The Toubkal National Park in the Western High Atlas By far the country’s most-visited park is and there’s talk that the government may begin charging an admission levy (there are no entrance fees to any of the country’s protected areas) on visitors, a move already agreed to in principle by many trekking operators, so long as the funds are used toward the park itself.
This area is one of the most scenic regions in all of Morocco, a land of majestic, sometimes snowcapped, mountains; verdant valleys; terraced fields; and remote Berber villages. The main focus for trekkers is the Toubkal National Park, centered around the 4,167m-high (13,671-ft.) Jebel Toubkal. The park is usually approached via Asni, a ramshackle village worth a stop only for its Saturday souk, which attracts its fair share of day-tripping busloads. Upward from Asni is the attractive village of Imlil, from where most ascents of Jebel Toubkal depart and where there’s an established infrastructure of accommodations, guides, and mule transport. For pure mountain air that cuts through the heat and makes you giddy, don’t miss the highest mountain in North Africa: snowcapped Jebel Toubkal. Mountain trails, criss-crossing the High Atlas head up and away from base camps at Imlil, where there’s a handy and highly informative bureau des guides. Travel agencies in Marrakesh can also arrange multiday treks with English-speaking guides.
The Saturday souq is the major draw for travelers at this junction of the Marrakesh-Taroudannt road and the Mizane Valley road to Imlil, 47km south of Marrakesh. Sellers lug fruit, vegetables and livestock over the Atlas Mountains to sell here, but increasingly you’ll find jewellery, rugs and souvenirs among the donkeys. From Asni there’s an old mule track running through the Mizane Valley and past tiny stone Berber villages to Imlil; the route takes about six hours.
The sleeper hit of the Mizane Valley, tiny terraced Imlil (elevation 1740m) has become a favorite hitching post for trekkers and overheated Marrakesh escapees. The paved road ends here, and it’s a five-hour trek to the base of Jebel Toubkal. You could make a day trip of it with a mountain stream hike, but the real attraction here is waking up in a High Atlas nook surrounded by flowering trees in spring and snowcapped Jebel Toubkal in the heat of summer. <!–
Getting to Toubkal, Asni & Imlil
Frequent local buses (Dh15, 1′h hours) and grands taxis (Dh30, one hour) leave south of Bab er-Rob in Marrakesh (south of the medina) to Asni. Local minibuses and very occasional taxis travel the final 17km between Asni and Imlil (Dh15 to Dh20, one hour). Expect a car journey from Marrakesh to Imlil to take at least 2.5 hours.
I have traveled to over 45 countries throughout every continent (except Antarctica!) and first visited Morocco in 2016. After a career working in media for nonprofits and travel companies, I cofounded a technical marketing company and run a few websites around the web.