Mount Toubkal is North Africa’s highest mountain, located in the Atlas Mountain range, Morocco. At 4167 metres, reaching this peak is an achievement for any keen hiker.
The great thing about hiking this mountain, is that it is accessible. You don’t need to be an experienced mountaineer, just someone who has a good level of fitness. Provided to take it slow, so you get used to the altitude, you can hike to the summit.
The local Berber people populate this area with small and remote villages. Tourists are usually welcomed and enjoy friendly hospitality.
- Sweeping views of the Atlas Mountains
- Snow-capped peaks through winter
- Dry, clear skies
- Berber villages and hospitality
- Charming cafes and shops in the villages
Beginning in the village of Imlil, the first day on the trek is typically to get acclimatised to the altitude. After five of six hours of hiking, you reach basecamp. Here you spend the evening acclimatising, before hiking to the summit the next day.
Following ancient Berber tracks, this well-trodden route is mostly clear to follow.
Once you have reached the summit, return to spend another night at basecamp before returning to Imlil. Alternatively, you can hike straight back to Imlil.
The clear skies mean trekking to the summit of Mouth Toubkal a pleasure, and you get spectacular views throughout. The days are generally warm and sunny, but the night times can be cold.
Menara airport in Marrakech is the closest international airport to Imlil.
From the airport, there is a bus the will take you to the centre of Marrakech. To get to Imlil, it is approximately a 90 minute drive.
Getting a taxi from the Bab er-Rob taxi rank is advised as being the most efficient way to get from Marrakech to Imlil.
You can also get a shared taxi, where you split the cost. Fares are low.
There is no direct bus route from Marrakech to Imlil. Instead, you can get a bus to the village of Asni, 17 kilometres from Imlil. From there you will need to find transport to Imlil, such as a taxi.
If you are hiking this route through a tour company, then it may include transfers from the airport to Imlil and back again.
Climbing Mount Toubkal takes approximately 2-3 days.
The first day present the most hiking, where it is a 5-6 hour trek to the refuge basecamp.
Grade and difficulty of the walk
This hike is graded 3-4/5. Much of the trail is moderate in difficulty, but there are some steep sections with loose, stony surfaces.
The altitude can also be a problem for those not used to it. It is a good idea to acclimatise before you attempt a trek to the summit.
Spending more time at altitude will help get your body used to the thinner air. The altitude may mean you need to walk at a slower pace than usual.
You need to have a good level fitness to enjoy reaching the summit of Mount Toubkal.
Having multi-day hiking experience is recommended, as you will know what to expect and your body will be used the daily rigours of being out on the trail.
There are no technical mountaineering skills required to reach the summit, making it a great introduction to hiking at altitude.
Hiking on the looser, scree surfaces can be challenging, and you might have to do a little scrambling over rocks. If you have trouble with stability, the hiking poles are useful.
If you are hiking in winter, there will be snow on the trail. You might need to use crampons to get a grip on the ice and snow.
No permits or fees are required to hike Mount Toubkal.
Guided or Self-Guided
There are many tour operators that offer guided treks to the summit of Mount Toubkal. The benefits of this is that you can relax and enjoy your surroundings without having the effort of preparing camp or cooking food, as this will be done for you.
There is also extra people to help carry much of your equipment, so you just need a day bag.
For some hikers, part of the challenge is to get somewhere using their own strength and skills. In that case, a self-guided hike may be a better option.
It may be possible to have the best of both worlds, by having your luggage carried by porters to basecamp while you guide yourself up the mountain.
Overall, the climate is dry with little rainfall, so Mount Toubkal can be hiked all year round.
Morocco generally has a hot climate. During July, the peak of summer, temperatures are around 30°C, but when you are hiking in the mountains gets cooler the higher you climb.
The average night time temperature is 12°C in summer. Wearing sun protection is essential as skies are usually clear.
In winter, snow is plentiful on the mountain and temperatures can be as low as -5°C at night.
Make sure you have plenty of layers to keep you warm at night during every season.
The festivals of Ramadan and Eid Al Adha may affect opening times of shops and restaurants nearby. As these festivals can be a different times of the year, it is worth checking before you go.
A typical itinerary would be:
Imlil to Basecamp – 11.4 kilometres. 6-7 hours of walking time. 1700 metres of ascent.
Basecamp to Summit – 3.6 kilometres. 1000m of ascent. Return to Basecamp. 3-4 hours walking time.
Basecamp to Imlil – 11.4 kilometres
Another option is to trek back to Imlil after the summit, shortening the time on the trail to two days.
As you climb Mount Toubkal, the first stop is basecamp, also called Toubkal ‘Les Mouflons’ Refuge.
It is at elevation of 3,207 meters, and staying here gives you time to acclimatise before the summit.
The refuge is a building that can accommodate many people. It has a variety of rooms, and hot showers.
Camping is also available at the refuge.
At Imlil, you will find a range of accommodation, such as small hotels and lodges.
Visit the shrine of holy man Sidi Chamharouch, a place that brings many pilgrims from all over the world.
Time your summit so you can watch the sun rise over the Atlas Mountains. To do this, you will need to begin your hike at 4am!
Take photos of the spectacular views as you climb to the summit.
At night, the clear skies make this place a great spot for star gazing.
The Atlas Mountains are a great place to go trekking, so explore some other routes in the area. Around Imlil, you can take the waterfall trek to a beautiful cascade just a kilometre from the village.
The Berber hospitality is welcoming, and you will be able to enjoy home cooked meals and many cups of tea.
|Skills Required||Climbing, Hiking, Mountaineering, Walking|
|Difficulty||3/5 - 4/5|
|Starts at||Imlil, Morocco|
|Finishes at||Imlil, Morocco|
|Length of route||23 Km|
|Average time to complete||2 - 3 Days|
|Possible to complete sub-sections||No|
|Highest point||4167 metres|
|Equipment needed||Poles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots, Water Supplies|