Moroccans have trekking in their blood. For centuries tradesmen and camel caravans traversed the deserts and mountains of Morocco to transport goods between ports such as Marrakech and Fes across the Sahara to Timbuktu and beyond to sub-Saharan Africa. So it comes as no surprise that avid adventurers are increasingly choosing Morocco as a destination to don their walking boots and witness some spectacular landscapes.
Here are our top six of the best treks in Morocco…
1,800 metres above sea level is Imlil, a village nestled in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco. The entire Atlas mountain range stretches over 1,600 miles through Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. It’s a collection of mountains separated by large areas of land, rather than a range of continuous peaks, making it a diverse and interesting region to trek. Imlil is a great starting point and tour operators offer a range of options including day tours from Imlil and cycling, climbing and skiing treks. You’re in Berber country here and the villages and culture that you’ll pass on your trek are truly fascinating.
Experience the warm Berber hospitality and breathtaking mountain scenery on your trek to the Toubkal summit. Imlil is often used as the base from which to ascend Toubkal, the tallest summit not only in Morocco but also in the whole of North Africa. The local Berber people call it the ‘Mountains of all Mountains’. Toubkal is a trekking peak, not a climbing peak so it’s accessible for keen walkers - no climbing experience is necessary. Local operators run tours of varying lengths and however long you choose to trek for, the views from the summit are amazing. Gaze across the mountains to Marrakech to the north, and the start of the Sahara to the south. Simply stunning.
The turquoise gem that is Lake Ifni is the largest mountain lake in Morocco and one of the highest with an altitude of 2,295 metres. With unforgettable views of the majestic Toubkal summit, Lake Ifni is the perfect place to rest tired legs and paddle on the shores mid-trek. On your way, pass idyllic villages and enjoy a glass of mint tea with the locals. Ask your tour operator about staying at the nearby camp known locally as the ‘Refuge’ – an overnight stop on a clear night reveals the most breathtaking night sky packed with stars.
Aït Bouguemez Valley
Also known as ‘The Happy Valley’, the valley of Aït Bouguemez is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful in Morocco. It’s an idyllic landscape made up of farmers’ fields, characterful villages and you really will feel you are worlds apart from what you’ve left behind. Tabant, the main village in the valley hosts an excellent Sunday market and the main draw in terms of hiking in the Aït Bouguemez Valley is the country’s third-highest peak, Jebel M’goun. If you’re looking for an easier walk, the valley is still an ideal option due to its wide, flat base and open vistas.
Dadès Gorge & Rose Valley
On the south side of the central High Atlas mountains, you’ll find the Dadès Gorge and Rose Valley nestled at the foot of the mountains. Rose Valley is so named because it’s the centre for Moroccan roses and rose based products. Trekking through the Rose Valley, you’ll pass magnificent fields of roses, fortified villages and spectacular landscapes. The Dadès Gorge was carved out by the Dadès River and is one of Morocco’s must-see sights where winding roads with hairpin bends are flanked by spectacular red canyons.
Jebel Saghro offers spectacular landscapes with fewer challenges than the High Atlas mountains and milder temperatures. A continuation of the Anti Atlas, the range sits at a lower level. The highest peak, Amalou n'Mansour, is 2,712 metres so the risk of altitude sickness is less of a problem here. Ask your guide to show you the prehistoric cave paintings found in some parts of the range. The best time to go is in May or October when temperatures are cooler and rainfall is lower. Avoid the summer months. Winter is an option too, as the trails are generally still passable.
Our top tip: Excellent, qualified local guides can be found in each of the regions we’ve featured. For your personal safety, always hire a professional guide to take you on the trail. Avoid using unqualified guides who often wait around the trails. Book in advance through a professional tour operator first.
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