Information and Useful Tips for Trekkers in Morocco
We are great lovers of the outdoors, and different things come into the mind when walking, this is a culmination of one of those lines of thought. What are the most important topics when trekking... and the first one is by far the one most talked about during a trek...
Why number one!? Well because if your feet are´t happy, everything else pales into insignificance, if every step you take makes you wince in pain and discomfort, you are definitely not going to enjoy any part of the experience, or remember any other part of it for that matter.
Prepare for your trek in advance, that DOES NOT mean going for one of those fish tank pedicures or foot spas: soft feet will soon become sore and potentially blister far more easily. Keep the hard skin down by using a pumice stone after your bath or shower, but just a small amount regularly. Oil them at night and wear socks to keep them nourished in the summer to prevent a build-up of too much hard skin. If it´s safe to do so, walk around in bare feet to toughen them up. Walk in the sand on the beach if you can.
Bring plenty of comfy socks; check they don´t have lumpy seams along the toe line and they are absorbent and breathable. Aim to change them at lunch time on a trek. If possible bring two pairs of footwear (plus a pair of flip flops or similar for the evening). At the very first onset of a blister, tell someone! don´t wait; immediate action can make all the difference. That first burning or pinching shouldn´t be ignored. Sometimes protection is better if you know you have a weak point or a toe that always rubs; bind it up before you start out. Check and redress at lunch time. Make sure your nails are short and no sharp edges can dig in to neighbouring toe. Make sure the upper part of your shoes is not going to put pressure on your toes, or when you trek downhill that your toes aren´t going to be banging on the inside, this will surely give you a nasty bruise and a blister under the toenail; quite painful I might add, and almost always leads to the nail dying and falling off. This type of blister is one of those that you should burst and dress. I personally found that trek shoes are more user friendly here in Morocco because of the variety of terrain, hard high ankled boots don´t seem as comfy to me, also, the trek shoes have a softer top which is better for the toes. Obviously for winter treks in snow there are different requirements. For some useful tips, check out this guy, plus there´s a link for more serious remedies on his page: https://gearjunkie.com/blister-treatment-hiking-outdoors.
One more point... if you generally suffer with foot odour, try to eliminate alcohol from your lifestyle before the trek, also look to your diet, the body often eliminates toxins through the feet as well as underarms, causing a bad smell. If it persists, then do please be thoughtful of your companions and team, wash your feet and socks and leave shoes, boots, socks etc outside your tent or room.
Our team prepares your meals with traditional dishes using locally produced seasonal nutritious ingredients. Most things are bought in the local souk on the first day of the trek. Everything is then carried by mule. Meat and certain other items we buy daily as and where we can find in the villages on the way. Provisions in the remote villages are naturally more expensive and choices are limited. We also bring plenty of nutritious snacks, like figs, dates, nuts and fruits of the season. We bring bottled water; you can use purification methods if you wish to drink local water. The water can often be mineral rich. If you wish to purchase other items, please do so at the start of the trek or bring enough small change as some villages have small shops; called hanouts, with provisions. Although not recommended… usually fizzy drinks, crisps and all manner of biscuits, chocolates and sweets are on sale. If you have any types of allergies, please inform us at the time of booking.
A typical trek lunch would consist of a hot dish, freshly prepared salads with tinned fish and fresh bread, fruits and water. Evening meals would be tagines, couscous, perhaps grilled meats if the facilities are available. Breakfast: tea, coffee, porridge oats, breads, cheese, jam, dried fruits and nuts and eggs if they are available. We usually take dried milk for convenience. There is always plenty to eat on our treks!! If you wish to bring your own selection of snacks, or some specific dietary items, please feel free to do so. You may also like to bring your own tea as not everyone likes the hot sweet Moroccan tea, we would like to say that for many people, drinking this strong tea in the late afternoon and evening does impair restful sleep. We also offer teas with just herbs like lemon verbena to aid a better nights rest.
