Trekking To The Top Of North Africa – Mt Toubkal

Trekking To The Top Of North Africa – Mt Toubkal 1

Mt Toubkal, the highest summit in Morocco, the Atlas mountain range and North Africa. Standing at 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) this makes for a memorable experience trekking to and up. This truly wasn’t a case of turning up and walking up the mountain. The goal was to trek through valleys, over passes, up the side of other mountains and culminating in the Mt Toubkal summit itself after enjoying the journey. Every step was a joy in a wonderful country over spectacular terrain.

The contrast… Leaving the cold wet hills of Northumberland in the morning and landing in the hot temperatures over 40 degrees celsius of Marrakech in the afternoon, good times and good miles lay ahead. A night’s sleep in the bustling, fascinating city and we were off into the mountains. Like I said before, this was not just a plain climb. It was a week of exploring other valleys and heights in the area too. Our head guide Lahcen led the way, filled with expertise and such wonderful wit 🙂 Not just a guide but incredible how he passed on so much knowledge of Moroccan culture in such a way that you always wanted to learn more from him.

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Starting up one valley it was so far removed from the packed Marrakech. Beautiful mountain villages lay strewn throughout. Little pockets of civilisation sitting on the mountainsides as they have for hundreds of years. From a distance above they looked an incredible sight with their bright agricultural greenery surrounding the red/brown buildings and the mountains rising behind. Within the villages it was treat not only with shade but to catch glimpses of true local, rural mountain life here.

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

As I said before this was a trek through the Atlas to that summit so the varying views made it far removed from a slog of a single climb. Some days climbing up over 3000 m for lunch then back down in the next valley bottom to sleep. This not only made it a memorable week but subtly helped the legs get ready for summit day and the head and lungs fully prepared for the altitude. As a hiker and mountain trekker hand on heart one of the best holidays in Morocco to take, I am never one to sit on a beach as you know 😀

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

After the climb to base camp at Toubkal refuge it was time to get up early the next morning for summit day. The last few hours to the summit. Zigging and zagging up to the top. The peak getting closer with each step, the views getting bigger and more expansive. The heat of the last few days had negated the need for crampons over the snowy parts so a clear path ahead and upwards. After the toil the reward was there. The triangular metal structure sits atop. Deep breaths for all as we stood looking out and down. Over the Atlas mountains. Over the foothills and as far as the Sahara Desert. Breathtaking!

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa
Happy gang at the top

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa
Tip top guides Lahcen (on the left) and Hassan (on the right)

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Sadly it was time to head back down, with a smile though. The mules and muleteers had earned a damn big rest, the chef got a big big thank you for working his magic in extremes, not just for fueling us but for making the meals varying and delicious time after time. New friends had been made. The group of fellow trekkers made for laughs, learning and morale with each passing minute. Sharing those moments, sharing those thoughts, lovely new friends…..

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa

Mt Toubkal Morocco Africa
Sunset overlooking Marrakech

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16 Comments

  1. Paul Steele says:

    And thank you very much Julie 🙂

  2. I have been interested in this trip for a while so was very interested to read of your experiences – sounds like an amazing trip!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Linzi.. It is.. The country as a whole is worth visiting very much

  3. Derek Reid says:

    Paul, really great Photos.

    I am doing this at the end of June (with Exodus)and just wondered what time of year you did your trek?

    I’ll be speaking to Exodus anyway but just wondered how you got on with water?

    Anyway really useful article. Many thanks.

    Derek

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Derek, I did it in May… You have to buy your own water en route.

  4. Open skies and mountains… Awesome. JUST awesome.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thanks Josh, yes it is incredible honestly

  5. Stunning photography as ever Paul. I’m very envious. Sounds like my cup of tea entirely 🙂

    1. Paul Steele says:

      You would love it Emma 🙂 ty

  6. Sounds like a wonderful trip… I might have to add it to my list! Great photos too… thanks for sharing this experience.

  7. Paul, thank you for taking me to a place I will never go. The photos are wonderful. It must have been amazing to be there!

  8. Amazing! I would never have guessed Morocco if I had seen some of these shots – the landscape is awesome. I love the shot of the goat looking down!

    Nick

  9. The terrain is unbelievably beautiful..

  10. Amazing photos! It looks like you guys had great fun!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks Nini, yes you know i love my trekking and this was top stuff. Incredible place to be 🙂

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