This is a great trip where 8 days felt easily like two weeks, giving you total immersion in another way of life, forgetting all about whatever you've left behind to get there. There's a bit of everything - plenty of fresh air and hot sun (plus a bit of snow if you're lucky); freshly squeezed orange on the trail and mint tea at every turn; the camaraderie of campsites and the celebration of reaching the summit; followed by the sheer craziness of Marrakech.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The summit of Toubkal definitely gives you a top of the world feeling (we were very lucky and had about an hour and a half there). Once up there it's worth making some time for yourself to pause for a while, after all the excitement of the photo-taking and whiskey-sipping (see below), and just sitting quietly and taking it all in, watching the birds drifting around and feeling the majesty of the mountains.
I was inspired by the hard work and dedication I saw around me from the people who made sure we had a great time. Especially our chef (Lassan) who was always joking around and still managed to make us some fab food, popping his head in the tent for a quick "bon appetit" at every meal. Just the sight of him had us all grinning and wondering what was going to happen next!
- What did you think of your group leader?
Both guides Mohammed and Yehye looked after us very well throughout the trip, really bringing Morocco to life wih their stories and personal insights into Moroccan traditions (especially at the hammam in Aroumd - thanks Mohammed!). I had some very honest and fascinating chats with both of them about the political and social realities of their country. They were patient, kind and genuinely interested in everyone in the group, and keen for us to have the best time.
They were also very generous with their nuts!! (and dates and figs - easily beating our Tracker and Go bars for some quality en route snacking)
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a hip flask for a welcome celebration at the summit (it's a "dry" week!).
Take a camelback or similar for at least 2 litres - if you have to keep stopping to open water bottles you might not drink enough of the stuff. You can buy bottled water everywhere so don't worry about taking purification tablets. I also took another bottle so I could have 3 litres every day.
You don't need a mattress for camping - these were provided and very comfy (a bit like those foam covered sun lounger ones). Just bring your sleeping bag. Remember a head torch for those late night comfort breaks.
Walking poles are helpful on the descent but not essential if you've got strong knees. I was fine with one.
Stay an extra night in Marrakech at the end - it's all a bit of a culture shock when you get back there from the mountains but after a day you are ready to enjoy it!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of this holiday: the many altitude-induced giggles with co-trekkers - especially my new friend and tent buddy; the beautiful scenery, with goats and mules trudging; not forgetting the unique experience that is Marrakech on a weekend in 44 degrees (!).
JUST BOOK IT!