Walking in Morocco travel guide

Walking in Morocco travel guide


2 MINUTE SUMMARY

Anyone who has swerved their way through a sweltering Marrakech
souk might not guess at the peaceful walking trails and cool, unspoiled scenery
that lie beyond Morocco’s capital – but they are waiting to be discovered in the
Atlas Mountains by anyone with walking boots and a few days to spare.
Marrakech is less than four hours’ flight from London, and the High Atlas less
than 70km from the city. Once here, a network of trails threads through traditional villages and lush valleys, while Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, beckons serious climbers. The Anti-Atlas lie further south and offer empty trails with gentler gradients, plus the chance to hike up Jebel Aklim for spectacular views to the big peaks in the north. One thing all ranges have in common is the Berber people. Traditional, trusting and tuned in to sustainable, mountain living, they guide you into their world with expertise and warmth.

Read on to discover more in our walking vacations in Morocco travel guide.

Is a walking vacation in Morocco for you?


Responsible Travel recommends

GO ON A WALKING IN MOROCCO HOLIDAY IF…


… you can only get away in high summer. The Atlas Mountains, where most walking trips are based, are much cooler than the rest of the Morocco, even in summer, where there can be a 15°C difference between the coast and the peaks.
…you prefer the road less travelled. In the Atlas Mountains, valleys, canyons and rocky peaks seem to stretch into infinity. For an utterly uncommercial experience, head to the remote Anti-Atlas in winter, when trekking is about empty trails, clean air and only Berber people for company.
… you’re up for a serious challenge. Summiting Mount Toubkal, at 4,167m, requires good fitness and some climbing experience, and should only be tackled with an expert mountain guide. It’s strenuous in all seasons, but in winter demands ice axes and crampons.
… you want some culture, too. High Atlas walking vacations generally include time to explore Marrakech and while trekking you can learn more about local Berber life, too. You can even choose to accompany a Berber family and their livestock as they make their walk between summer and winter pastures.

DON’T GO ON A WALKING IN MOROCCO HOLIDAY IF…


… you like a paved path. Rough, stony trails thread across the Atlas Mountains. Generally, walks aren’t technically difficult, but expect a few steep ascents and descents and a smattering of scrambling, especially in the High Atlas.
…you love luxury. Treat yourself to a luxe riad in Marrakech, but once on the trails, be prepared for accommodation to be basic, with shared rooms and simple facilities. You’ll need a sleeping bag, too. Camping is usually wild, but it’s a great way to get close to the landscape.
… you have the appetite of a bird. Catering on treks and in gites tends to be hearty, with tagines, couscous, bread, salads, nuts and fruit.
… you want to go it alone. The crisscrossing mule tracks, lack of common language in the mountains and changeable weather can leave independent travelers stranded. Best to book an organised trek with an experienced guide. Don’t be tempted to use guides who tout for work at the start of trails, as you can’t be sure of their experience.
… you’re hoping to bring the kids. Most organised treks have a minimum age of 15.

Best time to go on a Morocco walking vacation


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Click on a location: Imlil | Marrakesh
The best time to go on a walking vacation in Morocco is Mar-Nov. During spring and autumn in the High Atlas the sun is strong but the air is cool, although April can be wet. Moroccan summers are hot and even the lower valleys of the High Atlas can get up to 29°C, so it’s only at 3,000m and above that warm clothing is needed. Winter ascents of Mount Toubkal are possible, but nights drop well below freezing, with snow typically falling from late Oct or early Nov. There is no snow in the Anti-Atlas, so trekking is great here Dec-Feb, with sunny days and cold nights.
Photo credits: [Topbox: Jørn Eriksson] [Tempchart: Anders Fongen] [Helpdesk: Jørn Eriksson]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
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