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Arrival time of your flight
For Atlas Trekking you need to prepare as you would for walking in any mountain region; it can be warm and sunny during the day but the weather in the mountains can quickly change from sunshine to snow and cold winds (autumn through late spring). Please do not leave any rubbish behind you; carry out what you carry in.
Atlas Treks are tailored to match the season and your level of fitness. You have the choice of basing yourself in Berber Guesthouses, from where you can take daily walks, or you can Atlas Mule Trek for 2+ days. On mule treks you usually have the choice of staying in Berber Guesthouse/with families or wild camping in 2-person tents. In addition to regular packing, here is a Check List for Atlas Trekking:
Arrival at Marrakech Airport and transfer to the riad where you will spend the night. Marrakech is a colourful city and most people head for the central square of the Djemaa-el-Fna beneath the imposing tower of the Koutoubia Mosque.
After breakfast in the hotel we load our bags onto the transport and begin the journey to the trek start point. In a short time we’re beyond the Marrakech hustle and bustle and travelling on good roads through the farmlands of the Moroccan countryside. On the way our guide will give a detailed talk on Morocco’s cultural history and answer any questions you may have. We will stop in the town of Azilal for mint tea, refreshments, and some lunch before making our way down into the Bougamez Valley, an arid, craggy ad starkly beautiful region, stopping close to the village of Agouti (1780m). Here we meet our muleteers, and the rest of the trek crew, the pack animals are loaded and we begin trekking into the lush farmland towards Arous, following the river as it meanders through poppy strewn fields.
Leaving our muleteers to pack up the camp gear we make a steadily rising traverse towards the col known as Tizi-m-Oumskiyg (2910m). The river gradually peters out as we enter the higher mountain scenery of the Central Atlas. A welcome rest at the col and some mid morning snacks before bearing left and upwards towards the ridgeline above. Approximately 2 miles of gradual ascent see us on the ridge and the viewpoint of Aghouixni Est (3400m). From here we have spectacular views of M’Goun and can clearly see our next day’s route. We now descend on good paths towards the high plateau known as Tilibiyt N’Tarkeddit, overlooking the Tessaout Valley. This is a strikingly green oasis area used frequently by Berber herdsmen. High pasture nestles beneath the peaks of the M’Goun massif, and spectacular rock formations surround the area. We camp near a small mountain hut with good toilet facilities and showers (for a small fee). The rest of the afternoon is free to soak up the nomadic Berber ambience of the tranquil spot.
A pre-dawn start is required today and we gain height steadily, at first by headtorch, onto the lower slopes of M’Goun. An hour or so later the first rays of sunshine begin to creep across the lower slopes of the M’Goun massif. This straightforward route, with the odd rougher section makes progress via switchbacks up a rolling ridgeline of subsidiary peak M’Goun Oest (3978m). After 4 or 5 hours we gain the stunning ridgeline leading to M’Goun. Breaking left along the ridge, which drops away steeply on both sides, stunning views surround us. To the south the Jebel Sahro region frames the edge of the Sahara beyond, and southwest we can see the Toubkal range in the distance. Looking back to the north our route of the previous two days is clear, dipping into the Bougamez valley and the Draa region. A further hour, gently rising along the ridge brings us to the cairned summit of M’Goun itself (4068m). After the obligatory summit photos we begin our descent by a different route making a traverse of the mountain. We head South initially on the ridge and then down scree slopes to our lunch spot by the river where wild camels graze the fertile valley sides. After lunch we continue on vague tracks toward Tiguitine (2700m) and our camp for the night which we should reach in under 3 hours from the summit. Tiguitine is a very pleasant camp, surrounded by strange rock formations and babbling streams. Our crew will no doubt treat us to some Berber songs and dancing in the evening to celebrate our successful traverse of the mountain.
A more leisurely start today as we continue to follow the river course away from the high mountains and into the fertile farmland of the Central Atlas foothills. After a short ascent to a small col we lose height gradually following undulating terrain, passing through small thickets of fig trees and criss-crossing streams before emerging from the undergrowth at Ifni Ait Hamou (2550m). A small café sits by the trailside in this improbable location offering mint tea and biscuits. In a further two miles we come upon the village of Tighremt N’Tichki, passing a large kasbah on the outskirts now used for communal grain storage – an impressive structure. As the river broadens we pass rushing waterfalls and use stepping-stones to cross where necessary. Taking advantage of riverside trees for shade we’ll stop for lunch. Another leisurely couple of hours along the river leads us to the village of Ameskar El Fougani, where we negotiate the field systems surrounding the village and continue to Ameskar El Tahtani (1990m) 2 miles further on. We make camp just before the entrance to the Ameskar Gorge.
A fairly early start today to avoid the heat later in the day. Leaving camp the valley walls steepen quickly and awesome rock architecture looms above as we press on through the ‘Petites Gorges du M’Goun’. Eventually the gorge opens out once more giving way to open farmland. Crops line the riverbanks and the smell of fruit trees and growing herbs fills the air. We reach our lunch spot, a shady riverside nook, after around 4 hours trekking. We will have an hour or so for relaxing, eating and perhaps some paddling in the river to cool off before we make the final 2 hour meander to the village of Boutaghar. Spend the night at a local gite.
After breakfast we will drive from Boutaghar to the Dades Gorge and further to Todra Gorge. After a short stop there we drive on to the dunes of Erg Chebbi. We will arrive there later in the afternoon and after a short break you will ride camels into the dunes, where you will spend the night in berber tents. After seeing a beautiful sunset you will enjoy a fantastic dinner.
After viewing the most beautiful sunrise and having breakfast at the camp site you will ride the camels back to the auberge. From there we will drive to Ait Ben Haddou. Ait Benhaddou is a small town with one of the best-preserved and most sought-after Kasbah’s to visit in all of Morocco. Here you will spend the night.
After breakfast drive back to Marrakech, via the spectacular Tizi ‘n Tichka pass. You will arrive in Marrakech early in the afternoon. Spend the last 2 nights in a riad in the medina of Marrakech.
Free day in Marrakech.
Transfer back to Marrakech Airport and departure.