9 nights/ 10 days
Marrakech to Marrakech

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Morocco is a country of many landscapes, as varied as the colors woven into each carpet. It has been overwhelming hapless travelers for centuries. It’s a country diverse with food, religion, language and culture. Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s highest peak and the tallest in the region, has attracted hikers from all over the world. We’ll explore the winding streets of Morocco’s ancient medinas and souks, ride camels into the desert of Marrakech, explore traditional mud houses and their hammams on a Quad ATV, and soar over the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in a hot air balloon. Our ascent up the rocky giant of North Africa will be challenging, but the views promise to be spectacular for those hungry for a high altitude adventure.

Activities:Trekking, ATVing, Camel Rides, Hot Air Balloon, Horseback Riding
2017 Dates:September 14-23 $2495
Group Size:8-14 people
Travel Style:Comfort/Camping
Physical Rating:Difficult
Single Supplement: $450
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hike to the tallest peak in Northern Africa, the Jebel Toubkal
  • Wander ancient medinas and souks
  • Visit a Hammam (a Turkish bath/ steam room)
  • Ride a camel into the desert of Marrakech
  • Soar above berber villages and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in a hot air balloon
  • Get off the beaten path in a Quad ATV and experience all of the beauty the desert has to offer
  • Explore the countryside and expansive beaches of Essaouira by horseback

Day 1: MARRAKECH

Arrive in Marrakech at any time. There are no planned activities on this day, but there’s lots to explore on your own. If you arrive early enough, perhaps explore the medina and the endless amounts of souks selling pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets, spices, and much more. If you have time, you could also search out the spectacular mosques, tombs and ruins that are dotted around the city.

We’ll have a welcome meeting at the hotel at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the Adventure People meeting will take place. If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Afterwards, we’ll explore the market and enjoy dinner (not included) in the riad as we adjust to the time change.

Overnight at Dellarosa or similar

Day 2: MARRAKECH (B, L)

Marrakech benefits from being located on a vast, flat plain that serves as an excellent location for hot air ballooning! Near daybreak, we’ll be collected from our hotel and transferred across the local countryside for an unforgettable adventure that will send us drifting gently into the early morning sky over the fantastic desert landscape with views of secluded berber villages and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. As your gondola rises slowly and majestically towards the heavens, the unfolding views run for miles and miles.

In the afternoon, we’ll have a walking tour of the city, which includes the Saadian Tombs opened to the public in 1917 and El-Bahia palace, before heading into the maze of tiny streets and alleyways of the ancient medina to really get a taste of everyday life in Marrakech. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating back to Berber Empire with alleys where thriving souks sell traditional textiles, pottery, spices, traditional jalabas and slippers, or famous Moroccan lanterns. For over 1,000 years, Marrakech has been a major marketplace for the wealth of distant empires. From hand-crafted goods to gold, ivory, and slaves, the variety of commerce helped shape its souks

INCLUDED:

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • City Walking Tour & Medina
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch

Overnight at Dellarosa or similar

Day 3: AGAFAY (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we’re met by our guide for our journey into the undulating hills of Agafay, just an hour’s drive from the red city of Marrakech. Known as “the desert of Marrakech,” Agafay is an arid region of stony, dry lands at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. Literally untouched by development, the Agafay Desert offers quite the contrast from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. Our guide will lead us through landscapes that seem to stretch out forever until small patches of green start to show, sidelined by eucalyptus trees until we arrive at the edge of Lalla Takerkoust Lake, built as a dam where Marrakech gets its electricity from.  From here, we’ll have views of the High Atlas Mountains to the south – our destination for the following days.

After our journey, we’ll step it up a notch as our guides take us on a Quad ATV tour. Discover traditional mud houses and their hammams and experience all of the beauty the desert has to offer, with its hospitality and authenticity.  Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a countryside lunch of traditional tajine or couscous served under Berber-style tents, admiring the silence and views around us. We’ll end the day with a desert camel trek through lush palm groves at dusk and spend the night under the stars in a traditional nomadic Berber tent.

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation to Agafay
  • Desert Camel Ride
  • Quad ATV Tour
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner

Overnight in a Berber Tent
Estimated travel time: 1 hour by private vehicle

Day 4: HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS (B, L)

This morning, we’ll leave the desert and make our way into the Atlas Mountains. Our journey through the mountains will offer a short stop in Imlil and will end in time for lunch and tea at our accommodations for the night at the Kasbah du Toubkal, named one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World and described by Conde Nast Traveler as “having the best rooftop views in North Africa.”

