Day 1: Marrakech –Imi oughlad –Tizi n’tachte –Tiziane. We start our trip with an early morning departure from Marrakech for a pleasant drive south winding our way up through the Moulay Brahim gorge and upper valleys. We will arrive at the higher foothills of the western High Atlas Mountains and our trail head of Imi oughlad (1450 m) with the jbel Toubkal (4167 m), the highest peak in North Africa, and Aglzim (3650 m) and Aksoual (38847 m), looming before us. Here we meet up with a Berber muleteer crew and then set off in a north-westerly direction for a 2-hour acclimatization hike up switchback mule tracks, passing by cornfields, woods, pine and juniper to the Tiz n’tachete (2000 m). Here we shall stop to look back down on the Imlil and Ait ouazaden valleys before carrying on for another half hour to Imi n’ifri and our field picnic. Then a slow hike for about 2 and half hours south-west down along a dirt track to assif n’ Ait ouazaden and the red clay terraced village of Tiziane ( 1750 m ) for our accommodation in a local Berber House.
Day 2: Tiziane – Tizi n’taghrhourte – D’knt. After breakfast, we now set off on our hike up along the assif n’Ait ouazaden valley, passing through the walnut groves, up to Tizi n’taghrhourte (1995 m) and through to a rare almost flat stretch to arrive at Assaka spring. Here we will stop for our field picnic amidst an awesome silence, after some 2 and half hours of relatively easy walking. Our afternoon’s hike takes us down along the edges of the forest until we reach the Berber village of D’knt (1870 m) or agouns n Assoul where we will have our dinner and spend the night in a bivouac.
Day 3: D’knt – Tizi n’tagdalte – Tizi oussem. We set off for our morning’s 3-hour hike up through groves of walnut trees, fields of corn and barley to greet the many sheep and goat herders and women and children bent over with 20 kg loads of faggots and dried herbs. We traverse the Tizi n’tagdalte to the descent amongst the juniper trees, until we come to a small spring set amongst the trees, where we will stop for our picnic. Once refreshed, we are off down winding tracks of upper slopes for some 3 hours where we come to a small river at the beginning of the valley of assif n’Ait ouaszden. From here we enter the village of Tizi oussem (1850 m) then up to the summer village of Tamsoult for our camp.
Day 4: Aazib Tamsoult-Tizi Aguelzim- Toubkal Refuge. After breakfast, we now set out eastwards on a moderately difficult hike up winding mule tracks to the Tizi Aguelzim (3550 m), then a further 3 hours south-east to the Toubkal Refuge which marks the spring snowline at 3207 m, where we shall have our dinner, in bivouac around the Refuge.
Day 5: Toubkal Refuge – Summit- Sidi Chamharouch – Imlil – Marrakech. We will have a very early breakfast and then set out around 6 am, to attain, after a three hour steep climb, the highest peak in the Maghreb (4167 m). The panorama from here is simply stunning. Whenever you are ready, we shall take the Ikkhibi Sud or South Cirque for a straightforward – with your guide – 2 to 3 hour descent back to the Refuge for a picnic. After lunch we shall set off towards the north along steeply descending, zigzagging trails of the higher slopes of the Valley of the Assif n’Isouhouanem n’Ouagounss towards the Shrine of Sidi Chamharouch. Set beside a waterfall, there is a pilgrimage ‘marabout’ shrine here, probably the remnant of a pre-Islamic culture, but forbidden to non-Muslims. Another 2 hours downhill will allow us to get to the village of Imlil from where most of the treks start and finish.
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