Toubkal National Park
Flora and fauna
Toubkal's climate is pretty cold and snowy in the winter and up to April, and from then it gets a kind of hotter and the snow starts to melt. You'd better take enough warm clothes. In the summer, like elsewhere in Morocco, expect hot temperatures at lower altitudes.
From Marrakech take a shared taxi to 1 Imlil, cost 40 dirham per seat. The journey takes 75-90 minutes. The taxis leave from a small market 1 km (2 blocks) south of the Bab-er-Rob, bus 35 from the Medina goes there. Taxis can be scarce after about 11:00. There should be no need to change transport at Asni as suggested in some older guide books or websites. In Imlil there is a mountain guide agency right next to the car park where the grand taxis are parked. Here a number of people will approach you either proposing the guide you to the refuges or to sell you a map. The maps are not very helpful and are quite expensive! It is perfectly simple to make the walk without a map or guide and to simple ask for directions on the trail if unsure.
From Imlil walk to the 2 Toubkal or CAF Refuge, about 6 hours, straight up the valley through Aroumd and Sidi Chamharouch. A more interesting route crosses the low pass to the west of Imlil to Azib Tamsoult (keep high and head south once across the pass, 4 hr). Camp or stay overnight at the gite there. Next day continue up the gorge past an awesome waterfall and turn sharp left at a path junction (1½ hours). Go right at the next path junction about 30 minutes further on. Zigzag up an enormous scree slope to a pass with superb views of Toubkal (3 hr). Descend easily southeast to the refuges. This route may not appear on older maps.
The ascent is on a good, well-marked path all the way. From the refuges cross the river below a waterfall (difficult after heavy rain). Scramble out of the gorge and follow a good path across a scree slope. Continue across boulders to a stream. Cross the stream and scramble up some rocks (cairned). The path makes a loop to the left, then a steep section threads through some massive rocks. The path continues up the corrie and zigzags up to a col at about 4000 m. Turn left at the col. You can cut the corner here, but the views are better if you stay close to the ridge. After a couple of false summits you see the true summit with its steel surveyors' tower. Towards the top, the ridge is difficult, so the path stays on the left (west) flank. Takes about 2½ hours if you're acclimatized.
- 1 Jbel Toubkal. The park's highest peak at 4167 m, and a popular climb. It is the highest mountain in Africa outside the 20 or so higher ones concentrated roughly between Ethiopia and Burundi.
When you get to Toubkal National Park, don't miss the opportunity to climb to its highest peak. The mountain seems to be hard to climb but, in fact, it deserves all the tiredness. When you get to the summit, you'll forget all what you've been through by looking around you and seeing the greatness of that landscape. If you want to take a stone or something else as a souvenir from there, it is legal.
- Riad Dar Adrar, Imlil. Small & comfortable guest house in a serene mountain setting in the Toubkal National Park. It's owned by a Berber Mountain guide. It features cosy and neat accommodation in beautiful, colourful Berber-style guestrooms, 5 of them with private bathrooms offering grand views over the valley (2 of them with private chimney), as well as 5 standard rooms with shared facilities, a roof terrace with panoramic views over the Imlil valley, and an on-site hammam or Turkish bath. A complimentary breakfast is served every day from 07:00 to 10:00 and delicious home-cooked meals can be provided on request. Guests staying at the Dar Adrar can also enjoy trekking & hiking tours starting righ away from the door, guided by the owner, Mohamed Aztat, a qualified Atlas mountain guide, and conveniently rent or buy the necessary mountaineering equipment in the on-site shop by the front desk.
Two European women were killed in December 2018. The offenders were caught and their motives declared to be terrorism. Inform yourself of the current situation.