Notoriously famous for being the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal is set in the High Atlas Mountain Range in Morocco. Gaining its fame spectacularly for one of the rewarding and challenging treks, it is also known as Jebel Toubkal. Located about 60 km south of Marrakesh, it is a non-technical summit with its highest peak at 13,671 feet. Despite its incredible views of rural Morocco and its highest peak overlooking the spectacular view of a border between land, ocean, and desert, Mount Toubkal isn’t that renowned amongst non-mountaineers.
Overview Of The Mount Toubkal Trek
There are two approaches to reach Mount Toubkal, the south and the north. Meanwhile, the southern approach is very popular as its straightforward, the northern approach is comparatively longer and for experienced hikers. It is deemed to have 40% less oxygen than at sea level.
Also, as it is located in Morocco, it is considered an extremely hot and cold trekking destination at times. The spring months of April to May or autumn months of September to October are considered the ideal months to avoid the harsh weather. Even though Toubkal seems like a challenging trek, it is for keen walkers and hikers with a moderate fitness level. Nevertheless, Mount Toubkal will not disappoint the trekkers at all owing to the views of the Atlas mountain, green valleys, and Berber villages.
A Brief Itinerary
One can arrive in Marrakech and head towards Imlil. On your way to Imlil, one will surpass the ancient marketplace of Tahanaoute and the views of valleys and the gorgeous Atlas mountain. Imlil village is around 1740 meters above sea level and then with a 50 minutes hike, one reaches the base village of Aroumd. The accommodation is in a traditional village and the rooms are furnished in Amazigh (Berber) style. From Around, one crosses the floodplain of Ait Mitzane Valley where the steep climb zigzags up the mountain.
It is said along the way few holy sites are encountered too such as the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch which is a tomb of a Muslim holy man. Although, only Muslims are permitted to touch the white stone that serves as a shrine. After arriving at Toubkal Base Camp at Neltner (3207 meters above sea level), one can rest before the big summit of Mount Toubkal. Here the rocky terrain starts leading to the roof of North Africa which is about 4167 meters. The view involves the entire range of Atlas mountains, the Atlantic coast to the west, and the Sahara desert to the east. Total hiking time from base camp to summit is around 8 hours. Winter ascents are quite challenging compared to springtime and a basic mountaineering course is recommended.
Gear List for Mount Toubkal Trek
One should be carrying layers such as a base layer, fleece layer and warm outer layer as the temperatures in the Atlas mountains do get cold at night. In terms of winter ascents, waterproof jackets, warm outer jackets, and additional layers for hands, feet, and head are needed. Also, some technical gear like crampons, a straight handle ice ax, harness, and carabiners to clip into a fixed rope. Thermal base layers, midweight hiking boots, and a 3-season sleeping bag with silk or fleece liner are the things to be considered in the gear list as well. Good quality goggles and high-quality sunscreen should be carried mandatorily.
Diet & Exercise For Climbing Mount Toubkal
Mount Toubkal is a moderately easy trek. Thus, a certain level of fitness is required alongside some mountaineering skills if the trek is considered in winter. Start walking on a flat surface and later increase it to an incline. Start involving a backpack of about 4 kgs gradually. Prepare your body by climbing up and down and pushing the bar for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Goblet squats, Step-ups, and Downhill lunges are a few exercises to be acquainted with. High carbohydrate and protein intake is recommended alongside fresh juices, nuts, and adequate amounts of water. Consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.
Things to do in Marrakech
After the incredible mission of the Mount Toubkal trek is accomplished, one can head back down to Imlil via Aroumd. Marrakech is a 1.5-hour drive away from here. Well, one can embark on a guided walking tour of the Medina, including souqs devoted to various trades such as pottery, woodwork, carpet, or spices. Also, the 19th-century Bahia Palace beckons with marvelous architecture. Also, you can indulge in the “Taste of Marrakesh Urban Adventure” tour if you are a foodie. The other activities include Hot Air Balloon Ride, Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day trip, Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove, Palmery Cycling Tour, and so on. With the trek alongside a visit to Makkarech, this rolls out a perfect combination of adventure and a holiday.