We work with small rural families. Our guides, muleteers and accommodations are all small family run. We always shop locally and sometimes directly from villagers. Rural Berber life faces many challenges, economically, meteorologically and culturally. Booking your trekking tours with us guarantees helping these remote villagers with direct income and maintains their fragile ecosystem. We strive to be as eco-friendly as possible and practice sustainable tourism. We ask that you do not give children sweets and pens etc. this has a long term detrimental effect on their concepts of tourism. They learn to become beggars too young and can become enraged if their demands aren´t met. It is therefore better never to start this process. We prefer to use the age old method of barter; a loaf of bread or some eggs in exchange for some clothing or shoes is far more beneficial on both sides. As new tracks are built connecting remote villages with 4 wheels instead of just 4 legs, please remember some villagers may never have seen a westerner, and may be afraid, particularly women and small children. We hope that your visit to these regions will enrich your lives as much as it does ours and you will share your adventures for many years.
Fun.Always remember, you are on holiday!! it´s meant to be fun too!!. The mountains of Morocco and the Deserts are on very varied terrain, some easy, some moderate and some pretty hard, but always there is time for fun and laughter; this is an experience that may well change your life, we want it to a happy time for you too.
Photos and videos.
Last and by no means least the subject of photos. Take full advantage of the magnificent scenery, panoramic views and the small stuff too. Bring plenty of memory cards and backup power packs for recharging during the day, solar packs are available too in outdoor stores. If you wish to take pictures of people; please ask, don´t take sneaky ones and hope no one noticed, many do not like it and certainly women do not want their pictures on the internet. This is an area where tourism can destroy the fragile balance of trust in small villages, this applies to videos too. Please be sensitive to this issue.
The Atlas Mountains present some superb and also challenging treks with ascents and descents from 1500 to 4167m with high mountain passes. Many treks are graded T3 and T4 for this reason, therefore, we advise that you have hiking experience and are reasonably active on the hills for the longer treks.
One of the main differences people find in Morocco is the climate; it can be very dry in the regions of the Atlas. The lack of humidity coupled with hot sun, altitude and mountain breezes can play havoc on your skin and energy levels. People suffer from headaches as they do not drink enough water to combat these climatic nuances, skin and lips can dry out a lot and some struggle with the afternoon temperatures. You should be aware of your level of fitness and endurance as some treks are demanding with very varied terrain and altitude. Nights can be cold, even in summer if your camp is high up and the sun doesn’t reach it. Days can be hot and you are well advised to come prepared.
Accommodation on treks can be in simple Berber homes made of adobe with basic facilities, others are purpose built guesthouses / lodges or gites with all the basic necessities. Wild camps are just that.. tents for sleeping, a cooking tent for preparing the meals, no facilities other than what nature offers. Warm water for washing is available at the camp from the cook or other mule team guys. During the day, the mules will carry all the gear, you carry just your day pack with water, snacks if you wish, camera and any clothing items you may wish to bring.. at lunch time, water can be refilled, socks changed etc.
A final note....
Trekking is an exhilarating pastime and we prefer that there is no alcohol or substances during the trek, impaired senses can be a danger to one and all in a group. Smokers, please be thoughtful of non-smokers and only smoke outside, away from people eating and if possible downwind. We try our best to be eco-friendly, vegetable peelings and leftovers are given to animals and plastics are returned with us. We take care not to take anything but photos and memories and to leave nothing but new friends, footprints and mule poop! Please be good ambassadors and respect the rules of the countryside, the environment and this fragile eco-system. Thank you.
Know your limitations:
Some of our treks are demanding as the terrain is so varied and long days of up to 20 km plus ascents and descents.There are no age limits to trekking as long as you are in good physical shape, have a sense of adventure, are flexible and we recommend that you have adequate insurance. It would be advisable to let us know if you are taking medication or if you have any allergies/conditions that we should be aware of. If you are not used to the sun on a regular basis, you may find the intensity of it difficult, we had one afternoon when the temperatures went crazy and we had to take local transport as the group were unable to walk in it.
We as trek organizers are flexible and usually can alter a program and can also find some local transport in villages if need be. Likewise the guide can read the ability of trekkers and change the route if it proves too challenging.
When we planned the route, it came out at around 300km, but we didn’t know exactly where it would take us as it hadn’t been done before. We calculated on doing around 30km per day, although I knew that for some days in the mountains this would be impossible. They are very high and pointy. It wasn’t distance that was going to be our enemy it was the amount of ascending and descending in very tough terrain.
After the second day, we had left tourist Morocco far behind. We were still in the high part of the mountains, but we were now passing through villages where I was the first western person they had met. The landscape was stunning. High, rocky passes dotted with juniper trees, long sand and boulder filled river valleys and, wherever there was water, the brilliant green of intensively-farmed terraces cut out of the rock.