We’ll begin our hike from the steps of the Kasbah up to a nearby mountain pass, Tizi M’zik for awe inspiring views into the valleys of Imlil (5700 ft) and Azadane. The walk is steep in parts, but not long, and is on a well-defined mule trail. We reach the summit after approximately 2 hours with plenty of stops for rest and photos. The valley behind us has numerous villages clinging to the hillsides and surrounded by a patchwork of colorful agricultural terraces and orchards. Behind us is the distant mountain pass bearing the same name as the town below, Tizi Tamatert, with spectacular views above the Azadane valley and out to the Marrakech plains. Immersed in the fragrant perfumes of the juniper forests, we will absorb the beauty and tranquility of the Atlas Mountains while enjoying a great picnic lunch on top of the mountain pass before we hike downhill to the comfort of the Kasbah for some mint tea on the terrace and commanding views of our upcoming trek of the tallest peak in Northern Africa, the Jebel Toubkal.

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation to the Kasbah at Imlil Valley
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch

Overnight at Kasbah du Toubkal
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours by private vehicle
Estimated Hiking Time: 4 hours
Hiking Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain and Loss: 1800 ft (elevation from 5,910 ft to 7,710 ft)

Day 5: HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS (B, L, D)


At 4,167 m (13,671 ft) above sea level, Jebel Toubkal is set in a region of dramatic mountains, beautifully terraced valleys, and adobe villages perched precipitously on hillsides. Hiking Jebel Toubkal is an exciting and rewarding climb for weekend walkers and seasoned trekkers alike. After (a not-too-early) breakfast, we begin our first leg of the summit of Toubkal. From the Kasbah du Toubkal at 1800 m (5,910 ft) we begin our steady but long ascent to the basecamp refuge of Toubkal at 3,200 m (10,500 ft) at the end of a dry, rocky riverbed near the extraordinary village of Aroumd. Built on a huge moraine spur above the Mizane Valley with terraced fields and trees of fruits and nuts lining the valley, Aroumd offers beautiful scenery to begin our journey. The route continues along the Mizane river gorge in zigzag, at times steep but on a well-defined dirt/ stony pathway for the rest of the climb. The sound of the rushing torrent of the Mizane will be ever-present as we continue our ascent. The trek will include plenty of rest stops and time for a morning mint tea near the sacred Muslim shrine of Sidi Chamarouch. The pilgrimage site is still used today to help heal the sick. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and rest in the warmth of the sun.

After a full day of hiking, we’ll have a nice meal and warm accommodations for the evening at the Nelter refugee with our luggage having been transported by mule to the base camp. As the sun sets and the clouds begin to rise up the gorge from the valley floor, we make our home for the evening in the dormitory-style accommodations with a substantial meal and an early night to bed.

INCLUDED:

  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner

Overnight at Nelter Refuge Gite
Estimated Hiking Time: 6 hours
Hiking Distance: 6.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,590 ft

Day 6: HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS (B, L, D)

After an early breakfast, we’ll head out to ensure the best weather and panoramas for the summit. Walking at a slow pace, respecting the altitude and making regular stops, we expect to reach the summit in about 3.5 hours. The first half of the climb is steep and rocky, which then evens out before the last hour of slopes on the well-defined trail to the summit. The last fifteen minutes is a gradual slope up to the top.

The views and the sense of achievement at reaching the roof of North Africa make the summit a special place, with the whole of the South of Morocco laid out before our eyes. On a clear day, we see other mountain ranges behind the High Atlas, such as the anti-Atlas ranges of the Sahro and the Sirwa, as well as seeing the Northern fringes of the Sahara. To the North, we may see the ski station at Oukaimeden and the plains enclosing Marrakech.

After enjoying the views, we’ll begin trekking back down the slopes and navigating over the boulders. We descend for 2.5 hours before enjoying a well-deserved hot lunch at the refuge basecamp. After lunch, we’ll continue downhill all the way back to the comfort of the Kasbah du Toubkal. This should take no more than 4.5 hours including rest breaks. At the Kasbah, we’ll enjoy an indulgent session in the hammam (Turkish Bath) before dinner, or simply put our feet up for a well-earned rest.

