Walking in Morocco - Atlas to Atlantic

Walking in Morocco - Atlas to Atlantic

Start: Marrakech Finish: Marrakech

Visiting: Marrakesh, Ouirgane, Oulad Berhil, Essaouira


Duration: 7 Nights

Physical rating: Medium, Easy

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour code: MAA

Tour operator: Explore!

Group size: 4 - 16

Age range: 14-99

Tour operated in: English


From: $850 $745

Extra tourhub saving: $15

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Tour Overview

This walking trip takes you among the foothills of the majestic High Atlas Mountains to the windswept Atlantic coast. Explore the beaches and valleys, dotted with fruit orchards and tiny villages. Discover ancient Marrakech and the lively craft markets of Essaouira. Riad - Spend four nights in traditional accommodation Berber people - Discover their homeland taking lunch with a family Essaouira - Relax in this laid back town sampling fresh fish

Highlights

  • iconRiad - Spend four nights in traditional accommodation
  • icon Berber people - Discover their homeland taking lunch with a family
  • iconEssaouira - Relax in this laid back town sampling fresh fish

Places You'll See

Atlas Mountains Morocco
Old city of Essaouira
Moroccan village at sunrise in the High Atlas Mountains
Valley near Agadir
Essaouira port in Morocco

Itinerary

icon Day 1: Join trip in Marrakech

Location: Marrakesh

Accommodation: Hotel Almas

The trip starts today in Marrakech. Morocco's famous 'Red City', Marrakech is the spiritual heart of the country, a cultural melting pot of the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the south. Blessed with some of the most stunning architecture in Morocco, its mix of tradition, colour and history make it the ideal starting point for our week of walking and exploration of Morocco.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Marrakech at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK), which is around 20 minutes' drive. If your flight arrives later in the evening, they will inform you of any essential information after breakfast on day two.

icon Day 2: Atlas Mountains hike through Berber villages; lunch with a local family

Location: Ouirgane

Accommodation: La Bergerie

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we leave the bright lights of Marrakech behind and head to the small village of Ouirgane in the High Atlas Mountains . Located in the heart of Toubkal National Park, Ouirgane is surrounded by red earth hills and pine forests. On arrival we'll ravel to a nearby Berber village to have lunch in a local house, a great opportunity to sample traditional home-cooking and learn more about the Berber culture. In Morocco lunch tends to be the main meal of day, we'll have a fresh salad followed by a traditional Berber omelette cooked in a clay tagine blending eggs with delicious savoury spices.

Following lunch we take a short drive out to the Bridge of Assiff Azdeb, from where we'll walk among the olive groves towards the village of Tikhfist. Stopping at a panoramic view point overlooking the valley we see Lalla Takerskout Lake shimmering below. Taking the path down to the villages of Torort and Anraz, we return to the hotel on foot, surrounded by the scent of juniper and pine.

Our hotel tonight is set within an extensive landscaped garden with spectacular mountain views and a inviting outdoor swimming pool. The rustic rooms are traditionally decorated, arranged around the central courtyard.

Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours with 250 metres of ascent and descent.

icon Day 3: Walk to 12th century Tinmel Mosque, drive over Tizi ‘n’ Test Pass to Ouled Berhil

Location: Oulad Berhil

Accommodation: Riad Hida

Meals: Breakfast

Today we continue our journey through the mountains, to Ouled Berhil, stopping off along the way to visit the 12th century Tinmel mosque. We take a short walk crossing the Oued Nfiss Valley to view the red brick fortress from above before entering the site. Tinmel is one of the only two mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims and was once considered the centre of the powerful Almohades dynasty. You can admire the brick arches and elaborate Mihrab of the roofless building.

Continuing by bus we take a breathtaking drive crossing the High Atlas Mountains over the Tizi n Test pass (2,092 metres) to the Souss Plain. This scenic road is winding and spectacular. Weaving its way up into the mountains through a series of switchbacks, you can take in the fabulous views back across to the Toubkal Massif. Descending to the Souss Valley, across the agricultural plain, past orange groves to arrive at Ouled Berhil.

For the next two nights we'll be staying in a traditional Moroccan house known as a riad. Riad Hida was built in 1860 and the property boasts lush gardens with fountains, palms, fruit trees and an outdoor swimming pool, you may even spot peacocks roaming the grounds. The lounge and dining rooms feature several collectors items, with colourful mosaic adorning the walls and ceilings.

icon Day 4: Hike in the Afensou Valley and enjoy lunch in a village house

Location: Oulad Berhil

Accommodation: Riad Hida

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we take an excursion to the valley of Afensou, a scenic drive northwards into the Western High Atlas. Arriving at a view point overlooking the valley, we walk down to Afensou village passing along farm terraces, observing people at work in their gardens and collecting vegetables, affording us an insight into Berber life. We have lunch in Afensou at a family-run guest house, feasting on the famed Moroccan tagine, accompanied by freshly baked Khobz bread, a rounded bread that forms a staple of the local diet. This slow cooked savoury stew is named after the clay dish it's cooked in, bursting with the sweet and sour flavours of dates and spices.