The modern world was gone. Every place we passed through, we were offered hospitality. In Amslan village, we were invited in for some tea by a local builder. As we approached the house, the 15 year old daughter caught sight of me and started crying hysterically and ran to hide behind her mother. A couple of months before, she had been working in the house alone and heard a knock at the door. She went to open it and was confronted by a strange man on the doorstep holding a large snake. He was a travelling snake charmer, who regularly go round the villages, acting as soothsayers and entertainers. But she hadn’t recovered from the shock, and seeing another strange-looking person, she wasn’t taking any chances.
Water was a constant preoccupation. In the mountains, we could fill up from clear springs, just making sure we weren’t near any animal or human contamination. In the villages, we could knock at any door, and someone would come out with a bottle wrapped in a cool wet rag. That first sip of cold water when you are really hot and really thirsty tastes better than any other thing on earth.
Our food staple was bread, which we bought or were given along the way, sardines in tomato sauce which we had bought in Imlil, and one precious cucumber for the first few days. Rachid swore it was that cucumber that made his bag so heavy.
We saw lots of wild life as we walked. Turtles swimming free in the river, rock squirrels, neon-winged crickets who serenaded us along the route, a chameleon and some absolutely enormous frogs. I swear one was as big as a small cat.
One particularly heavy day, we set off from Ouizamar and headed for the Tischka Plateau, which is a popular camp for nomads for the summer pastures. It was a very wild section, following a river up towards a clutch of rocky passes. We didn’t see anyone all day. We had been walking for around ten hours and there was no still no sign of anyone. We needed to get up as high as we could, so that Rachid could spot out which of the passes to go for. There weren’t even any goat tracks. We struggled up another steep ascent, and then suddenly, the sweet smell of shampoo assailed us. A very smart young guy in loafers with a little backpack, popped his head up over the rocks.
” Ah the Tischka Plateau, you need to go that way, he said pointing over a high pass. This whole region is called Tischka, if you had taken the earlier pass on the left, you would have ended up far away from where you need to be.”
Rachid turned to me after he had left. “God sent him to us, Alice,” he said and I had to agree. Two hours later, we were setting up camp in a spot that could have been Switzerland, with happily munching cows all around us, and young nomad children coming over to make friends and give us firewood in exchange for lollipops.
Most of our nights were spent sleeping in villages. A family would take us in and feed us, heat up water for us to wash in and then let us sleep in their salon. The people in this part of Morocco are mainly Amazigh – free men – the correct word for Berber, which is a name introduced by the French. They speak Tashlaheet, and some also speak Arabic. They are Muslims. Their society is traditional, communal and based on subsistence farming. Everyone works hard, including the children. Most children get to go to primary school, there will be one that serves several villages, but very few go to secondary school. Extended families tend to live together and sharing is at the core of their way of life.
Their kindness and hospitality were staggering. People who had so little, were willing, in fact desperate, to share it with us. “Ish, ish, (eat eat),” they would urge, as they set out whatever they had in front of us. Bread, fermented butter, honey, oil and cold buttermilk with couscous or rice. At night, we would all sit together, or sometimes the men and women would be segregated, to share a tagine – a meat and vegetable stew, steamed in a clay pot with a pointed lid.
There is a very particular way to eat tagine. You sit on the floor around the circular table, with the big pot in the middle. The host breaks up big pieces of bread and then shares them round the table. You all say, “Bismillah – in the Name of God,” and then tuck in, using your bread as a spoon. You only eat with your right hand. Everyone eats sparingly, sopping up the gravy first and then taking pieces of vegetables and potatoes. The mother or father takes the meat out of the tagine and at the end, divides it up equally and then puts a little pile in front of you to eat, so that everyone gets a fair share of that precious protein.
Once we had crossed over from the Toubkal side of the mountains, the temperatures soared into the 40s, and the sun got really hot, especially in the valleys. My feet had swollen hugely, exploding out of my boots by the third day and I spent the rest of the Expedition walking in Rachid’s knackered but blissfully soft old Brook’s trainers. Those trainers saved me, I would not have been able to finish it in my boots. I had been wearing them happily for five years, but the difference between trekking and this journey where we were on our legs for 12 – 18 hours a day straight up and down over the high and rocky mountain passes, rendered them useless.
