Climbing Jebel Toubkal And Trekking In The High Atlas Mountains Of Morocco

Morocco doesn't usually come to mind when you think about climbing mountains and trekking

Morocco has the highest Mountain in North Africa- Jebel Toubkal which rises to 4167 m above sea level. The great thing too is that the Toubkal National Park is around 60 km from the busy tourist destination of Marrakech and can be climbed in two to three days from the village of Imlil.

Imlil marks the end of the main road which leads into the mountains and leads you to a thriving small town which has developed as a result of mountain tourism. Therefore it forms a great base for climbing Toubkal mountain.

At the Summit of Jebel Toubkal

At the Summit of Jebel Toubkal 4167 m
At the Summit of Jebel Toubkal 4167 m

Our trusty guide Mohammed

Our trusty guide Mohammed for our Toubkal Trek
Our trusty guide Mohammed for our Toubkal Trek

Trekking Toubkal from Imlil

Imlil is one of the best places to pick up a guide for your trip as well as muleteers to carry any luggage for you if you wish or your fitness dictates. A team can usually be hired for a price of around 400 dirham a day (about 40 euros/ £35 gbp)

Imlil is also home to the Kasbah Du Toubkal. The now renovated kasbah serves as a luxurous hotel and guest house which sits on the hill above the town and offers true Berber hospitality.

As part of an exodus package holiday we started our week in Marrakech before heading up into the Atlas Mountains for trekking and Jebel Toubkal. Our fantastic guide for the week was Mohammad and he gave great value to the trip providing much needed knowledge on local culture, customs and ensuring we followed the right route while remaining safe.

Imlil, Moroccan High Atlas Mountains.

show route and directions
A markerimlil -
Imlil, Morocco
[get directions]

The starting point for many Toubkal Trekking excursions and Atlas Mountain walking trips

B markerMarrakech -
Marrakesh, Morocco
[get directions]

The Kasbah Du Toubkal

The Kasbah Du Toubkal. Signposted from Imlil
The Kasbah Du Toubkal. Signposted from Imlil | Source
Inside the Kasbah Du Toubkal
Inside the Kasbah Du Toubkal | Source
The View from the Kasbah Du Toubkal in Winter- magical
The View from the Kasbah Du Toubkal in Winter- magical | Source

Looking back on Aremd

Aremd from the river bed
Aremd from the river bed

Climbing up to the Neltner Refege- Toubkal Basecamp

From Imli the trail takes you past the recently renovated kasbah du toubkal which looks truly magical. The trail climbs up along the river valley to the small town of Aremd.

From Aremd take the path to the left of the river valley and climb up to the religious shrine at Sidi Chamrouch.

Spending the night in the Neltner Refuge

Be aware that mountain refuges are basic. Make sure you've bought a good quality sleeping bag with you like a Quechua Bionnassay -5 four season sleeping bag. You'll be sleeping in dormitories and potentially sharing with strangers.

If you fancy a hot shower a pair of simply flip flops will be required as the sanitary standards are below what you would expect in a hotel (By some distance)

The Neltner refuge is right at the bottom of the start of the main Toubkal climb. Be prepared for a 5-6 AM start at first light (a head torch is recommended for visibility) however this is required to make an attempt at the Toubkal Summit as in the afternoon the skies are most likely to cloud over.

The Neltner Mountain Refuge, 3207 m Toubkal NP

Stood atop the roof of the Neltner Refuge, Toubkal NP
Stood atop the roof of the Neltner Refuge, Toubkal NP
Just to confirm the altitude of the Neltner Refuge- 3207 m above sea level.
Just to confirm the altitude of the Neltner Refuge- 3207 m above sea level.
The two mountain refuges used as base camps prior to attempts on the Summit of Jebel Toubkal 4167 m
The two mountain refuges used as base camps prior to attempts on the Summit of Jebel Toubkal 4167 m

Be prepared for a 6 AM push to the Toubkal summit

As the crow flies it's only around 3 km from the Neltner Refuge to the Toubkal trekking summit but it's all uphill with an altitude gain from 3207 to 4167 m above sea level at the summit.

Heading to to the summit of Jebel Toubkal

Heading to to the summit of Jebel Toubkal from the Refuge du Toubkal
Heading to to the summit of Jebel Toubkal from the Refuge du Toubkal
Looking up towards Toubkal summit
Looking up towards Toubkal summit
Fancy some scree running down from the top ridge of Toubkal? See if you can spot the people running down!
Fancy some scree running down from the top ridge of Toubkal? See if you can spot the people running down!
Toubkal summit in the distance
Toubkal summit in the distance
Mohammad prior to the final push to the top of Toubkal
Mohammad prior to the final push to the top of Toubkal
The group at the summit of Toubkal. Mission accomplished.
The group at the summit of Toubkal. Mission accomplished.

Next Step- Climbing Jebel Toubkal in Winter

Climbing Toubkal was a fantastic experience and I would definitely love to go back to the Atlas Mountains although I would like to see the contrast in winter. You don't really associate Morocco with snow but up high in the Atlas there are even Ski resorts.

Next time I head back to Morocco for an adventure I think it will have to be for some winter climbing of Toubkal. It would certainly be a bigger challenge but I feel I'm up to the task!

I really wish I had climbed Toubkal in Winter- magical views and lots of snow

Climbing Jebel Toubkal in the snow. Definitely something I would like to go back to the Atlas Mountains for.
Climbing Jebel Toubkal in the snow. Definitely something I would like to go back to the Atlas Mountains for. | Source

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Comments 6 comments

CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 2 years ago from Nottingham UK Author

Thank you, it was a fantastic experience- from the people to the mountain itself. Well worth a trip if you ever get chance. Liam


Availiasvision profile image

Availiasvision 2 years ago from California

That looks like an amazing adventure! I shared it on twitter.


CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 4 years ago from Nottingham UK Author

Thanks you so much for the comment atlasandsaharatours. Toubkal is a great adventure!


atlasandsaharatours 4 years ago

Very nice post & amazing adventure up to Toubkal summit.


CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK Author

You're welcome MosLadder- it was a great trip and I have many great memories from it- particularly Marrakech.


MosLadder profile image

MosLadder 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

Fantastic journey! Great pics! Thanks for sharing.

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