After booking, we were always kept fully informed of the itinerary and details, so we left the UK very excited about a few days in the mountains.
We weren’t disappointed. Ever. From landing late at Marrakech on the Monday night, finding our Taxi driver easily, we headed out to Imlil for 90 minutes in a taxi. The trip was hilarious in so far as Moroccan men truly believe that the roads, well, exclusively belong to them. After many exclamations and gesticulations, we arrived safely at Imlil where we were met immediately in the pitch black by another guy and a mule to carry our bags to the guest house.
It was past 10pm now, and I pre-warned my brother that the chance of a good meal was probably long gone.
How wrong I was. We were greeted by a delicious chicken tagine, bread, water, fruit.... and we were immediately impressed. Now, the guest house was no five star hotel – but more of that later.
We met our guide that evening, a young, polite 24 year old, who told us that there had been early snow (big grins) – so he asked us if we had brought crampons (nope). No matter, he explained, we could hire them (phew).
We set off the next morning after a lovely breakfast. I won’t bore you with the details of the next three days walks because it will spoil it for you. But it was simply magnificent. If you like walking, and you’re happy with some effort to climb this peak, please take my word for it – you will not be disappointed. I walk regularly all over the UK, have done plenty of the highest hills, peaks and mountains – but there’s nothing quite like this in blighty. You’ll love it!
You do not need to be super-fit. At all. A good level of general fitness will be adequate, I promise. We (being twins) are both 42, have left our peak fitness a few years behind us, but our guide was perfectly good at judging our level of fitness and we never, ever, felt pressured into going faster than we had to. Now this young guy has done Toubkal up and down in one day. We took 3 – could have possibly managed it in 2, but would have been a much more demanding trek. I think 3 days was perfect for us.
There was time to spare at the end of day 1 at the refuge – perfect for a spot of relaxing on the balcony, reading, and being surprised with popcorn, biscuits and mint tea.
There was also time to spare at the end of day 2 at the next refuge – where we opted for staying in a tent. So there’s plenty of time for recharging your batteries.
Day 3 of walking is pretty much full on. Crampons make life so much easier on the route to the summit, though plenty of people didn’t use them. Oh, and don’t forget your gloves (I did!). After reaching for the summit, it’s a long walk back to Imlil, but there’s plenty of opportunities to stop. Again, it’s always at your pace.
Biggest surprise was the return to Imlil, where we were actually taken to Dar Adrar – turned out that on our arrival, it was full and we were taken to an alternative for our first night. Dar Adrar was a lovely guest house indeed, and was the perfect place to chill out that night, have a wonderful meal, and spend the last morning walking through the village, before a final taxi ride back to the airport.
I can’t rate this experience highly enough. The ascent was well paced and great fun. Tourdust have obviously got some great connections with people in Morocco and it shows. We were treated with politeness and courtesy constantly, we never felt hungry or thirsty (and we are both big guys), and we both absolutely loved the experience. As long as you go with your eyes wide open, you cannot fail to love this trek. Dar Adrar is a lovely guest house. The refuges are what they are – but as long as you don’t expect luxury ensuite rooms, you’ll be fine! And if sleeping with a dorm full of strangers isn’t your style, then camp out in the grounds in a tent. We did, and I think I’ve just caught the camping bug....
Well done Tourdust – an amazing experience we will never forget.
There is no ‘catch’!