We were on a mission to successfully complete the Expedition and this kept us going, long after we had stopped enjoying that particular day or segment. We had wonderful truants, though. One day in the river valley on the way to Teswakht, we passed a group of about ten boys frolicking in a deep pool, surrounded by rocks. ” Do you want to go in?” Rachid asked. My shoes were off, and I was in, fully clothed and happy as a porpoise by the time he had got his rucksack off. Cool water and weightlessness with lots of laughing boys dive bombing us, that memory stayed with me for days.
Three days before the end, we left the mountains, hit the motorway and the desert plains with goats eating the argan nuts in the trees and camels sheltering under them. I took a nasty fall about 90 kms before the end as we were trying to stay off the highway and clambering over slag heaps. My foot twisted under me, and I dreaded a break, but although it swelled and throbbed, it was still walkable. God was still watching over us.
One whole day walking by the main road, with never a water stop in sight. We came across a truck full of melons heading for Agadir, stopped under a flyover. We bought one and then had a melon party, inviting a hitchhiker and the two truck drivers to join our feast. The Amazigh mentality, like the Scots, is not to waste anything, so we continued on that day, fuller of melon than you would normally wish to be.
From the days, feeling endless, suddenly the end was in sight. We got up at 4 am for our last day on the road, eager now to reach our goal. Our last 10km was past the car salesrooms and suburbs of the modern city of Agadir. Just three days before, we had been in the simple purity of the mountains. We were ready for the end. First, we heard the sea, the low strum of the waves, then we smelt it, and a few kilometres on, after second breakfast, we caught our first glimpse. Then, there it was ahead of us.
Rachid and I walked straight down onto the sand; tired, limping and filthy. We clasped hands, looked at each other and waded into the water, grinning from ear to ear. The Atlas to Atlantic Expedition was done. We had become the first people ever to walk that route, from the highest point in North Africa, down to the sea. 300km of joy, pain and indelible memories.
A part of this two day trek leads across the Ouirgane National Park.
Ouirgane area is significant with red color, its slopes are covered with juniper trees and dotted with traditional flat – roofed houses made of stone. One of the villages has a big hamam (steam bath), which can be visited as a part of the trekking route. The big waterfall is one of the highlights of this hike.
This trek offers a chance to experience a Berber way of living, eat local tajine and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains.
These daily excursions are a great option for those who want to escape the urban noise of Marrakech and chill out a bit amidst the greenery in the heart of the Atlas mountains. Labyrinth of paths, which have been walked for centuries, terraced houses – each of them offering a stunning view to the mountain peaks, passing by the solid walls of the Kasbah. Apple and walnut orchards along the way to the village of Aremd in the altitude of 2000 m. Watching the grinning children passing by from school, visiting the local manufacture selling the products of Arghan oil and finally enjoying a bowl of tajine, couscous or some other local delicacy in a family run guesthouse.
Departure : 9H
Return : 17H00
Services Including : Private transport from/to Marrakech , lunch in a Berber house, English speaking guide, 2 hours guided walk, coffee, tea and water.
Day 1: Marrakech – Ijoukak (N’fiss valley – Ait Moussa village (Aggandis valley)
Pick up from your accommodation, then a Transfer to Agandis valley nearby Ijoukak area along the N’fis valley; where we will meet up with our trekking crew and departure to Ait Moussa village, crossing several villages along the Rural Agandis valley, such as (Tijghijt, Tazgart etc). Dinner and overnight in a Berber house, 5 hours walking.
Day 2: Ait Moussa village - Timdodin pass 2600m – Amslan valley
After breakfast, we begin our trek toward Amslan valley passing by the pass of Timdodin 2600m, where we will stop to take some beautiful pictures over the two valley (Agandis & Amslan valleys), then down to the valley of Amslan with its beautiful Berber villages, dinner and overnight in a Berber house with a local Berber family where we will enjoy a delicious homemade dinner.
Day 3: Amslan valley – Tizgi village (D’kant valley) - Assif Zagzawn valley
After a hearty breakfast, we start our walk towards Assif Zagzawn, passing by the authentic valley of D’kant where we will have lunch or a cop of mint-tea in Houssien’s House, (a Berber man who lived there with his wife for many years), then we ascend toward the valley of Assif Zagzawn, via the pass of Tizi N’tououtit 2500m overnight in a Berber house, 6 hours walk.
