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Climb Mount Toubkal and Sleep in the Sahara

Trek across the beautiful Atlas Mountains to North Africa's highest peak (4167m) and sleep in the desert

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Trip Ref #10148

Climb Mount Toubkal and Sleep in the Sahara

Trek across the beautiful Atlas Mountains to North Africa's highest peak (4167m) and sleep in the desert

DURATION
6 nights
LOCATION
Morocco
ANNUAL LEAVE
5 days off work
SEASON
May—Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Marrakech Menara Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Traditional riad · Mountain hut · Hotel · Campsite

OVERALL RATING

4.7

Based on 143 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

No technical experience required, but a very good level of physical condition and fitness is needed.

Experience the best of Morocco - from the highest point in North Africa, to the wild scenery of the northern Sahara

Climb to the summit of Mount Toubkal and be rewarded with the sunrise of a lifetime

Take a road trip to the desert and trek by camel to a Berber village to sleep surrounded by rolling sand dunes

Day 1

Check out the sights and smells of Marrakech

Your host will meet you at the airport and take you to your traditional riad accommodation in Marrakech’s historic medina. You'll then get the chance to spend the day exploring the city’s colourful souks, wander the UNESCO-listed main square and indulge in some amazing Moroccan food.

Day 2

Hike to the Toubkal Refuge

Hiking

5-6hrs · 10km · 1540m up · 130m down

Wake up early and drive through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to Imlil, where you'll meet your support crew and start your trek. Ascend the dramatic Mizane Valley, passing Berber farming villages and stop for lunch on the trail. In the afternoon you’ll arrive at the refuge where you can settle in, meet other hikers and refuel with a well-earned dinner cooked by your support crew. Sleep well before your summit attempt tomorrow.

Day 3

Summit Mount Toubkal

Hiking

10hrs · 17km · 1130m up · 2530m down

Wake while it’s still dark and begin your ascent. Reach the final ridge and finish the climb to the top (4167m) in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains and the distant Sahara. Rest up and then begin the descent back to Imlil where you’ll sleep soundly in a comfortable hotel.

Day 4

Road trip to the Dades Valley

Driving

6-7hrs

Take a scenic drive over the Atlas Mountains and descend toward the unworldly landscape of the Sahara Desert, passing Kasbahs (fortified homes) and oases. You'll also have the option to stop at the Ouarzazate Film Studios and Ait Ben Haddou, famous as the filming location for movies and TV shows including Gladiator and Game of Thrones. Arrive in the Dades Valley and take a hike to explore it or just relax back at your hotel.

Day 5

Road trip to Todra Gorge and camel trek to the Berber camp

Driving

6hrs

Drive through Todra Gorge, an impressive canyon with sheer, 160m cliff walls and then take a short hike to a date palm oasis. Rendevous with your camels in Merzouga, gear up and ride into the desert. Arrive at a traditional Berber camp surrounded by dramatic dunes and enjoy dinner around the fire before sleeping under the stars or in a comfortable, carpeted Berber tent.

Day 6

Sunrise camel trek and road trip back to Marrakech

Driving

10hrs

Wake early and enjoy a sunrise camel trek back to Merzouga. Eat breakfast, shower off the desert and then drive back to Marrakech, stopping along the way for photos, exploration and food. You’ll arrive at your riad in the early evening in time to find a restaurant for couscous or a tasty tajine before collapsing into bed.

Day 7

Time to go home. What a week.

Relax over your last Moroccan breakfast, explore the town some more if you have time, then transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.

Included

Guides

Local, professional, English-speaking guide

Accommodation

2 nights in a riad, 1 night in a mountain refuge, 2 nights in hotels and 1 night in a Berber camp

Meals

All meals in the mountains and breakfast and dinners in the desert

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Porterage

Mules and muleteers to carry your overnight luggage during your climb

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Traditional riad · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Traditional riad · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Moroccan food is a unique blend of sweet and savoury flavours. Local specialities include tajines (a stew cooked in an earthenware pot), couscous, and pastilles (flaky pastries stuffed with meat and dusted with cinnamon and sugar). Food is often spiced with cumin, turmeric and ginger.

Meals on the trek are fresh, healthy and cooked by your Berber muleteers. Breakfast will usually feature bread, jam, cookies, fruit, juice, coffee and milk, while lunch will feature salad, tomatoes, carrots, lentils, beans, rice or pasta, fish (sardines, tuna) and seasonal fruit. Dinner meanwhile, will usually include soup, a classic Moroccan tajine, couscous, olives, nuts and fruit.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Marrakech

In Marrakech, you'll stay in a beautiful riad - traditional Moroccan houses with an interior garden or courtyard. The exact riad you stay in will be confirmed nearer the time based on availability and group size. All are chosen for their excellent reputation, location, beautiful decor and welcoming service.

The Atlas Mountains

You'll stay in a mixed dorm in a mountain refuge en-route to the top of Mount Toubkal. Facilities are basic, however, there is a fun, social area where you can meet other climbers from all around the world.

