by horse drawn carriage, before a final meal at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the main square.
This itinerary provides a challenge of physical strength and character and requires working together as a team.
On arrival the group will be met by the local team and transferred to the group hotel. Depending upon the arrival time, there may be time to enjoy the early evening activities that take place in the Djemma El Fna.
After breakfast, you will transfer by bus to Ourigane, where you will be able to relax at the hotel, prepare for your trek and meet with the cook, Berbers and local guide who will be accompanying you on trek. The group will need to prepare for the full trekking day's ahead, with a short orientation walk before dinner at the hotel.
Today, you will ascend slowly up the Azzaden valley; this section is very green as livestock are not permitted to graze the reserve. En route you will pass through Azerfsane, the first village beyond the reserve, then on to your village for the night at Tiziane in a local gite.
Today you will continue up the valley to its highest village, Tizi Oussem, before going over the pass and into the next valley which leads to the village of Aremd. The red soil gives a distinct colour to the villages, delightful in the evening light. Arriving at Aremd there should be a spectacular view up the main valley which leads to the summit of Toubkal, at 4167 metres the highest point in North Africa.
Today’s trek will take you across the Tizi Tamatert (Tizi means pass in Berber). Leaving Aremd there are two choices of route to reach the Tizi Tamatert (2279 metres). The first option is to take the dirt road, which ascends steadily in a long series of zig-zags.
The more interesting option is to take a mule trail that ascends through the tiny village of Tamatert and then up through pine woods. This option is steeper, but usually shorter in duration. Efforts for the walk up to the pass are rewarded with breathtaking views across two valleys and the high peaks that tower above them..
You will then ascend on a dirt track steadily to reach delightful Tacheddirt, the highest permanently inhabited village in North Africa (2,300 metres).
Leaving the comfort of the gite at Tacchedirt, you will embark on the longest trekking day of the itinerary, to a small isolated gite at Labessane.
The trek will head over the back of the Tacchedirt, climbing over the very high pass at the head of the valley before the route slowly descends to your home for the night, in the heart of the Atlas.
After descending to the neighbouring village of Tamguist, it's a long climb to the col of Tizi n'ou Addi, (2960 metres). A good mule track zigzags its way up to the col, and you will have plenty of opportunity for rests along the way. Once on the col you will be faced with a dramatic change in scenery, as the upper valleys around Oukaimeden are lush and green.
There is a fine lunch spot by a spring down the easier track on the far side of the col. From here the walking is level, and in an hour you will shortly reach Oukaimeden, (2,630 metres), where you stay in a chalet refuge and celebrate the completion of your trek
After saying farewell to the Berber support team early in the morning, the group will transfer back to Marrakech in time for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Medina, taking in some of the palaces, the old Koranic school and the souks, and travelling partly by 'caleche' (horse and carriage).
In the evening there will be a farewell dinner in a rooftop restaurant above the Djemma El Fna square.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
- Destination: Morocco
- When to go: May to Oct
- Duration: 9 days
- Trip type: Adventure
- Atlas Mountains
- Exploring markets in Marrakech
- Traditional villages
- Spectacular mountain scenery
- Berber culture
- Accommodation: Gites & hotels
- Ideal for: Ages 14 to 15
Travellers will need:
- Good level of fitness
- Appreciation of the outdoor environment
One of the major cities in Morocco, Marrakech will be the start and end point of your treks and community projects, allowing time to explore the vibrant palaces, souks and Djemma el Fna.