Day 4: Assif Zagzawn – Ouirgan national park – Marigh village
After breakfast we live Assif Zagzawn and walk toward the Ouirgan National park, by crossing the villages of Tikhfist, Anraz etc. We have a chance to stop for lunch in one of the villages. And also an opportunity to visit the salt mines of Marigha, which will be the highlight of the walk. Dinner and overnight in a home stay, at the village of Tinzart, 6 hours walking.
Day 5: Tinzart – Lbour pass 1900m – Tagadirt Ait Ali village – Imsker village
this morning we climb up to Lbor N’tizi pass 1900m, and then a downhill walk through the beautiful forest among the juniper and oak trees to the village of Tagadirt N’ait Ali and then to Imighlad where we will stop for lunch, before we head to the Berber village of I Imsker via the Mountain pass of Tizi N’lbour .
Overnight in a local Berber Gite
Day 6: Imsker village Imnan valley - Oussertek Valley - Tinoughar - Tidli - Agadir village
After a hearty breakfast we head northward across the Imnan Valley then ascend up through rocky paths and juniper trees to the Berber villages of Tinoughar, Tidli and finally to the Berber village of Agadir where we will spend the night in a family run gite.
Day 7: Agadir - Gliz village (oussertek valley) - Tizi n´Taratine - Amsakrou - Tinerhourhine (Tashdirt valley)
This is an impressive place to start your day, the views down the valley from this location are outstanding, with terraced fields of barley and corn, fruit trees and vegetables, every accessible part of the mountainsides has been cultivated to feed this remote group of villages. The rich earth contrasts with the lush greens, and the surrounding mountains. We continue our trek up to the village of Gliz and from there, over the pass of Tizi n´Taratine 2200m. After a well needed lunch break; we trek down to the Imenane Valley and the village of Tinerhourhine for the nights’ accommodation.
Day 8: Tinerhourhine - Tizi n´Tamatert 2300m- Armed village
You will have seen your zigzag route for this morning as you descended to the valley yesterday. It is a slow climb up the 300 metres to the pass of Tizi n´Tamatert, but the views make it worth the effort, plus the option to have freshly squeezed orange juice at the pass. We trek down through the trees and have lunch in a shady spot before we carry on to the village of Armed where you will spend the night in a Berber Gite.
Day 9: Armed village Imlil valley - Toubkal refuge 3207m
After a hearty breakfast we will set off for a 6 hours walk towards the Toubkal refuge passing by the Shrine of Sidi Chamharouch where we will stop for lunch, before we continue to the refuge where we will spend the night.
Day 10: Refuge - Toubkal summit - Imlil - Marrakech
The next day starts with an early wake up to escape from the full power of the Sun. Breakfast is served around 5:00 am. We will begin the ascent climb at 5:30 am. In the middle of our climb we will stop for a short break with some refreshments – water, oranges and nuts. After walking uphill for some 3-4 hours, we will be able to enjoy a picturesque view of all the High Atlas Mountains, valleys and Berber villages. When reaching the summit, we will have a break of 45 minutes to take pictures and enjoy the magnificent view. Afterwards we will return back to the refuge where we will have lunch and then continue our walk back to Imlil valley where we will meet with the driver who will take you back to Marrakech, there is an option of spending a night in Imlil instead of Marrakech.
What’s including on the trek:
Walking length: Minimum 5 to 6 hours - Maximum 11 hours on the last day
With Moroccan tourist arrivals now reaching 10,000,000+ each year according to The World Bank data, it is regarded as one of the most beneficial factors within Moroccan economy. This is no surprise due to its rural mountainous region, vast desert expanse and ancient Arabic culture that is on offer to the general public.
TripAdvisor ranks Morocco’s top 10 travel destinations for tourists
With Moroccan tourist arrivals now reaching 10,000,000+ each year according to The World Bank data, it is regarded as one of the most beneficial factors within Moroccan economy. This is no surprise due to its rural mountainous region, vast desert expanse and ancient Arabic culture that is on offer to the general public.
The Moroccan Minister of Tourism, has the vision that by 2020 Morocco should be amongst the 20 largest global destinations and is determined to make it a unique destination in which to visit.
