Phase 2 - Toubkal/Ouanoukrim Grand Atlas Occidental
The Kasbah de Toubkal is a showcase development for sustainable tourism in a fragile mountain environment. The product of an imaginative Berber and European partnership, this authentic eco guest house is not a hotel, more an extension of the hospitality that stems from the home of the Berbers who run it.
After arriving late afternoon, weary, hot, dirty and exhausted, I sank into the steam room to release the tightness of my legs. After a
lovely dinner of tagine, a sleep of the dead and a sumptuous breakfast I
reported to my new guide for Phase 2 of our adventure.
Kasbah De Toubkal – Imlil – 1740m
Azzadem Valley – 2250m
comparison to the terrain of our previous trek, this part of the Atlas
Mountains was much more steep and rugged – a long slog of pure endurance. We
climbed 2684m up the Tizi Mzik pass and then descended into the Azzaden Valley
for lunch and camp. During our interesting route through the juniper forests,
our guide taught us about the history of these forests and the medical remedies
it’s used in. Later, after a rest and some lunch, we walked to the head of the
valley at Tamsoult to shower in the waterfalls and swim in the plunge pools.
Azzadem Valley – 2250m
Nelter Hut - 3206m
climb was hard going, clambering up a steep gradient using both hands, but we
eventually summited Aguelzim N at 3547m high.
was eager for us to leave (the weather looked ominous), so we didn’t have long
to enjoy the amazing views of the Imlil valley and the Toubkal range of peaks.
With luck, we arrived back at camp just hours before the weather broke. I was
resting in my tent when I heard, and almost felt, an almighty crack of thunder.
Lightening created a light show behind the tent’s flimsy red outer layer, and
it shook as the storm threw enormous hailstones the size of golf balls. Water
dripped from the wet seams of the tent. The tent zip was wrenched open with a
huge show of force, and I was hauled from the tent, grabbing all the warm
clothing I could thrown on as I went to take refuge in the Nelter Hut. The
guide urged me to run quickly to avoid the forked lightening. I pushed against
the Nelter Hut door with the wind behind me, to find a room full of bedraggled
trekkers sitting in the gloom. We remained there all night, sleeping back to
back, sandwiched between my fellow escapees. It felt strange, after the
isolation of Mgoun, to be in with other trekkers, who tend to be drawn more to
the Toubkal region.