Four-day hike in Atlas mountains, Morocco with a guide and transport donkey


We did a four-day hike in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, in March 2016. It was part of a 12-day trip around Morrocco. We hiked from Imlil near Mount Toubkal and slept in simple guesthouses in the villages we passed. We had hired a local agency to arrange the tour for us that included a guide, donkey driver and a cook. Tobias and Nikolaj were 9 and 7 yeas old.

We had expected sunny spring weather and views of the iconic Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. But we were in for a real surprise! We had a snow storm and realised how cold and rough the unheated and uninsulated guesthouses are in winter. Luckily we had brought the right gear, but it was a lot rougher than expected, and the freezing evenings and nights were a mental challenge.

The four-day hike in Atlas mountains was arranged by Housseine from TrekMorocco.com. He created the itinerary for us, and arranged the people who would help us on the hike, and we would use his agency again if we should need that service.

As we hiked with young kids, the agency recommends that we hike with a guide, a donkey driver and a cook. I don’t know if you could hike without a guide. The trails are not marked, so you would need good maps a perhaps a gpx file with your route. It was also the guide who new the location of the very anomynous guesthouses, gite d’etape.

The donkey meant that we don’t need to carry heavy bagpacks, and the boys only had to carry a small daypack, and that is a great comfort. The cook was fantastic, we had great meals on the trip. A real luxury and comfort on a rough hike! It was easy to arrange gluten free meals for Tobias, as Moroccan food typically is gluten free. Read more about our experiences travelling gluten free in Morocco here. We came back to Morocco in 2020, read about those experiences here.

Itinerary for our four-day hike in Atlas mountains

Our guide adjusted the itinerary according to the unexpected snowfall. We walked from village to village in this order:

  • Day 1: Imlil to Tacheddirt
  • Day 2: Tacheddirt to Imi Ouglad
  • Day 3: Imi Ouglad to Tizyane
  • Day 4: Tizyane to Imlil

Day 1

The beginning of our hike in Atlas mountains
Start of the hike from Imlil. Our guide Amir leads the way. It was cloudy and had started to rain. Hey, it was supposed to be sunny!
The village Tacheddirt on the terraced side of the mountain. At this time in the afternoon it had been snowing for hours, and it was starting to get cold.

Day 2

Start of the second day of our hike in Atlas mountains
Snow in the morning as we leave Tacheddirt. It was good to be back on the feet again after a very cold night. The guesthouses are simple concrete structures with nu insulation or heating, and many of the glass panes missing in the windows. The afternoon and evening had been very cold. We sat in all our clothes under blankets.
Tacheddirt in snow
Tobias get to ride the donkey to relax a little.
Nikolaj after another valley-crossing
Passing through one of the many small villages
First we had snow, then mud coloured our boots red.

Day 3

Start of the third day of our hike in Atlas mountains
Imi Ouglad in the morning sun, as seen from the guest house where we stayed. This was the best of the places we stayed, the guesthouse had an outdoor “hamman” where we could have a warm shower.
Yes, the clouds cleared and we had blue sky and a view of the Atlas mountians!
Enjoying the sun.
Energised and happy hikers
Goats climbing trees to eat nuts is a typical sight in Morocco.
Village in Atlas
Entering Tizyane
Our bedroom in the guesthouse in village Tizyane. The other guesthouses were similar. Mattresses on the floor with blankets. We had brought our own sleeping bags.

Day 4

Breakfast in the dining room in the guesthouse in village Tizyane. Despite the simple facilities, all our meals were delicious. The water on the wall is melted snow from the roof
Start of the fourt day of our hike in Atlas mountains
Prepared for a cold and wet day in Atlas
Stunning views of the peaks of Atlas and villages in the valleys below
Sun and blue sky always lifts the spirits
Another delicious lunch. By the river just outside Imlil.

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