Taking into consideration all of its ancient medinas, local souq’s and beach town venues, TripAdvisor have narrowed down Morocco’s top 10 travel destinations making it a short, sweet and colourful summary for those who are looking to make the most out of their time in this beautiful, cultured country, starting at number 10. Keep on reading to find out which destination the Moroccan Minister of Tourism also personally regards as one of the best.
10. El Jadida – This 16th-century-built Portuguese city is based on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and is well known for its surviving Portuguese buildings (the cistern, the Catholic Church or the Assumption) after having been rehabilitated during the 19th century. El Jadida’s tourism industry is booming during the summer months due to holiday-makers flocking for the beach, nearby five-star resort complexes and golf courses.
9. Ouarzazate – “The tiny Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is a caramel-colored oasis set against a clear blue African sky. Be inspired by Ait Benhaddou, a beautifully preserved Kasbah that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, or walk in the starry path of celebrities by taking a tour of one of Ouarzazate’s two movie studios. Tour the surrounding dunes on camel-back, or simply bask in the quiet bustle of the bargaining sessions at local markets.”
8. Merzouga – “Bask in glorious sunsets and channel your inner sheik while you ride a meandering camel across the windblown dunes of Erg Chebbi. Merzouga, a small village in southeast Morocco, gives visitors a taste of desert life, and treks to nearby villages will reward you with African revelry, including music and dance.”
7. Rabat – “Morocco’s coastal capital since 1912, Rabat has just over a million people. Modern and even reserved by Moroccan standards, the city also has many fascinating historic sites, including the picturesque Kasbah of the Udayas, built in the mid-12th century. The unique Hassan Tower, begun at the end of the 12th century, was meant to have the world’s largest minaret, but was never completed. Just opposite the tower lies the 20th-century Mausoleum of Mohammed V, another of the city’s main attractions.”
6. Tangier – “Located on the Strait of Gibraltar where Africa meets Europe, Tangier has long held strategic importance. Ruled through the centuries by waves of conquerors including Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs and Portuguese, the city is more than two and a half millennia old, making it one of North Africa’s most ancient. The medina, kasbah, bazaars and souks are among the country’s most vibrant, and the beaches are excellent.”
5. Agadir – “Soak up the sun on the well-maintained beaches of Agadir, southern Morocco’s most-visited city. Palm-lined boulevards and beachfront bars add a decidedly Western-resort feel, amplified by the large number of Europeans who flock here in the winter months. It’s all about laid-back relaxation in Agadir, so ride a camel, rent a beach buggy, check out the Suq al-Had market or take the 20-minute walk up to the ruins of the Agadir Kasbah for expansive city views if you’re taking a break from the beach.”
4. Fez – “The oldest university in the world isn’t Oxford or the Sorbonne—it’s the University of Al-Karaouine, and you’ll find it in Fes el Bali. This walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will transport you back to medieval times. Visit the ancient maze-like quarters of the Medina to Fes el-Bali and the four imposing Gates of Fes, with their distinctive Moroccan tile work. You can walk, or, if you’re brave, take a taxi—the daredevil drivers will have you hanging on for dear life.”
3. Essaouira – “Portuguese, French and Berber architecture frame the maze-like streets of Essaouira, a charming and vibrant port and resort town on the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby, couples and families stroll the beaches of Cape Sim and Sidi Kaouki, which also attract surfers of all types. Relaxation is easy to find here, as is a bus to Marrakech, for those looking for a daytrip.”
2. Casablanca – “Today Casablanca is a large, modern city, but the former French colonial post still allows myriad movie moments for those who want to revisit love in the medina and Old City. Casa (as locals call it) isn’t too touristy, but it’s the most cosmopolitan and Western-feeling city in Morocco. Visit The King Hassan II Mosque and Casa’s Medina.”
In addition to this, Lahcen Haddad, told Morocco World News that Casablanca is distinguished by a heritage and cultural dynamism which has “helped the city make many strategic investments,” including the building of Marina, urban rehabilitation, valuation of the ancient city, and the preservation of architectural heritage in the new Medina.
This city has also made great improvements in air connectivity by expanding existing flights and opening new lines, according to the Minister.
A shot of a hooded man in the Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech by Takashi Nakagawa1. Marrakech – “The “Red City” of Marrakesh is a magical place, brimming with markets, gardens, palaces, and mosques. Exploring the intimate courtyards and snaking alleyways of the historic Medina can easily eat up a day. Find inner peace at the serene Jardin Majorelle or take in the beauty of one of the city’s historic mosques (taking note that, unless you are Muslim, you are not allowed to enter).”