INCLUDED:

  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner

Overnight at Kasbah du Toubkal
Estimated Hiking Time: 3.5 hours ascending/ 7 hours descending
Hiking Distance: 12.1 miles (2.7 miles of ascent/ 9.4 Miles of descent)
Elevation Gain and Loss: 3,561 elevation gain/ 7,761 elevation loss

Day 7: HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS/ ESSAOUIRA (B)

After breakfast, our driver will take us to the relaxed coastal town of Essaouira, an exceptional example of a late 18th-century town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. We’ll stop along the way to visit a women’s Argan Oil Cooperative inside of the Argan forest. Once reaching Essaouira, at first it seems as though this could be a town in Brittany, France — with its fortified walls, fishing harbor and seagulls soaring and screaming over the town. Its whitewashed and blue-shuttered medina buildings, wood (thuya) workshops and art galleries, boat-builders and sardine fishermen all provide a colorful contrast to the urban feel of Marrakech. Essaouira has been dubbed the ‘Windy City of Africa’ and attracts many windsurfers and kite surfers, but its scenic beauty and coastal charm offer a variety of activities, and photographic opportunities are endless.

We’ll arrive at lunchtime, and after checking in at our riad, we’ll have time to explore, perhaps eating at one of the many fish stalls near to the port where the morning’s catch is on display and cooked right in front of our eyes. In the afternoon, we’ll reconvene with our guide for a tour of this charming town, exploring the port and the lively souk.

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation to Essaouira
  • Walking tour of Essaouira
  • Visit an Argan Oil Cooperative
  • Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Dar L’Oussia or similar
Estimated travel time: 5 hours by private transportation

Day 8: ESSAOUIRA (B, L)

After breakfast, we’ll saddle up for half a day’s horseback riding, which is the perfect way to see the surrounding countryside of Essaouira and the expansive beaches. The half-day trek follows the coast towards Sidi Kaouki (a surfer’s beach south of Essaouira), where we stop at ‘Le Grotte’ (the Cave), a secluded surf spot for lunch. Here we’ll have the option to relax and swim before making the return to Essaouira. The ride is tailored to the group’s ability level with plenty of opportunities to gallop along the beach!

We’ll spend the rest of the day at leisure, and enjoy a traditional hammam if you haven’t had the opportunity already.

INCLUDED:

  • Half-Day Horseback Riding
  • Visit to Hammam
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch

Overnight at Dar L’Oussia or similar

Day 9: ESSAOUIRA/ MARRAKECH (B, D)

This morning, we’ll make our journey back to Marrakech, which will take approximately three hours, with a short stop along the way. We’ll have time to visit the Quranic school of Ben Youssef and the Museum of Marrakech as well as explore the souks one last time for some last-minute browsing amongst the artisan’s workshops and to pick up a bargain handicraft. We’ll check in at the riad prior to our farewell dinner at a sleek, modern Moroccan restaurant in Marrakech.

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation to Marrakech
  • Visit to Quranic School of Ben Youssef
  • Visit to Museum of Marrakech
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Dinner

Overnight at Dellarosa or similar
Estimated travel time: 3 hours driving

Day 10: MARRAKECH (B)

Today is departure day and you are free to depart at any time.

Note: Not ready to leave? Your trip leader can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

What’s Included?

Comfort 3-4 star hotel, 7 nights
Berber Tent, 1 Night
Mountain Gite, 1 Nights
Local, English & French speaking Berber Guide
Entrance Fees
Private Transportation
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Marrakech Walking Tour
Essaouira Walking Tour
Visit to Quaranic School of Ben Youssef
Visit to Museum of Marrakech
Half-Day Horseback Riding
Visit to Hammam
Visit to an Argan Oil Cooperative
Desert Camel Ride (30 minutes)
Quad ATV Tour (1.5 hours)
Luggage, Gear transport during trek (hikers carry daypack)
Meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner)

What’s Not Included?

International airfare to Marrakech
Beverages & Meals not specified
Optional Activities
Gratuities
Personal Expenses
Travel Insurance
Airport taxes and excess baggage fees

 

Trip Length
9 Nights/ 10 Days
Travel Style
Comfort/ Basic
Physical Grading
Difficult
Price
Starting at $2495