Summer Treks in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco
For me, it all began by accident. In the summer of 1986, with a whole month in which to kick my heels, I had headed off to Morocco motivated only by a vague notion of touring the country by public bus until September should finally come around.
But once the heat of Marrakech proved too much, I jumped aboard a communal taxi, seeking the cool sanctuary of the High Atlas Mountains. I had heard that Imlil, the trailhead for Jebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in all Morocco and North Africa, too, was just 90 minutes away. Following a leisurely glass of mint tea, allowing enough time for a veteran of the mountains to point me in the right direction, I was soon scurrying up Toubkal’s west flanks.
From the summit, 4167m, where I was blissfully greeted by a brief flurry of snow, spectacular views opened up all around. I could see as far south as Ouarzazate, gleaming close to the horizon, with the Anti-Atlas Mountains and then the sands of the Sahara just beyond.
By the time I descended again, my shoes sliced from my feet by sharp mountain scree, I was happy – and already knew that I would simply have to return. Even today, perhaps 25 visits later, the possibilities of new treks and new discoveries continue to lure me back.
Alan Palmer is founder and director of Trek in Morocco Limited and author of Moroccan Atlas – the Trekking Guide, published by Trailblazer Publications.