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Ecotourism is front and center in Morocco’s strategy for new tourist attractions. As the fear of terrorism, international competition, and other challenges have hindered development of the tourism sector, finding a broader strategy for tourism is now essential.
The efforts the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism has made in recent years to market Morocco as a prime destination for ecotourism are getting the world’s attention.
The development of ecotourism in Morocco is a hot topic as the city of Marrakech gears up to host the COP 22 summit in November, as reported on French TV channel TF1 on Tuesday.
The report highlighted Berber Farm, an environmentally-friendly hotel located 15 minutes away from downtown Marrakesh. With its organic vegetable garden, farm animals and pool, the hotel offers both tranquility and entertainment.
A French family from Toulouse staying at the hotel were interviewed in the report and found Berber Farm the best of both worlds.
“I had seen them before in a picture or a movie or something like that, but in real life it’s not the same thing,” says the teenage son as pets a donkey with a curious smile on his face. Customers pick the vegetables and fruits that are used to prepare their meals themselves from the organic garden.
In embarking on a strategy of ecotourism, the Moroccan government has signed a charter to encourage professionals to develop new practices that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. For instance, waste water is now used for the maintenance of 12 golf courses throughout Marrakech.
The Moroccan government has also implemented a ranking system specifically for green hotels. Berber Farm received a “Green Key” ranking, which to requires to follow strict guidelines.
“We are super proud to say that we sort waste, make our own compost, and use a drip irrigation system; we must respect water and people love that,” explains Majd, the co-director of Berber Farm.
Sustainability at the forefront of Morocco’s 2020 Vision
Sustainability is at the forefront of Morocco’s tourism strategy. Sustainable tourism is vital because the sector represents about 12% of the country’s GDP.
Such efforts are part of Morocco’s new policy to encourage sustainable development and achieve its Vision 2020 Tourism Strategy. Through this strategy, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism aims to make Morocco’s tourism industry more competitive, increase Morocco’s bed capacity to 372,300, attract 20 million tourists by 2020, and make Morocco one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
The protection of the environment and the promotion of an ecofriendly tourism lies at the front of the 2020 Vision Tourism Strategy, as Morocco seeks to become one of the main destination for sustainable tourism (or ecotourism) in the Mediterranean.
From its labyrinth-like souks to the splendour of the oldest degree-granting university in the world (the Qarawiyyin), it is a city full of hidden gems, which reveal itself to the wayfarer who fully embraces the city.
The second largest city in Morocco dubbed the ‘Athens of Africa’, Fes is home to one of the largest car-free urban areas, the old medina, Fes al-Bali, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Whilst it is heralded for its various sites and attractions, it is after all, the people that make this city what it is. Its exterior, characterised by its buildings and monuments, behold a marvel to the eyes, but it is the interior, the people, which behold a marvel to the heart.
Day 1: Marrakech - Tizi'n'Tichka - Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate - Dades Valley/gorges
Depart at 08AM from Marrakesh to Dades Gorges via the mountain pass of Tizi n'Tichka (2260m), throughout the High Atlas Mountains. We will have time to stop and enjoy the sceneries. We will also have an opportunity to visit the UNESCO heritage site of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. We will pass through Ouarzazate sometimes called Hollywood of Africa since it has been a famous destination for filmmakers. After ouarzazate we will continue to Dades valley where we will spend the night in a hotel.
Day 2: Dades Gorges - Tenghir - Todra Gorges - Erfoud - Merzouga
AFB, we will start driving from Dades gorges to the Erg Chebbi sand dunes in Merzouga. We will pass through Tinjdad, Jorf and Erfoud, and then continue to Merzouga, where we will start our camel ride. Upon the arrival at the nomadic camp the dinner will be served.
night in Berber tents
Day 3: Erg Chebbi Desert - Merzouga - Ziz Valley - Midellt - Ifrane - Fes
After an early sunrise, we will ride the camels back to Merzouga, where we will stop for breakfast, and then start our day towards Fes. During the drive we will be passing through the High Atlas mountains again via the mountain pass of Tizi n’Talghamt (2000m) on the way to Fes. Arrival to Fes, which will be the end of our trip.