Imlil and the Dades Valley

You'll stay in a twin room in small but comfortable hotels with unique decor and ensuite bathrooms.

The Sahara

You'll stay in a traditional Berber camp in the desert in permanent, carpeted tents with full beds, or, if you prefer, blankets for sleeping under the stars.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and single tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability). This is only available for the nights in Imlil, Dades and in the Berber camp, not for the night spent on the mountain.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Marrakech Menara Airport

Arrive anytime on Day 1

Ends

Marrakech Menara Airport

Depart anytime on Day 7

Transfers

Private transfers between the airport and your riad are included for any time you choose to arrive on day 1 and depart on day 7, or if you have booked additional pre or post trip accommodation with your host.

If you are making your own arrangements to extend your stay in Morocco, transfers are not included but can be arranged with your host for an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for details.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Marrakech from airports across the UK and Europe.

Please note that mobile boarding passes are not accepted at Marrakech airport. You will need to present a printed boarding pass on departure.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's provided?

  • Sleeping bag (you can bring your own if you'd rather)

What do I need to bring?

  • Day-pack (carried by you)
  • Rucksack or duffle bag (carried by mules)
  • Warm jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm hat and light gloves or mittens
  • Light-weight, breathable hiking shirts and trousers
  • Broken-in hiking boots of hiking shoes
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sun block)
  • First aid kit
  • Electrolytes/rehydration solutions (especially if travelling during the summer)
  • Personal toiletries
  • Sanitary supplies (hand sanitiser, toilet paper, wet wipes, and ziplock baggies to carry stuff out)
  • Head torch
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag liner
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Double/Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Double/Twin Room

Per Night

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Single Room

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private transfer between Marrakech Airport and Marrakech City (per vehicle)

Payable Before Departure

Private transfer between Marrakech Airport and Marrakech City (per vehicle)

Denise

This is an excellent trip that highlights the best of Morocco, mountains, desert and Riads. The trek is tough but worth it for the view at the top! And we had a bonus walk through Dades Gorge which was brilliant!

Rach

The hike is incredible! Stunning views and a real sense of accomplishment. Take note of the driving hours for the other days though and whether this is something you fancy in the heat

Deirdre

What an experience! I booked this as my first hike at altitude - and what a beautiful mountain to climb! The hike was tough but well paced. The group was amazing fun to spend the week with - I can't imagine a better group to share such an intense experience with. The rest of the trip I was quite unprepared for - it was much hotter than I expected so I would advise people to be prepared for unbearable heat if booking in the summer! Access to cold drinks and air con during the day in the van is limited, so keeping cool can be difficult and risk of heat stroke is high. I think doing intense activity followed by an extreme temperature shift is really difficult on the body, so would maybe advise not booking this in the height of summer like I did unless you know what you're getting yourself in for! Would also recommend to take the kitlist very seriously - hiking poles make the mountain much more enjoyable, and they can be rented for cheap once there. I would highlight bringing personal medications like immodium and electrolytes as gastroenteritis can really take a toll on a trip and having these makes things much more manageable!

Callum

This was our first trip with MBA and it exceeded our expectations. The trip was very well organised and there was great communication from the local company. Every day was filled with unique experiences and our guide Ibrahim was very helpful and had great local knowledge. The food and accommodation throughout the trip was to a high standard and the hospitality of the Moroccan people was very welcoming. I definitely recommend getting the quads in the desert!

Steph

My 5th trip with MBA and as always, it exceeded expectations. Morocco has always been on my list to travel and I couldn't be happier with my experience there. The riad staff in Marrakech are super helpful, Ibrahim is a fantastic guide and his company are a great company with kitlist reminders, prompt airport transfers and connecting the group via WhatsApp prior to arrival. Summiting Toubkal is challenging but so worth it - we were blessed with a clear morning with the best views

James

A really well organised trip. The mountain was tough and the scenery was epic - more of an endurance challenge than a holiday, which was exactly what I signed up for. The team I was in were great too, everyone had done training and had the right kit and banter levels were high. This was my first much better adventures trip. Would I do another? Absolutely!

Phil

The trek up the Atlas Mountains were breathtaking. It was challenging, but this was expected and definitely worth the pain. Food and accommodation were fantastic. The guides were very fantastic and made the trip that much better. Would highly recommend this trip for anyone who likes an adventure. The bus driving was long but this is expected as you are driving to the very east of the country.

Elettra

If you are thinking about booking this trip — please please do! Morocco is a most beautiful, interesting country to hike in and drive around. Summiting Toubkal was unforgettable and our host guide, Mohamed, was funny and knowledgeable and gave us a real feel for Morocco. This trip completely exceeded my expectations, 10x over!

Luke

I was nervous at first about joining this trip solo. But I am so happy I did. Everyone in the group was so lovely and I really enjoyed my time with them all. The guides and hosts were all so accommodating and helpful. If you're thinking about doing it, just book it! Don't let bookiing by yourself put you off!

