Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need special equipment to climb Toubkal?
- What level of fitness do we need?
- What travel insurance do we need?
- Are the itineraries on the website fixed?
- What about altitude sickness?
- Is there a maximum or minimum number?
- When are the treks?
- How do we book and pay?
- What is the weather like?
- What is the accommodation on the treks?
- Is accommodation in Marrakech included?
- What about the language?
- What do we need to bring?
- What is not included in the price?
- What is included in the price?
It depends on the time of year! Toubkal is not technically difficult to climb and in the summer no special equipment is needed to reach the summit.
In winter and early/late season (April/May and October/November), it will be cold and can be very cold. So warm clothing is essential, preferably layers and a good anorak. Hat and gloves are essential.
There will be snow in winter, early spring and autumn, so crampons and ice axes may be needed. Ahmed will advise if they are required. They can be hired.
A walking pole is not essential but can be very useful, especially in the colder months. If you do not bring your own, they can be provided.
Finally, the ascent of Toubkal is a great experience and on a clear day offers spectacular views across to the Sahara desert. It is well worth considering - however, it is best to acclimatise by tackling Toubkal at the end of a few days trekking.
What level of fitness do we need?
The level of fitness required depends on the trek chosen. Some treks, for example, Three Valleys, should be within the capabilities of any reasonably fit walker or family. A trek which includes the summit of Toubkal or any of the high passes (above 3000m) is more demanding and requires a higher level of fitness and some experience of mountain walking.
However, our guides will adapt the pace of the trek to your fitness: most days are 5 to 6 hours walking with plenty of time to rest - and admire the views! Remember also that the mules carry your heavy luggage: all you need to carry is a small daypack.
If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor that you are fit enough to participate. In any case it is essential to take out travel and medical insurance in case of accident or illness.
What travel insurance do we need?
On a trek and to a lesser extent on a desert tour, there is always some risk of accident or illness. You should ensure that you are physically capable of participating in the trek or tour before booking. You also need to arrange adequate travel and medical insurance, including evacuation, medical expenses and repatriation. Ensure that your insurance covers you for the heights at which you will be trekking, eg over 4000m if your trek includes Toubkal.
If you do not have insurance, you are liable to pay all the costs resulting from your accident or illness.
Are the itineraries on the website fixed?
The itineraries on the website may be subject to change, usually because of weather conditions. The guide may vary a route in the interests of safety.
If you wish, the duration and routes of the treks can usually be changed to suit your needs. This should to be agreed in advance although every effort will be made to accommodate this en-route.
What about altitude sickness?
Anyone, even the fittest, can be affected by altitude sickness above about 2700m. The symptoms are shortness of breath, headaches, lethargy and possibly diarrhoea and sickness. At 4000 metres (the height of Toubkal) the symptoms are not severe and usually last no longer than 24 hours. In severe cases it can prevent the sufferer continuing with the trek. Most of our treks are designed to mitigate the effects of altitude sickness by gradual ascent and acclimatisation over several days. Most trekkers, however, are fine, but it is a wise precaution to bring with you a supply of headache, re-hydration and anti-diarrhoeal tablets.
Is there a maximum or minimum number?
No, except for treks to the Saghro and Sirwa regions where we prefer a minimum number of 4. For other treks a good number is between 4 and 6. But we cater for couples, sole travellers and large groups.
When are the treks?
Most treks take place from late March until October, when there is less risk of passes being blocked by snow. But it is possible with the right equipment to trek throughout the year. Please contact us for details of winter treks and the equipment required. The exceptions are trekking in Jebel Sahro and Amezmiz which is all year round and for which no special equipment is required.
How do we book and pay?
Find a trek you are interested in then contact us via our enquiry form to discuss your trek and check availability. Once the details of your trek (duration, route and number of people) have been agreed, we will make a provisional booking, giving the dates and cost.
To confirm your booking we ask you to pay a non-refundable deposit. This can be in Euros, pounds sterling or US dollars. Payment is by bank transfer. The balance is paid in Morocco – again in Euros, sterling or dollars – at the beginning of the trek.
What is the weather like?
The best time of year for trekking is from around May to early November. In May and November it can still be very cold at night – below freezing – and there is the possibility of snowfalls which can result in a change of route. Usually by the end of May the snow has gone and even the summit of Toubkal is free of snow. In the height of summer it can be very hot – up to 40C – during the day but the nights are still cold. Although the climate is generally dry and sunny, heavy storms can occur at any time.
What is the accommodation on the treks?
Often, on longer treks and to remote areas, in the summer we camp, normally by a stream or river, in tents or bivouac. On many treks we also stay for at least one night in a Berber house (gite) or mountain refuge.
Is accommodation in Marrakech included?
We do not automatically include accommodation in Marrakech as part of the package. Please see our Accommodation section for recommended accommodation in Marrakech. It is best for clients to book their accommodation in Marrakech themselves as they can choose the room(s) and the price(s). We do include transport to and from Marrakech in our itineraries.We can also recommend and arrange accommodation in other areas – mountain villages, coastal resorts and desert areas. Accommodation during the trek and desert tour is usually included in the price for the trek.
What about the language?
Most of the inhabitants of the Atlas region are Berber. They speak Berber and Arabic, and many speak French. Depending on your language we will try to provide an English, French or Spanish speaking guide. Most of our guides are fluent in several languages.
What do we need to bring?
This list is for guidance only: not all the items are required for every trek and in all seasons. For Day Excursions trainers or walking shoes and fleece or anorak will usually suffice. Sleeping bags may be needed for camping and overnight in refuges but are not usually needed in guest houses. If necessary they can be hired.
For some treks, particularly the ascent of Toubkal in Autumn and Winter, crampons, ice axes and walking poles may be needed. They can be hired if required.
If in doubt as to what to bring contact Ahmed once your trek is confirmed.
Essential items for most treks are highlighted in the list below:
- sleeping bag (may be required, eg when camping) ,
- stout walking boots,(or walking shoes for some summer treks
- water purification tablets to treat river water when camping (bottled water can sometimes be bought),
- warm clothing (preferably layers rather than one thick item),
- sun cream/block and sun hat
- swimming gear (for Lake Ifni and mountain pools),
- day pack (for personal items),
- water bottle
- walking pole(s),
- hat and gloves (especially early and late season),
- anorak (waterproof jacket).
- toilet paper.
(if you use them)
What is not included in the price?
- Airport to hotel transfers
- Accommodation in Marrakech
- Travel insurance
- Ski equipment (Ski Touring)
- Crampons and ice axes for some Winter Treks. (Can be hired)
What is included in the price?
- Transfer from Marrakech at the start and transfer to Marrakech at the end of the trek
- Accommodation on the trek. This is in tents (usually summer only), in Berber houses or refuges (depending on the trek chosen)
- All meals on the trek. Meals are freshly prepared and cooked and are typical Moroccan dishes (tajine, soup, couscous) Soft drinks, tea and coffee included with all meals
- The services of a qualified, experienced English or French-speaking mountain guide.
- Mules and muleteers and cook. The mules carry your heavy luggage (a rucksack or holdall is recommended). You only need carry a day pack
(pick up where possible from your hotel)