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Trekking

The term Trekking is derived from the Dutch word trek (noun), trekken (verb), (literally meaning to “pull, travel”). It became a word in English language in mid 19th century, and means a long arduous journey, typically on foot. People practising Trekking are often called Trekkers.

Trekkers in the High Atlas Mountains

Trekkers having a pause in the High Atlas Mountains

The Himalayan routes are famous for attracting a large number of trekkers. Typical trekking regions in Nepal are Annapurna, Dolpo, Langtang, Manaslu, Kangchenjunga, Mount Everest. In Morocco, the best region to go trekking is the Atlas Mountains, a mountain range across the northwestern stretch of Africa extending about 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,165 metres (13,665 ft) in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert.

Toubkal or Tubkal (Berber: ⵜⵓⴱⴽⴰⵍ, Tubkal, or ⵜⵓⴱⵇⴰⵍ, Tubqal; Arabic: توبقال‎)

Toubkal or Tubkal (Berber: ⵜⵓⴱⴽⴰⵍ, Tubkal, or ⵜⵓⴱⵇⴰⵍ, Tubqal; Arabic: توبقال‎)

In Amizmiz, you are at the foot of the High Atlas. It rises in the west from the Atlantic coast and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops abruptly and makes an impressive transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range. To the north, in the direction of Marrakech, the range descends less abruptly.

On the heights of Ouarzazate the massif is cut through by the Draa valley which opens southward. Here, water runs in some places, forming clear basins. It is mainly inhabited by Berber people, who live in small villages and cultivate the high plains of Ourika Valley. North of Amizmiz you may see the Barrage Cavagnac. There is a hydroelectric dam that has created the artificial lake called Lalla Takerkoust. The lake serves also as a source for fish for the local fishermen.

LallaTakerkoust barrage with High Atlas in the background

LallaTakerkoust barrage reservoir with High Atlas mountains in the background

South of Amizmiz to the east, there is another village called Ouirgane that lies on the eastern bank of the reservoir and barrage which dams the Oued Nfis river. It takes two days trekking with Guide Latifa Asselouf to reach Ouirgane from Amizmiz and the walk is wonderful.

Ouirgane,  the reservoir and barrage which dams the Oued Nfis river

Ouirgane, the reservoir and barrage which dams the Oued Nfis river

In Canada and the USA, the preferred term for a long, vigorous walk in the countryside is not Trekking but Hiking while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. Trekking in the High Atlas is safe and secure if you are accompanied by a knowledgeable guide and a good mule team. This is what Guide Latifa Asselouf can offer you. From Amizmiz, Ouarzazate, Taroudant, the vast area covered by Guide Latifa Asselouf is shown on the map below.

 

The darker area on the map is Latifa Asselouf Trekking Zone

The darker area on the map is Latifa Asselouf Trekking Zone

The largest villages and towns of the area are Ouarzazate, Tahanaoute, Amizmiz, Imlil, Tin Mal and Ijoukak. Imlil is the centre of mountain tourism in Morocco due to its unique position. From here, 90% of visitors head up to Toubkal, the highest mountain in Morocco. Imlil is the end of the tarmac road, and is a natural place to hire mountain guides and mules for the onward trek. The Film « Seven years in Tibet » was partly filmed in the village.

Imlil village base camp for Toubkal

Imlil village base camp for Toubkal