MOROCCO

MOROCCO EXPEDITION

The gateway to Africa, from the bustling medina’s of the ancient cities to the snow-topped mountains of the High Atlas, Morocco is a country of contrasts. Join us for an introduction to winter mountaineering and summit Mt Toubkal the highest mountain in North Africa. After success in the mountains we spend a day or two in Marrakech soaking up the culture and cuisine of this beautiful country.

Morocco: Gateway To Africa

Morocco sits in the far North of Africa with a coast line onto both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and land borders with Western Sahara and Algeria. Barely 20 miles from Europe, Morocco feels a world away. From the bustling medinas in the cities, to the vast empty expanse of desert, and the dramatic mountains of the High Atlas, this is a country of contrasts. Morocco was a French colony until 1956 with strong French influence most apparent in Casablanca and Rabat, while Marrakech and Fez are the places to go for medieval castles and ancient medinas packed with traders, donkeys and an abundance of places to eat. Morocco is composed mainly of Arabs and Berbers with large numbers of Berbers living predominantly in the mountainous regions where they have preserved their language and culture.

As a result of centuries of interaction with the outside world Moroccan cuisine is a fusion of Moorish, European and Mediterranean influences and is one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. From hearty flavoured packed chicken, beef and lamb tagines to lighter couscous dishes Moroccan cuisine will not disappoint. Bread is a staple in Morocco and you will likely be eating it with every meal. While in Morocco you will become very familiar with the ritual of drinking sweet mint tea. Tea is an important part of Moroccan culture, considered an art form, and is especially a drink of hospitality and commonly served to guests.

The Atlas Mountains stretch approximately 1,600 miles through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with the range’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal, reaching 4,167 metres in altitude making it the highest in North Africa. The range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert and with snow-capped peaks, lush valleys & traditional mud-built Berber villages, the Atlas Mountains offer stunning scenery for mountaineering, skiing and trekking. Imlil, a traditional Berber village, is roughly an hour and a half south of Marrakech and is the starting point for most people heading up into the mountains for trekking, mountaineering and skiing.

  • Summiting Mt Toubkal, the highest mountain in north Africa and, weather permitting the breathtaking views of The High Atlas.
  • Taking in the stunning scenery as you trek through Berber villages and Toubkal National Park on the way to the refuge.
  • The amazing food in Marrakech and Imlil, not so much in the refuge.
  • Meeting and hanging out with interesting people in the evenings in the refuge and sharing stories of that day’s adventures.
  • The chance to explore Marrakech; the bustling markets, the delicious tagines, and the fire-breathers and acrobatic performances in the medina every night.

By it’s very nature adventure travel involves an element of the unexpected so Untamed World expeditions are planned and run with a framework itinerary with flexibility built in. To read more about how our expeditions are planned and run take a look at Our Approach, and a full Expedition Handbook is issued for each individual expedition when team members sign up.

Team Arrives In Country

Team members will be collected from Marrakech airport and once all team members have arrived a minibus will take you the hour and a half or so down to Imlil where you will spend the night in one of the guesthouses. Your first evening will include a briefing on how the expedition will run and a chance to get to know the other team members. After a good breakfast the next morning the team will load up the donkeys with the packs and depart for the 3-4 hour trek to the Toubkal Refuge through the beautiful scenery of the Toubkal National Park. Once at the refuge you will get chance to eat and it’s important to drink plenty to aid acclimatisation. The afternoon will be spent with a familiarisation of the refuge and the area and then rest time before you get started in earnest the following day.
The Expedition

Be prepared for early starts with breakfast in the dark to get you out onto the mountain while the snow is still in good condition. Over the next three days the aim is to tackle one of the smaller summits in the Toubkal area giving you a chance to acclimatise and take in your surroundings. Your guide will also go through basic winter mountaineering skills including moving techniques, route selection, snow and rock belays, and avalanche awareness and avoidance. You will then move on to an attempt on Toubkal itself, a majestic mountain with stunning views. There is flexibility in the plan to allow a couple of days to attempt to summit Toubkal to allow for poor snow or weather conditions. If everything goes smoothly there will be time to attempt to summit an additional 4000m+ mountain, the two summits of Ouanoukrim, Ras and Timzguida.

Goal Achieved

After successfully summiting at least one 4000m+ mountain you will then trek back to Imlil where you will be collected and driven to Marrakech. A celebratory team meal in the ancient medina of Marrakech awaits and a well deserved rest and a chance to see the busy night life of this ancient Berber city. The following day is yours with a full day in Marrakech to explore the medieval castles, sprawling souks and grand palaces and mosques. A final night in Marrakech before you depart the following day to take the tales of your adventures back to friends and family.

Dates & Prices

05 February 2018 – 12 February 2018 – £1500

19 February 2018 – 26 February 2018 – £1500

Included

  • Untamed World leader
  • Local guides and porters
  • Group kit and specialist
  • All accommodation throughout
  • All food (including meals, snacks, soft drinks)
  • All internal transport as outlined in the itinerary
  • All in country permits and passes.

Not Included

  • International flights/travel
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips to local staff (discretionary)
  • Personal equipment
  • Extracurricular activities in downtime

Accommodation

The first night in Morocco will be spent in a guest house in Imili in comfortable twin rooms. On the expedition you will be staying in one of the two Toubkal mountain refuges in mixed gender shared dorms. At the end of the expedition you will stay in a comfortable guesthouse or hotel in Marrakech.

Food

While in country all food is provided. When in towns you’ll eat in hotels and local restaurants. At the mountain refuge breakfast lunch and dinner will be provided. Breakfast is served early to facilitate getting out on the mountain before the sun comes up, a cold lunch is provided early afternoon when most people return from the day’s activities and a hot dinner is served later in the evening. Snacks can be bought from the refuge but are expensive and limited so teammates are encouraged to bring their own favourite snacks for a morale boost on what are some long mountain days.

Transport

All transport between the airport, Imlil and Marrakech will be in either a car or minibus. From Imlil up to the refuge and the return will be on foot with packs carried by porters and donkeys.

Kit

The Morocco Joining Instructions includes a full kit list with advice. Untamed World provide group safety and specialist equipment including a full medical and communications kit.

FITNESS REQUIREMENTS

You don’t need to be an athlete to go on an Untamed World expeditions but to get the most out of your adventure you need fit and healthy. If you arrive with your fitness below the minimum level required you risk both your own and your team mates safety and chance of success. It is important that you take your training seriously in order to get the most out of your adventure.

Take a look at our Fitness page in the Planning room for more information on expedition grading and preparing for your adventure. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call.

THIS IS A TIER 2 EXPEDITION

Daily Activity: 6-8 hours a day at altitude and with altitude gain in snow, on rock and carrying a light pack.

Distance:  Up to 15km a day. Distances on the mountain much shorter. Trek into and out from the refuge is steadier but longer.

Weight carried: Approx. 10kg. Donkeys carry the packs in and out. Packs are light while on the mountain.

Terrain covered:  Steeper and more difficult underfoot with daily altitude gains of up to 1500m.

Climate: Higher altitude with temperatures well below freezing overnight.

Age: 18+

EXPEDITIONS

JOURNAL

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