This tour starts in Marrakech and takes you to the south side of Morocco for duration of 3 days and 2 nights. The tour give you a chance to see and visit some of the most interesting sites in Morocco, such as Telouet Kasbah and Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, including the magnificent Dades and Todra gorges and Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Here you will be riding camels, watching Saharan sunsets and enjoying the tranquility of the Moroccan Sahara Desert.
These daily excursions are a great option for those who want to escape the urban noise of Marrakech. We offer fantastic attractions and day tours from Marrakech to Atlas Mountains, Desert, Ouzoud waterfalls, Berber Villages; the selection features the most popular attractions in the Moroccan cities and many more, making sure there's something to suit all tastes. Where will your sightseeing adventure begin? Our services include arrangements for, transportation, and guided excursions throughout Morocco. Whether you are traveling solo or in a group, and /or looking for a cultural or adventurous experience, we are here to work with you in customizing the perfect itinerary for your holiday.
Aguelzim mountain is located above the Azzaden valley and offers stunning views over the Atlas summit. Due to the elevation, the trek is considered one of the hardest, but also one of the most beautiful.
Day 1: Marrakech - Imlil - Azzaden valley - Tamsoult Refuge
After your transfer from Marrakech to Imlil (1,780m), you will set off on a 6 hour trek out of the Imlil Valley and into the Azzaden Valley. Along the way you will pass Tizi n’Mzik at 2,450m, the refuge at Azib n’Tansoult and the Ighouliden waterfalls. Overnight in the Lipeney mountain refuge at 3,000m ( or before at Azib n Tamsoult).
Day 2: Tamsoult Refuge - Aguelzim Pass (3650) - Toubkal Refuge
Today involves a fairly stiff climb out of the Azzaden Valley to the Toubkal refuge over the Aguelzim mountain pass at 3,560 m. Lunch will be taken with spectacular views over the Atlas mountain range. Overnight in the Toubkal refuge (Neltner Hut) where you will likely be sharing a bunk room with other trekkers tackling Toubkal early the next morning.
Day 3: Toubkal Refuge - Toubkal summit - Imlil - Marrakech
Up early for the climb up Toubkal (4,167 m) from where, clouds allowing, you will have wonderful views over the Atlas range and the Sahara desert. T hen a long way back down past the refuge and the well-worn path back to Imlil. This is a fairly long day with 8-9 hours of trekking, involving 900m up then almost 2,500 m back down to Imlil. You will normally be dropped off at around 5.00 pm in Marrakech.
The path leading from Imlil directly to the Jebel Toubkal is a perfect choice for those who want to get straight on top. This two-day trek with an overnight stay in a mountain refuge and an early morning set off for the peak provides marvelous moments observing the silent beauty of the rocks lit up with the sun’s first rays.
Day 1: Marrakech – Imlil – Sidi Chamcharouch – Toubkal Refuge
You will be picked up from your hotel in Marrakech around 8:00 am. Our driver will take you to Imlil (1740m), a Berber village located about 65 km south from Marrakech, where from our trek will start. Here we will meet the Berber muleteer crew. They will accompany you during this exciting trek and take care of your baggage, food and other necessary equipment.An official and experienced mountain guide will take you on a walk through the Berber villages via the shrine Sidi Chamharouch (2500m) to reach the mountain hut. Here we will stop for a picnic lunch, prepared before hand by our cook. After enjoying the lunch and having a short break, we will continue towards the Refuge (3200m). A glass of tasty mint tea will be served for you there. Hot shower will be available to wash off the dust from your body and freshen up for the next day. In the evening a traditional Moroccan meal will be prepared for dinner. During summer months there is an option to spend a night in the tent.
Day 2 : Toubkal Refuge – Summit – Return to Imlil
The next day starts with an early wake up to escape from the full power of the Sun. Breakfast is served around 5:00 am. We will begin the ascent climb at 5:30am. In the middle of our climb we will stop for a short break with some refreshments – water, oranges and nuts. After walking uphill for some 3-4 hours, we will be able to enjoy a picturesque view of all the High Atlas Mountains, valleys and Berber villages. When reaching the summit, we will have a break of 45 minutes to take pictures and enjoy the magnificent view. Afterwards we return back to the hut, where the lunch will be awaiting for us. To get back to Imlil we will follow the same route down the hill. From Imlil we wil be taken back to Marrakech.
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