One of the ancient capitals of Morocco, Marrakech has a long and fabled history. Surrounded by huge red mud walls and just 65km from the towering Atlas Mountains, modern Marrakech has lost none of that charm, with its soul firmly rooted in the Djemaa el-Fna – the huge square at the heart of life here.
Myriad souks lead away from the Djemaa el-Fna (thought to mean ‘assembly of the dead’), and they can keep a wanderer happy for hours. But it is the square itself, with its acrobats, storytellers, snake charmers, boxing matches and food stalls, that provides the main draw for the population of this great city, as well as a great place for people-watching.
Marrakech Adventure Holidays
15 DaysfromUSD 1,399
Guided Group (Incl. Taxes)
Imperial cities, Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast
The mount toubkal trek is an amazing week away. We were looked after the whole week, kept well fed, and taken up the climbs at a good pace. There were great views throughout, and plenty of rest time from the treks.
This Exodus Mount Toubkal trip is a little longer than some and I feel it is much better for it. The route undertaken allows for good altitude acclimatisation over the common two day itinery direct from Imlil village. I/we found the estimated walking times on the trip notes to be quite conservative, our group must have been pretty speedy. Most days we arrived at camp at least an hour under the estimate. The camps themselves are wild camps with no on site facilities other than a portaloo toilet tent. Local people or team members did bring bottled water and fizzy drinks to the camp for purchase, with an altitude price premium. The tents used were by Salewa and a good size, they seemed quite new. At Toubkal base camp our camp was set up a few hundred metres downhill of the two constructed mountain refuges, across a stream. It was a short, few minutes, walk to the refuge where you could use (for a small charge) the showers or buy snacks, water and fizzy drinks from the kiosk shop. During the trek all food is provided and it was very good, my only slight criticism is that maybe there could have been some more variety but I also fully understand we were on a mountain… where Tesco don’t deliver. For any trip like this we often find ourselves deliberarting over the best kit and clothing to take. My departure was 6th August. It was blazing hot in Marrakech and on our last full day in the Medina it was 47C. On the low slopes of the first day of hiking it was 41C. On summit day we started off before dawn and it was 18C. Heavy thermal gear (and sleeping bag) was not required. I did not need my hybrid fleece jacket at all but we are all different. A long sleeve heavy merino t-shirt and wind jacket was as heavy as I went on summit day. What took me by surprise was the rain. Don’t forget your rain gear. In the afternoon of our summit day there was a torrential rain storm for maybe two hours of non stop very heavy rain. In fact every afternoon in the mountains there was short lived rain and thunder. I don’t know if this pattern was a high summer thing or all year round. I’m not the biggest user of walking poles ever but was glad I brought them for the summit decent. It’s often steep with a lot of loose stones just waiting to put you on your bum.
Overall a great trip, the Atlas mountains were amazing. Views from top of Toubkal were stunning, and we had the summit to ourselves. The terrain was harder than I thought it might be, having already trekked up Kilimanjaro, but it was do-able. The team including the mule drivers worked really hard and deserve to be paid more. June was a good time to go. Hot but not unbearable, until we returned to Marrakesh to 47 degrees! Was only 32 when we left. Shame there wasn’t more time alone in Marrakesh to bargain hunt in the souks. Would have happily forgone the guided tour of Marrakesh if I had known.