Mount Toubkal – Essential Info
At Mount Toubkal the World we believe in providing our clients with the best service and key to the enjoyment of any adventure holiday in our opinion is the balanced and up-to-date information offered by the tour operator. We are confident that the items detailed below when taken in conjunction with a reputable and reliable guidebook will enhance your Trekking experience as well as ensuring you receive the very best service from Mount Toubkal the World in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
M-T : STAFF
It is important that our staff in our Mount Toubkal office have experienced the wonder of High Atlas Mountains Trekking and are able to answer many of your important questions.
Mohamed, for example, has trekked in the Toubkal and Berber regions and visited many of the places included on our hiking itineraries; he has also made it to the top of Jebel Toubkal – many of the photos on our website were taken by him and his traveling companions on his various trips to the region.
M-T : GUIDES
All Mount Toubkal guides are fully licensed and are experienced from an early age in the Atlas Mountains areas, and guiding continues to be the heart and soul of who we are. We require that all of our guides undergo extensive safety training before officially joining us a mountain guide /or winter guide, local knowledge and guiding abilities. We believe that a local, licensed guide will offer more insight into the High Atlas region and Berber people as well as enhancing the local economy.
As well as a tip (see below) if you have had a great experience with your guide you may wish to offer him something of yours that will assist his duties.
Please be guided by your guide’s expert advice on difficult or exposed paths and please respect the prayers of your guide and muleteers – they will usually do this outside of walking times so as not to interrupt your hiking.
M-T : PORTERS
Most of our porters are from the Atlas Mountain region who are able to perform carrying tasks in the high atlas and around all types of trails in Toubkal. They will carry your luggage, food and other necessary items in a safe and secure way. They are very conscious of maintaining your belongings in good condition. We would like to request all our clients to go with an open up and be ready to experience all the fun and excitement of your trek, and also rest assured that our Porters and Guides are comfortable and happy people to be accompanied by. You can ask any quarries you may have about the culture, people and country. You feel very safe, comfort and pleasure after hiring a Guide and Porter.
Credentials of our Porters
– They are of mid-age and able to carry 25-30 kg stuff without any hesitation.
– They are mostly from the Atlas mountain regions and have been working in the Trekking field as a Porter for many years.
– They are strong, powerful, capable and caring.
– They have more knowledge about the trails so they may alert you about the ways and other potential hazards.
– They are very honest and humble of their personal integrity.
M-T : MULETEERS & MULES & LUGGAGE
Your team of muleteers, along with mules, will vary in number depending upon the size of your group and whether you are camping or staying in gites/refuge but they will all perform the same function which is to provide a full back up service for your hike, cook and prepare meals and set up the evening camp.
The mule team will load up your luggage, food and, if relevant, the camping equipment at the start of each day but will not always walk either at the same time, pace or route as your hiking party so it is important that you consider which items you may require to carry yourself in the morning and then again in the afternoon as on some days you may only meet up at lunch-time.
The mules are completely used to carrying the loads and it is not unusual for them to carry in excess of 80 kgs each which is equally balanced in two baskets. The muleteers take great care in both hygiene and presentation of your food and perform wonders with such limited conditions.
We recommend you take your trekking luggage in a large holdall or rucksack which can perhaps be folded up inside your main luggage if you are also traveling around the Atlas Mountains and wish to have the security of your usual suitcase(s). You should also take a suitable daypack which will carry drinking water, camera, hat, raincoat, etc. as you may not be in direct contact with your support team at all times during the day.
In winter much of the region above 2500m can be snow-covered and hiking in these areas could require the use of crampons and ice axes. High winds and precipitation in whatever form may preclude some routes and this will be discussed before you set out or can be modified at any time with the advice of your guide.
We will maintain our programme of trekking during the holy month of Ramadan but we would ask you to respect your team by allowing them the courtesy of eating an early breakfast (before sunrise) and to avoid, where possible, drinking, smoking and snacking immediately in front of them during the day – they will, of course, prepare the usual lunch though as part of their duties.
It is important to drink lots of water during your hike; water can be purchased in Marrakech before you set off or in Imlil. It is also possible to obtain water from small kiosks in many villages and from the trailhead of Imlil and at the Toubkal refuge. You will need to carry some of this yourself but your mules will carry some more; please discuss with your guide the water requirements on a regular basis.
Breakfast – tea, coffee, juice, fruit, milk, bread, butter, jam, cheese, porridge
Picnic lunch – fresh Moroccan salad, cheese, sliced sausage, tinned tuna fish and sardines, bread, fruit, mint tea (pasta, beans, potatoes, and rice can also be included).
Dinner – Soup, Tajine (chicken or mutton with vegetables), spaghetti, couscous (main courses rotate depending on the duration of the trek, although you are more likely to get couscous on a Friday), bread, coffee, tea, cake, fruit.
* Vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary requirements of any kind need to advise at time of reservation.
Naturally, tipping is an entirely personal matter and a little goes a long way in Morocco; however, we are always asked for a little guidance so here is what we would consider as fair, amounts refer to your guide, a smaller amount can be given to your muleteer team:
1-3 days hiking –220 DHS per person total
4-7 days hiking – 300 DHS per person total
8 days + hiking – 350 DHS per person total
Of course, you can offer more if you wish; tips are usually held and then passed over during a handshake to avoid any embarrassment or undue attention to the matter.
GRADING OF HIKES
Whilst we try to ensure that our descriptions are accurate for most people wishing to undertake hiking in the Atlas Mountains, clearly, there are many different factors that contribute to the difficulty of a particular hike.
These include the length of day, terrain, altitude and weather conditions. Since these factors are necessarily variable, any system of grades can only provide a general indication.
We have tried to make our system as clear as possible but it cannot account for personal abilities or experience.
CLIMBING MOUNT TOUBKAL
The hike to the top of this peak which is almost 960m up from the refuge will usually take at least 3 hrs and start at 5 am followed by a fairly hard 2-3 hrs walk down amongst the loose rocks by another route where possible. It is essential that you are fully prepared for what is for many people a demanding walk. Try to get a good sleep the night before and a good breakfast (plus a Mars bar!) before setting off.
You are likely to need warm clothes all year round and strong boots are essential, even in summer a warm hat would be useful as well as some protection from the wind. If you climb down the northern route then look out for the wreckage of a plane which hit Toubkal in bad weather in the early 1960s, purported to be carrying guns from Portugal.
It is vitally important that you respect the mountain environment; litter, in particular, is damaging the landscape and can injure animals. Please, please take all your litter home or drop it off at suitable points.
Mount Toubkal guiding teams are proud guardians of their natural heritage and will ensure that rubbish is collected and either taken out or burned where possible. In fact, our guiding teams have been known to take a few extra minutes to collect and burn the rubbish of groups that were not so environmentally sensitive. Some organic matter can be left as much of it will be eaten by the local goats.