This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. A local green energy provider powers our head office and stores; we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff; and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% PEFC certified sustainable paper.
Supporting communties is and always has been at the heart of our tours. We provide business opportunities to local people by employing local guides and tour operators. The majority of accommodation used on our tours are small-scale hotels. Our tours mainly use public transportation wherever possible and are small in size to keep our impact on fragile sites and communities as minimal as possible. We monitor the sustainability of our tours through traveler evaluations in order to allow for continuous improvement. We support the local economy and business initiatives by visiting locally-owned shops, restaurants, and markets on our tours.
Many tours incorporate community projects as a way of supplementing community income and supporting community development projects. In 2003 we founded a non-profit organization as a way for our travelers and our company to give back to the people and places we visit. We develop community projects around the world in the areas of health, education, small business development and environmental conservation. Funds are raised through traveler donations and fundraising. The company pays all administration fees which means that 100% of each individual donation goes directly to the community projects. Each year, we continue to support and develop new partnerships with more community projects and community-based tourism initiatives worldwide, in Latin America, Asia and Africa. On most tours, you have the option to visit a project as part of your trip.
Tour leaders provide travelers with information about local environmental issues in their respective regions, and provide suggestions of how we can best protect the local environment and culture. To reduce the amount of waste created on tours, tour leaders also encourage travelers to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, cotton tote bags, reusable batteries, etc. We also include destination-specific information in our guidebooks, which are provided to each traveler including information particular to the local culture and environment and tips on how to be a responsible traveler.
On this trip:
Low Impact Transportation: The type of transportation used on a trip can make the difference to local people receiving many benefits and it can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this trip we walk to the majority of our destinations, hence the name Atlas Mountain Trek! By doing so we are not emitting any unnecessary harmful emissions. Walking is the best way to get around and also experience the culture and locals on a deeper personal level and of course, it does help that it’s the most sustainable way to go!
Low Impact Accommodation: The accommodation used on a trip can make the difference between local people receiving many benefits or none at all. It can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this trip we spend 4 out of 7 nights in a Gite. Gite accommodation in the mountains is multi-share with 4 to 6 beds in each dormitory. Bedding is provided but you will need to bring a sleeping bag for additional warmth if traveling in the months Nov-April. You will need to bring your own bath towel. Bathroom facilities are unisex and shared. Each evening on return from our days of hiking, you will enjoy homemade dinners of local produce in the cozy dining room. In Marrakech we will stay in a modern, local hotel in the new town, close to the medina and other attractions.
Supporting the Local Culture & Economy: Activities that take you to homes, markets, restaurants, and villages are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism. People in rural communities, especially in developing countries, often lack access to the economy due to their location, lack of funds, or ability to market their products. Visitors offer them the chance to supplement their income whether it’s simply by buying handicrafts, eating a meal at a family-owned restaurant, this trip makes contributing to the local economy part of the adventure. Here are some real cultural immersion and learning experiences:
• Lmil to Aremd - Departing Marrakech in the morning, we journey to Imlil in the Toubkal region. We make the two-hour trek from Imlil to the little village of Aremd and the simple mountain gite that is to be our home for the next four days. Enjoy the tranquility, fantastic views and clean mountain air of this magical region.
• Tamatert - Tamatert is nature at its best. We spend the whole day trekking, our trail taking us through magnificent mountain landscapes. As with our other trekking excursions, we will be accompanied by a donkey that will carry our daypacks and picnic lunches, leaving you free to enjoy your walk. Ascending to the Tamatert pass (2,200m) be greeted by fabulous views over the neighboring valleys and summits, including the majestic Mount Toubkal peak. We return to our gite Aremd for the evening.
• Tizi M’zik - Lace up those hiking boots for another full day of exploring the Atlas Mountains. Today we pass through age-old traditional Berber stone and adobe villages clinging to the mountainsides, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. The Tizi M’zik pass (2,490m) has superb views over the Azaden and d’Aït Mizane Valleys and the surrounding peaks. Here we're invited into a Berber home to share mint tea with the local villagers before heading back to our gite for dinner.
• Sidi Chamharouch - Today we trek along the mountain slopes to find the shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m), enjoying a picnic lunch along the way. This sacred place offers a fascinating glimpse into local life, as people from all over the region come with offerings and prayers for good health and wellness, perhaps even hoping to drive away a bad jinn or two!