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.
This trip is ideal for younger school groups or those fairly new to trekking as it incorporates all the adventure of mountain trekking, but at an easier pace. The itinerary also includes a tour of Marrakech and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou.
The adventure begins in Marrakech before heading south to the city of Ouazarzate – 'The Door to the Desert' – where students will get to experience Morocco's Berber culture and history before heading into the Jebel Sahro mountain range for a five day trek. Over the course of the trek, groups will stay at beautiful campsites in remote villages, overlooking some of the most stunning scenery in North Africa, where mountains and valleys stretch as far as you can see.
There is also an option to ascend Kouaouch (2,592 metres) where the Atlas range to the north presents itself. More incredible topography and wildlife will reveal itself as you work your way out of the range and transfer back to Ouazarzate for a well-deserved rest. You will then have time to explore this interesting town, including the famous film sets, before culminating your adventure in the ‘Pink City’ of Marrakech, with its palaces, the old Koranic school and, of course, the famous Moroccan souks.
On arrival in Marrakech, transfer to your overnight accommodation in the centre of the old part of the city.
This morning, after breakfast, you will leave Marrakch on the start of your journey over the High Atlas mountains to the southern capital of Ouazarzate. This is a spectacular drive, which will take you over the highest road pass in Morocco, before winding down into the warmer climate of the southern Atlas mountains. Ouazarzate is not only famous as the gateway to the Sahara Desert, but it is also close to the scenic oasis and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, which you should have time to visit this afternoon.
Rising early today, transfer back north along the same road, but turn off towards N’kob, where your trek will start. The bus will take you as far as possible along the stony washout plains leading up towards the mountains. Towards the end of the trek, you will enter the foothills of the Jebel Sahro, passing small villages and isolated homesteads where the owners irrigate and cultivate small patches of land.
Following mainly wide-open valleys with some gentle ascents, you pass the first of many spectacular rock pinnacles that are common in this region. As you get deeper into the mountains, water is more plentiful and you see more cultivation around the villages.
A short ascent takes you out of the Tagra valley and up onto a fine plateau region where you will find some of the semi-nomadic Ait Atta Berbers in their large tents with their flocks of sheep and goats. You pass some amazing rock formations – Tassigdelt ('the camel’s humps'),Tadout n Tablah ('a forest of wind eroded pinnacles'), and the impressive free standing rock tower of Bab N’Ali.
In the late afternoon, you head north to reach the small village of Igli, situated right in the heart of the Jebel Sahro. Here you will be camping in an excellent location where you can purchase cold drinks from a small shop, which also offers hot shower facilities!
Leaving your camp today you wind your way up to the Tizi n Ouarg pass, with a sheer wall of rock towering above you to your right. Look out for geode crystals, which you may find strewn along the path. The energetic members of the group may wish to ascend to the top of Kouaouch (2,592 metres), from where there are fine views of the Atlas Mountains to the north.
Continuing north, there are a variety of options today, but the most direct trail goes over the beautiful Isk n’ Alla (2,569 metres), before descending the northern flanks of the Sahro and leading on to the small settlement of Tagdilt, your final destination of the trek. Here, you will be met by your vehicles and transferred back to Ouazarzate where you will spend the night.
This morning there may be an opportunity to try and visit the Atlas Film Studios. Access can be fairly restricted depending upon their filming schedule and public opening hours. You will then travel back through high Tizi n Tichka pass to the magnificent ‘Pink City’ of Marrakech. After lunch you will take a three hour tour of the old city, taking in some of the palaces, the old Koranic school and the markets and travelling part of the way by ‘caleche’ (horse and carriage). This evening you will have time to enjoy the activities that take place in the Djemma El Fna, just a stone’s throw away from your hotel where acrobats and storytellers entertain both locals and tourists.
This morning you will transfer back to the airport for your flight home to the UK.
- Destination: Morocco
- When to go: Apr to Oct
- Duration: 9 days
- Trip type: Adventure
- Jebel Sahro trek
- Wild camping
- Ait Benhaddou
- Berber culture
- Accommodation: Hotels and camping
- Ideal for: Ages 14 to 15
Travellers will need:
- Good level of fitness
- Appreciation of the outdoor environment
One of the most visually stunning parts of Morocco, Jebel Sahro provides trekking routes for school groups that are less experienced, with the chance to meet traditional nomadic peoples.
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.