High Atlas Berber Encounter

Oukaimeden Plateau & Ourika Valley

Summary

A low level hike offering a good challenge year round. Mostly off the beaten track, encounter the local Berbers & some terrific scenery.

START / FINISH - Marrakech.

Activity code: ITCTTM07m

Difficulty: GRADE TWO - between moderate to strenuous, good boots essential. You need to be reasonably confident of your fitness and endurance levels, preferably having had previous experience of trekking at altitude and in variations of climate. Full support team.

Duration: 5 days Hike ONLY / 8 Days Holiday version

This trek offers a superb variation of landscape in the High Atlas without the high altitude or steep gradients. Your guide will introduce you to many Berber villages in the valleys to the east of Imlil and in the shadow of Mount Toubkal. In brief, the route is a circular one from Imlil, initially hiking north and east up to the Oukaimeden plateau and then down into the beautiful Ourika Valley before the final section returns to Imlil via more secluded valleys and Berber villages.

You will love this off the beaten track itinerary as you encounter the Berber way of life.

A full Holiday version also includes:

  • Round trip airport transfers (Marrakech)
  • 2 nights on B&B at one of our fabulous riads in Marrakech
  • 1 night on Half Board at the Douar Samra in the hamlet of Tamatert (near Imlil)
  • Private guided city tour of Marrakech (half day)

Essential Information

PRICES - all our holidays are tailor-made so the ultimate cost of each trek is based upon:

  • The number of people in your group
  • Where you are starting from and to where you wish to travel at the end of the hike;
  • Whether you are including any accommodation (e.g. in Imlil or Marrakech)
  • Extras such as WC tent, etc.

All our "from" prices are for a private group of 4 persons; if you are a larger group then the price will be discounted but if there were just 2 persons the cost would be slightly higher. The prices are inclusive for land arrangements only (starting and finishing in Marrakech), please contact us to arrange accommodation in Marrakech or Imlil as well as flights from your preferred airport.

MEALS - examples of food & drink during trekking:

  • Breakfast - tea, coffee, milk, bread, butter, jam, cheese plus porridge in the winter and cereal in summer.
  • Picnic lunch - fresh Moroccan salad, cheese, slicing sausage, tinned tuna fish and sardines, bread, fruit, mint tea.
  • Dinner - Tajine (chicken or mutton with vegetables), spaghetti, cous cous (main courses rotate depending on duration of trek), bread, coffee, tea, cake, fruit.

It is recommended that you bring (depending upon season): good walking boots; sleeping bag (3 seasons); waterproofs and fleece/duvet jackets, hats, balaclavas or ear muffs; gloves; rambler or ski pole; personal toiletries; small First Aid kit, thermal underwear (Dec-May); day pack; filled water bottles; torch and batteries (LED head torches are excellent), penknife (remember not to pack in hand baggage for flight); towel, sunscreen, insect repellent, hygienic wipes, nibbles and/or dried fruit. Drinking chocolate if preferred to tea and coffee, camping mug (otherwise it is small Moroccan tea glasses for everything), energy sweets and toilet rolls could come in handy!

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Gallery

Based upon 4 persons travelling.

Prices from £401 per person

What's included on your High Atlas trek ?

  • English-speaking, licensed, experienced local guide
  • Full support team to carry your luggage and general equipment (by mule)
  • All accommodation (modern igloo tents / Berber houses / mountain refuge)
  • All meals during your trek (breakfast on all days except first, lunch on all days & dinners on all days except last)
  • Private round trip transfers from Marrakech to Imlil and back to Marrakech
  • Full insurance and emergency back up.
  • All local taxes.

Itinerary

Set out from your accommodation in Marrakech around 7.30am to drive south towards the High Atlas and into the lovely valley of the Assif n'Ait Mizane and reach the trailhead of Imi Ourhlad (1400m). This Berber hamlet is set between the high slopes of the Adrars n'Lgouine and Ouardsrou and is where you'll meet up with your guide and support team. Once loaded up you can begin your hike up the trail towards the north-east for around three to four hours along a winding mule track, passing through pine trees and rock slides to the Tizi n'Imsker (1700m). After traversing the pass you'll descend through fields of vegetables, apple orchards, nut and fig trees to the Berber village of Imsker (1505m), in the Valley of the Assif Imenane.

At around 1pm, stop for a picnic which your guide will prepare from a selection of fresh ingredients. Once refreshed, hike down winding paths to a valley full of orchards until you reach the quaint village of Arg, where your support team will set up camp (1700m) and prepare dinner. Arg, a landscape almost Himalayan, with its pise houses seemingly built one on top of the other, was a place where Sir Winston Churchill loved to paint.

  • Trekking Time: 5 hours
  • Overnight in Berber family home or camping at Arg (1700m).
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner.

