Day 1. Drive from Marrakech to Imlil and trek to Toubkal Refuge
Leaving the city behindwe drive southtoday, towards the craggypeaks and plungingvalleys of the Toubkal Massif. Crossing the Haouz Plain wepassthrough the tinytown of Asni, fromwhereour road begins to climbtowards the foothills of the Massif. Below us the valley of the Oued Rhirhaiastretches out into the distance and small villages cling to the sides of the steephills as wemeander
ourwaytowards the village of Imlil. Hereweleaveourvehicle and, in the company of ourmountain guide, beginour trek, headingalong the MizaneValley, first towards the village of Aremd and then onto the shrine of Sidi Chamarouch. Built on a moraine spuroverlooking the valleyfloor, Aremdis the largest village in the valley and provides an interesting mix of traditionalterracedfarming, gites and streetsthatseem to bepermanentlygridlockedby goats and cattle. For generations the local Berbervillagers have workedthese lands, producing corn, potatoes and walnutsfrom the harshlandscape. Continuingeast and crossing the flood plain our route takes us along mule tracks and up into the high rockycliffsabove the valley. Crossing the river weeventually come to the pastoral shrine of Sidi Chamarouch, whichattractstourists and pilgrimsalike (althoughonlyMuslims are allowed to cross the stone bridge to visit the marabout shrineitself). The village sitsbesides a smallwaterfall, a jumbled cluster of housesthatseem to melttogetherinto an anarchic mass. Fromhere the trail continues to climbsteadily, snaking and zigzaggingitsway up to the
snowline and the Toukbal Refuge (3206m), our stop for the night. Approx 5hrs walking.
Day 2. Trek to summit of Jebel Toubkal(4165m); return to Imlil
Earlythismorningwemakeourattempt on the summit of JebelToukbal, the highestpeak in NorthernAfrica. Our route takes us up the south cirque, crossing the streamabove the refuge and thenheadingacross one of the
mountainsnumerousscreefields, wherewewill have to negotiable a seeminglyendlesscarpet of boulders and rocks. The walkingisrelativelystraightforward, but the scree and the altitude willmake the goingquitedifficult in parts, however, the viewsalong the waymake the journey more thanworthwhile. Cresting the ridgelinewefindourselves on the plateau, fromwhereitis a short walk to the summit and the vistas out across the surroundinglandscape are quitebreathtaking. Fromherethere are unrestrictedviews in every direction, from the Marrakesh Plain to the High Atlas in the north and as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. Pliny, the great Roman scholar, once described the High Atlas Mountains as "the mostfabulousmountains in all of Africa" and fromourvantage point high above the valleyitiseasy to understandwhy. Retracingourstepswethen return down the mountain and head back towardsImlil Prior To drive back to Marrakech.