The High Altas (Morocco)

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In the late 70′s and early 80′s the High Atlas in Morocco was one of my favorite destinations. I did a dozen trekking trips between the Djebel Toubkal on the West and Imilchil on the East. I visited most of the valleys in the High Atlas range, but did not take any photos.

 

I re-discovered Morocco in 2002, and I did several trips since then. Despite the much larger number of visitors than in the 70′s, the mountain remains as beautiful as ever and the hospitability of the berbers hasn′t changed. With the Sherpas in Nepal, the berbers of the Atlas are perhaps the most friendly and hospitable people on earth. I plan to return as often as possible to Morocco in the coming years.

 

Djebel Toubkal (June 2003)

 

Djebel Mgoun (October 2003)

 

Djebel Waougoulzat (June 2004)

 

Taghia-Koucer-Assif-Melloul (September 2005)

 

High Atlas of Marrakech (June 2006)

 

Tabant-Mgoun-Imejdag-Taghia-Oussikis (June 2008)

 

Traverse of the East ridge of the Mgoun massif (July 2010)

 

Ait-Bouguemez Valley to Anmiter around Jebel Rat (April 2013)

 

 

 

About guides and mules:

Many treks in the Atlas can be done without guides or mules. However, over the years I have found that guides and mules make the treks more enjoyable and certainly much more comfortable. Treks are then less physically demanding, which makes it possible to explore alternative routes and do additional hikes in the evenings. Guides and muleteers also know paths that would be very difficult to find from a map. They increase safety, especially when confronted to mean dogs. In addition, using guides and muleteers help the local economy. Prices are usually very reasonable.

 

I most strongly recommend Oumar Oulaїdi, who is a CFAMM (Ait Bouguemez Mountain Training Center) certified guide with considerable technical training in France as well. Oumar owns a small guiding company called Maroc Profond. His email is marocprofond@wanadoo.fr. He can organize and guide treks in the Atlas and in the desert (Jebel Sahro). For individuals and small groups who are only looking for limited support, he may just provide reliable muleteers. He can arrange logistics, including riad reservations in Marrakech and transportation. I have known Oumar for several years. He is a very friendly person with a good sense of humor. He can be fully trusted. His father owns a gite (a kind of guesthouse) in Tabant, where the hospitality of the Oulaїdi family is flawless. The gite is very comfortable and clean. It has hot showers and the food is delicious. Oumar and his father have created foundations to help preserve Berber culture and support education in the Atlas.

 

Some photos of the Oulaїdi family′s gite in Tabant (the family, the terrasse, the view from the terrasse):

IMG_0833 IMG_0815 IMG_0810