Atlas Panorama Trip NotesAt Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Trip code: ETMP
Trip length: 8
Trip starts in: Marrakech
Trip ends in: Marrakech
Maximum group size: 16
Minimum group size: 6
OverviewThis part of romantic Morocco is the ideal place for trekking the Atlas Mountains. Hidden deep in the High Atlas Mountains are the crumbling remains of the great fortress-palace of Telouet, which we visit before reaching the picturesque Tijhza Valley. After a truly stunning drive over the impressive Tizi-n-Tichka pass (2260m), we arrive at the lush and remote village of Tijhza. Staying in a simple but pleasant gite, we enjoy optional walks each day from the front door. The pace is relaxed, allowing us to enjoy this Morocco walking holiday, and we learn a little about the way of life of these hardy and friendly Berber people. Finally, there's time in Marrakech to explore the busy souks or relax in the tranquil Majorelle Gardens - the perfect end to any North African experience.
Arrival at our hotel in the evening.
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).
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.
For those on group flights, these depart in the morning and will arrive in the UK the same day.End Marrakech
Meals & AccommodationAll breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included.
4 nights gite with basic facilities and 3 nights 3-star hotel with en suite rooms and swimming pool.Gite accommodation used is of a very simple standard and cleanliness and hot water cannot always be guaranteed. The term 'gite' in Morocco denotes simple rural accommodation, (such as a refuge or hostel), as opposed to the superior French definition. The rooms are dormitory style with mattresses placed directly on the floor and are often mixed sex so you will be sharing with between 3-8 other people from your group. Although blankets are provided, you should bring your own sleeping bag and a small pillow. Thanks to electricity being linked to Tijhza Valley in 2004, the Gite now has lighting and European two-pin plug sockets for recharging camera batteries etc. However, the Gite is not heated and can therefore feel cold in winter. There are four flush toilets and two Asian-style toilets, hot and cold showers plus a wash-room with basic washing facilities. There is likely to be more than one group staying at the gite at any one time but there is plenty of room. Although the facilities may be basic, the welcome is warm!All the hotels we use are of a similar standard, clean and functional although the rooms and facilities may be basic and limited and the breakfasts simple. Our hotel in Marrakech has a swimming pool.
Single room supplementA single room supplement is available. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. Please contact us to discuss this as accommodation varies from trip date to trip date. Single supplement prices from:
Trip gradesWalking & Trekking
Adult Group Holidays
Transport4 centre-based day walks. Altitude maximum 2600m, average 1900m.
FitnessThere are 4 walks, at a maximum altitude of 2900m, and an average altitude of 1900m. Each day offers a very different view and all walks are optional allowing you to choose when you walk. Although most of the walks are on well-graded paths, some are on rough and stony trails and the area is generally quite undeveloped. There are a few steep ascents and descents. Our simple rural accommodation in the mountains is quite basic but offers a warm welcome. There is the opportunity to leave some items (such as clothes or toys) with the villagers of Tijhza should you wish - please see our website for further details. Please note that Morocco can get very hot during the summer months of July and August and departures during this time may not be suitable if you struggle with the heat. Although flight times are short they may not always be direct. Please note Ramadan runs from 9th July to 7th August in 2013. During Ramadan, our local guides and drivers choose to work and so we continue to run trips in this period. However, it does need to be recognised that the energy levels of our local staff may be a bit lower and that some restaurants may be closed during the day. Having said this, Ramadan is a unique time to visit a Muslim country - each evening the streets empty for an hour while everyone breaks their fast, and there's a feeling of festivity in the air every night.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org