Morocco Summer Trip

From late
August to mid-September, a group of 15 UBESters hiked, scrambled, swam and
haggled in the incredibly beautiful and arid High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. After
Arriving in Marrakech, we spent the first week hiking in a loop around the area
north of Imlil (a large valley town in the centre of the Toubkal region) taking
in the remote, non-motorised town of Tacheddirt and the high ski-resort of
Oukaimeden. Sleeping in a combination of refuges and tents, we use this period
to acclimatise to the altitude by slowly increasing our sleeping height day to
day, and to tackle some beautiful peaks – Adrar Tamalaroute (2724m) which
dominates the Imlil valley and the spectacular yet terrifying peak of Adrar
Angour (3616m), all in preparation for the ascent of Mt Toubkal (4167m) and
others the next week. The hot weather didn’t dampen our spirits and in fact the
dryness of the air meant that it wasn’t all that unpleasant (mostly!), however
finishing walking before 2pm was desirable.
  
The second
week saw us at a higher average altitude, and as well as climbing Toubklal and
Ouanoukrim (4083) in spectacular wall to wall sunshine, we visited a lake and
another beautiful partly terraced valley in a demanding three day loop
finishing back in Imlil. The valleys cultivated and terraced by the local Berbers
provided a welcome break from the rocky, arid and exceedingly steep landscape higher
up. After returning to Marrakech we explored the world famous Place De Jema
(main square), visited some of the city’s lovely gardens (full of wildly
different types of cacti) and haggled ferociously for gifts from the bustling, colourful,
and seemingly never ending souks.
Highlights
of the trip included experiencing an out of this world view from the Toubkal summit
along the Spine of the 1000km Atlas and to the Sahara and beyond, climbing the
two highest mountains in North Africa, meeting some very hospitable and helpful
locals, and a hilariously fun evening by Lac D’ifni which included a limbo
competition and some seriously hard core night-time photography!

A full trip
report will be posted soon, but in the meantime, if anyone is thinking about
going to the High Atlas, I couldn’t recommend it more highly! The area is very
cheap and easily accessible from Marrakech and the UK for that matter, and with
some of the highest mountains in Africa and landscapes, culture and weather
different to anything European, this has to be a prime location for any keen
expeditioner wishing to venture out of the continent.

UBES

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