On the way back to Ouled Berhil we make a stop at Taroudante, a walled city in the Souss Valley known as 'Little Marrakesh'. This thriving market town is a meeting place for the mountain Berbers trading their locally produced food and crafts, there will be time to stroll around the Medina.

Today's four kilometre walk is expected to take around two hours with 100 metres of descent.

icon Day 5: Depart the Atlas Mountains for Essaouria; hike Atlantic Coast beaches en route

Location: Essaouira

Accommodation: Riad Al Madina

Meals: Breakfast

We leave the Atlas Mountains behind us today as we head to Agadir on the coast and drive alongside the Atlantic Ocean to Sidi Mbarek. This beautiful drive, hugging the coast, takes us past small villages, banana plantations and beaches where you can spot camels and surfers. During the journey keep an eye out for the bizarre sight of goats grazing in the trees! In the south west of Morocco, cloven-hoofed goats climb Argan trees attracted by the fruits' pulp.

This afternoon's walk takes us from the small village of Sidi Mbarek down to the beach, walking along the deserted sand, surrounded by sand dunes and vast ocean views. Arriving at the sleepy surf town Sidi Kaouki the bus will be waiting to take us on to Essaouira.

Essaouira is a colourful coastal fishing town set within 15th century Portuguese fortifications. Whilst here we'll stay in the Riad Al Madina in a beautiful setting within the city walls. This former 19th Century palace has been carefully restored to retain the charm and elegance of its original splendour. Rooms lead off from a central courtyard filled with plants and fountains and there are great views over the city's Medina from the sun terrace.

Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours, along a flat route.

icon Day 6: Walking tour in Essaouira. Explore this charming walled Kasbah with its many craft shops

Location: Essaouira

Accommodation: Riad Al Madina

Meals: Breakfast

This morning we take a walking guided tour of Essaouira. Entering the old walled Medina, passing through a narrow, highly decorated arch, we are greeted by a host of merchants selling local handicrafts and women carrying out their daily routines, veiled in their traditional dress.

We'll walk along the impressive ramparts, admiring the view of the wild Atlantic Ocean, to the port area of the town. This bustling port is crammed with bobbing blue fishing boats. We can observe fishermen mending their nets and try some delicious freshly grilled sardines.

The rest of day is left free for you to explore further at your leisure, strolling around the craft stalls and along the fine sandy beach.

icon Day 7: Return to Marrakech, discover the city’s souks and Jamaa el Fna Square on a walking tour

Location: Marrakesh

Accommodation: Hotel Almas

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast we return by bus to Marrakech and in the afternoon take a guided walking tour of the Old City. Marrakech is a feast for the senses and Djemmael- Fna Square is a spectacle not to be missed with many street performers to watch and enjoy. The 70m-high tower of the 12th-century, Koutoubia Mosque dominates the skyline. Prohibited from entering this mosque, we'll admire the architecture from the outside.

We visit the ornate 19th century Bahia Palace, with its lush gardens, rooms decorated in elegant Moroccan style and a grand marble-paved courtyard. We see further examples of Moroccan opulence at the Saadian Tombs and the lavish Mausoleum of el Mansour built during the reign of Sultan Ahmad el Mansour during the Saadian dynasty.

There will be time to further explore the souks independently, losing yourself in the maze of narrow streets.

icon Day 8: Trip ends in Marrakech

Location: Marrakesh

Meals: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Marrakech .

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Marrakech at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).

Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to wander in the souks of Marrakech or buy your last souvenirs before departure.

What's Included

  • icon
    Fully Guided

  • icon
    Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 7 Lunch: 2

  • icon
    All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • icon
    Accommodation

    2 nights comfortable hotel 1 nights premium hotel 4 nights comfortable riad

What's Not Included

  • icon
    Country Entry Visas

  • icon
    Tipping and Gratuities

  • icon
    1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

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Got a question? Check out our Q&As

Ask A Question
Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

Yes

Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

Yes

What is the maximum group size?

16

Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

Yes

Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

Yes

    Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

    Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

    I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

    Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

    Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

    How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

    Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

    Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

    What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

    What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

    What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

    Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

    What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

    Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

    Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Dates & Availability

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Oct 23, 2021

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$882

Oct 30, 2021

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Apr 16, 2022

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May 14, 2022

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May 21, 2022

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May 28, 2022

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Sep 10, 2022

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Sep 17, 2022

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Oct 22, 2022

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Oct 29, 2022

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Nov 05, 2022

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Apr 08, 2023

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Apr 15, 2023

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May 20, 2023

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May 27, 2023

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Sep 09, 2023

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Sep 16, 2023

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Oct 21, 2023

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Oct 28, 2023

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Oct 28, 2023

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Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

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Oct 28, 2023

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Nov 04, 2023

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Nov 04, 2023

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