After an early breakfast set out on a six hour hike to the Oukaimeden Plateau. Firstly, by taking a narrow, winding trail crossing some savage yet beautiful scenery leading to the Berber village of Tinoughar (1725m) then continuing on a long hike through the village of Tidili and upwards to the last village, Asrteq (2200m), where you will rendezvous with your muleteers. At this point your guide will prepare a welcome picnic lunch in almost deafeningly quiet surroundings. The afternoon hike will be up a zig-zagging mule trail to Tizi n'Oukaimeden (2670m), with Jbel Oukaimeden (3268m) looming over you.

From here hike down towards the ski station, perhaps visit some prehistoric rock carvings of camels, donkeys, the sun and a plough, before carrying on to the camp site (2500m) and dinner under the stars.

  • Trekking Time: 6-7 hours
  • Overnight in refuge or camping at Oukaimeden (2500m)
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

After breakfast, set out today for a two hour hike up along a winding piste until you reach an Aazib (summer grazing area), from where your guide will lead you on a narrow, zig-zagging path up to the Tizi n'Ouaattar (3250m). On the way you will pass by some strange basalt rock formations prior to heading down to the western branch of the Ourika Valley. At this point your guide will prepare your field picnic near the hamlet of Timoummar (2200m).

The afternoon is spent hiking down a circuitous path, passing through the villages of Anemiter and Timguisst, surrounded by vegetable plots and groves of plum and nut trees. After some four hours of moderate-level hiking, you will reach the terraced Berber village of Timichi and your campsite (or accommodation in a Berber family's home) and dinner for the night.

  • Trekking Time: 6 hours
  • Overnight in Berber family home or camping at Timichi (2000m).
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner.

Up at 6.30am in the freshness of early morning. Breakfasted and camp struck, your guide is ready to take you on a superb seven hour hike of a moderate level out of the valley up and down the slopes to the village of Iaabassene (2300m). From here you strike out up a hard, zig-zagging path through the rocky hillsides to Tizi n'Tacheddirt (3200m) to enjoy a stunning panoramic vista of the Jbel Aksouâl (3842m) on one side and of Bou Iguenouane (3882m) and Angour (3616m) on the other. Before you stretches a beautifully verdant valley leading to an attractive, in fact the oldest, Berber village in the Toubkal Massif - Tacheddirt (2291m). It is here, set amongst terraced plots clawed from the surrounding craggy slopes, where your guide will prepare a welcome picnic.

Afterwards, take a stroll down to visit the old pise homes, then off once more down a zig-zagging trail to the river and the campsite of Amghdoul (2130m) or accommodation in a Berber family's home and dinner for the night.

  • Trekking Time: 7 hours
  • Overnight in Berber family home or camping at Amghdoul (2130m).
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

After yesterday's hard slog, today's walk is a relatively easy hike down a narrow, winding piste along the splendid Imenane Valley. The route splits the foothills of Jbel Aksoual and Adrar n'Oukaimeden ranges and passes several Berber villages clinging to the upper slopes. After some two hours continue up to Tizi n'Tamatert (2272m) which affords a panoramic view of the Imlil Valley. Now it's downhill all the way for a further two hours easy hiking on winding mule tracks, passing through the village of Tamatert (1810m) with its orchards of apple, nut and cherry trees, until you reach Imlil. Your final stop on this wonderful hike is where a welcome hot shower and a glass or two of mint tea awaits as your guide prepares your picnic here in the gite d'etape of our senior guide. When you are ready and you've said your goodbyes it is time to rejoin your vehicle to take you back to Marrakech.

  • Trekking Time: 4 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 1 - arrival into Marrakech; private transfer to your accommodation.

  • stay at one of our recommended small riads - 2 nights BB

Day 2 - private guided city tour (am); balance of day for independent sightseeing.

Days 3 to 7 - on trek as per itinerary above.

  • stay at Douar Samra in Tamatert - 1 night HB.

Day 8 - private transfer to Marrakech Airport.

Flexible Tailor-Made Holidays

  • We believe passionately that no two holidays should be the same.
  • With our flexible tailor-made holiday options you can travel at your own pace.
  • Rediscover a city, a resort or an island in a weekend or longer.
  • Take a small group tour or embark upon a more adventurous trip.

Trusted Service

  • ATOL cover for flight inclusive holidays.
  • One of us at Rediscover the World is very likely to have visited the hotels and travelled along the routes on your itinerary.
  • Dynamic, comprehensive travel app with all your documents, maps and much more.
  • Full financial protection for your holiday (TTA).

Why book trekking with us ?

  • Andy & Head Guide, Houcine, have many years of experience of treks in Morocco.
  • Routes are fully tried & trusted.
  • Timings are based on individual bookings, allowing for amendments & short cuts.
  • A wealth of experience - contact us to discuss your individual requirements.
  • NO hidden extras. NO groups. FULLY Insured.