Sarah

Brilliant trip. Excellent food, guides, accommodation and company. Be prepared for all weathers when tackling the hike. We went from sunshine to heavy snow within hours. If you don’t mind long drives with beautiful scenery, then this trip is for you as it can be hours in a mini bus at times!

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 419kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

No technical climbing experience is needed, however, the elevation, loose footing and time involved in climbing Mount Toubkal means a moderate to high level of fitness is required. The camel trek, though potentially a little uncomfortable, is easy for most travelers.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

From April to October, daytime temperatures in the Atlas Mountains are typically warm (25 - 30°C) but cool off considerably at night, and the higher you go, the cooler it gets (you may even need gloves on a summit day in August!) In the winter, daytime temperatures are still warm (10 - 20°C), but nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing. Afternoon storms are always possible, but the amounts are small and generally don’t prevent anyone from enjoying the trek.

View detailed weather for the climb here on Mountain Forecast

The desert is considerably hotter than the mountains, though nighttime temperatures drop significantly and can even approach freezing in the winter.

In the summer (June, July, August), daytime temperatures have been known to approach 45°C in the desert and in Marrakech so please ensure that you come prepared with sun protection, light and airy clothing and electrolytes/rehydration solutions if travelling at this time of year. If it becomes unsafe to camp in the desert due to extreme summer temperatures, your host will accommodate you in a nearby hotel instead.

Mules will carry your main overnight luggage during the trek and you will need to carry your daypack with your daytime essentials (extra layer, snacks, water etc.). For the welfare of the mules, please ensure your main overnight luggage is in a soft-sided bag and weighs no more than 15kg.

Absolutely! We recognise that you may want to leave some of the kit you bring to Morocco somewhere safe before you start your ascent of Toubkal. When you reach Imlil, you will be able to leave any non-essential items you don’t want to take up on the hike with you at your local guides base there.

Your host works with Muleteers who collaborate with local charity, Spana, (The Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature) on the AMI program (Aid to the Mules of Imlil). The charity provides training, guidance and incentives to mule owners to encourage and support good care for their animals in all aspects of their working lives. The program also provides a monthly clinic which offers free veterinary care to the animals and the distribution of humane tack.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Morocco, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however we suggest budgeting for a minimum of 300 Dirham per person, to be split and offered directly to the following individuals: Guides: MAD120 Cook: MAD40 Muleteer: MAD100 Drivers: MAD20 Riad staff: MAD20 (total)

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

There is a lot of distance to cover on this trip, Morocco is a big country! The driving times listed include stops for sightseeing and eating however so most find it pretty easy going and a nice time to relax having climbed a mountain in the first part of the trip.

Ramadan will take place from 10th March to 8th April 2024. The national holiday of Eid ul-Fitr will follow for 2-3 days. Ramadan is an Islamic festival where the religious do not eat or drink during daylight hours. While this is a really interesting time to travel, especially to witness celebrations where the fast is broken in the evenings, you can expect some business hours will be shortened, alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and some restaurants will be closed during this festival period. Activities for local people tend to be limited during the day and the nights are very active in cities with lots of different foods being sold and consumed. Ramadan will not affect the inclusions on your trip although you should be aware that dinners will be served after locals break their fast in the evenings.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

May 2024

Sunday • 12th May 2024

to Saturday • 18th May 2024
Fully Booked
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 19th May 2024

to Saturday • 25th May 2024
Fully Booked
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 26th May 2024

to Saturday • 1st June 2024
8 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 2nd June 2024

to Saturday • 8th June 2024
6 Booked • 8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 30th June 2024

to Saturday • 6th July 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 7th July 2024

to Saturday • 13th July 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 21st July 2024

to Saturday • 27th July 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 28th July 2024

to Saturday • 3rd August 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 18th August 2024

to Saturday • 24th August 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 1st September 2024

to Saturday • 7th September 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 8th September 2024

to Saturday • 14th September 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 15th September 2024

to Saturday • 21st September 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 6th October 2024

to Saturday • 12th October 2024
3 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 13th October 2024

to Saturday • 19th October 2024
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 11th May 2025

to Saturday • 17th May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 18th May 2025

to Saturday • 24th May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 25th May 2025

to Saturday • 31st May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 8th June 2025

to Saturday • 14th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 15th June 2025

to Saturday • 21st June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 22nd June 2025

to Saturday • 28th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 29th June 2025

to Saturday • 5th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 6th July 2025

to Saturday • 12th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 13th July 2025

to Saturday • 19th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 20th July 2025

to Saturday • 26th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 27th July 2025

to Saturday • 2nd August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 3rd August 2025

to Saturday • 9th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 10th August 2025

to Saturday • 16th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 17th August 2025

to Saturday • 23rd August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 24th August 2025

to Saturday • 30th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 31st August 2025

to Saturday • 6th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 7th September 2025

to Saturday • 13th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 14th September 2025

to Saturday • 20th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 21st September 2025

to Saturday • 27th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 28th September 2025

to Saturday • 4th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 5th October 2025

to Saturday • 11th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 12th October 2025

to Saturday • 18th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Sunday • 19th October 2025

to Saturday • 25th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

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