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Nestled between the Middle Atlas Mountains to the north and the Anti-Atlas Mountains to the south, the High Atlas Mountains are home to North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal. It’s also home to many indigenous tribes living in mud huts scattered along the mountainsides, and even nomadic and semi-nomadic families throughout the valleys. We’ve selected our top picks for trekking in this unique destination.
Morocco’s highest peak at 4,167 meters, trekking Mount Toubkal provides a glimpse in to Amazigh life as trekkers pass through little mud-hut villages where time seems to stand still. Not for the faint-hearted, trekkers are advised to book a national licensed guide and this often includes a mule to carry supplies and a cook to ensure hot and healthy Moroccan cuisine can be prepared in the most remote areas. Starting from Imlil in Toubkal National Park just 90 minutes from Marrakech, trekkers should plan three days to reach the summit and return.
Known as Morocco’s ‘Happy Valley’, this remote valley is a lush green in the spring, when daytime temperatures make for comfortable day hikes either through the valley or to nearby lakes. Wander from village to village, meeting friendly locals along the way to experience true, simple Berber life. Longer multi-day treks are also possible, including the two-week trek nomads make each year as they descend on the valley and spend their summers grazing their herds. Given its remote location, during winter months the valley is almost inaccessible due to the road conditions. There is no public transport, so private car or hire car is required for an approximately five-hour drive from Marrakech.
Located on the edge of the Sahara in Kalaâ M’Gouna, Jebel Sarhro is less popular with trekkers despite being home to the fourth highest peak in Morocco at 4,071 meters. But the authentic landscapes of deep gorges and palm groves, plus chance encounters with locals along the way, make for a very unique experience for those who are willing to travel a bit further from Marrakech to reach this destination. Trekking in this region is best in spring and fall when daytime temperatures are comfortable and water sources readily available.