The perfect introduction to Morocco; an insight into the colourful city of Marrakech along with some varied walking exploring the striking High Atlas Mountains. Based in the remote and picturesque Tijhza Village, we stay in a simple but pleasant gite and enjoy optional walks each day. The pace is relaxed, allowing us to enjoy the scenery of the mountains and learn about the way of life of the friendly Berber people. Our time in Marrakech sees us exploring the busy souks or choosing to relax in the tranquil Majorelle Gardens.
The day is spent in the 'Pink City' of Marrakech where we can soak up the atmosphere, with views of the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas in the background. The town is a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. In the morning we have a guided tour to orientate ourselves and the afternoon is free for individual sightseeing. You can choose whether to brave the haggling of the souks, visit the more peaceful Jardin Majorelle or relax in one of the hammam steam baths. In the evening we can visit the Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means 'place of death' as it was the place where the Sultans used to display the heads of their enemies. Now, with the snake charmers, water-sellers, travelling musicians, acrobats and food stalls it is a place of entertainment for both locals and visitors.
Today we drive into the High Atlas Mountains. The road up to the mountains is a real switchback but very scenic. Eventually we cross the Tizi'n'Tichka which, at 2260m, is the highest road pass in Morocco. This is a narrow range of mountains and we soon drop into the gorge on the other side. It is here that we turn off into a wide valley towards Telouet where we stop to take a look at the Kasbah. This amazing fortress/palace was the stronghold of the Glaoui clan until the late fifties. From their mountain eyrie the tentacles of their power spread out, not only across Morocco but also shook European politics. On their downfall they were dispersed and the castle fell into disrepair. Consequently, we can now only look at this labyrinthine mass from the outside. From here we push on to Anmiter where we have lunch before walking gently uphill for an hour to our gite (bags are transported separately). Late in the afternoon there's the option to walk up to a rocky viewpoint overlooking the hills surrounding Tijhza gite.
Below are example walks and may be amended locally depending on the ability of the group and the weather. A moderate 6-hour loop through the Tizi'n'Ourghsan and back down the Ouarikt River to the village. Starting in the terraced fields of Ouarikt we climb up through the high summer pastures to reach the Col with fantastic views of the Ouarikt Gorge. After a relaxing lunch close to a waterfall we follow the river's route back to the village (6 hours walking, Alt. gain/loss 600m). Leaving the gite and heading around the back of Mt n'Oughlagal (2600m), we are met with fantastic views of the valley before arriving back at the gite for lunch. In the afternoon there's time to take a stroll around the village (3-4 hours walking, Alt. gain/loss 700m). A longer, harder day includes a visit to the beautiful Lake Tamda, strikingly azure against the stark white-rock scenery. This lake is almost a kilometre long, lying between the impressive peaks of Jebel Anghomar and Jebel Tamda. In the afternoon we retrace our steps to our start point. If the leader feels that this walk is beyond the capabilities of the majority of the group, a shorter day along the same route will be planned (9-10 hours walking or 5 hours for shorter walk, Alt. gain/loss 750m).
Second day of group walks as above.
Third day of group walks as above.
We say goodbye to Tijhza gite and return to Marrakech by lunchtime leaving the afternoon free for more sightseeing such as Menara Gardens or some last minute shopping. Alternatively, you may decide to relax in the hotel and enjoy the swimming pool.