Current as of: June 15, 2024 - 08:07

Tijhza Village

Atlas Panorama Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Morocco
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TMP
  • Carbon Footprint: 14kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Experience colourful Marrakech and peaceful mountain walks in Morocco

This trip is the perfect introduction to Morocco: an insight into buzzing Marrakech with varied walks in the High Atlas Mountains.

Based in the remote and picturesque village of Tijhza, we stay in a simple but pleasant riad and enjoy optional walks each day. The pace is relaxed, allowing us to enjoy the mountain scenery and learn about the way of life of the friendly Amazigh people. We can also try a traditional hammam as part of our ongoing responsible tourism project in Tijhza. Our time in Marrakech sees us exploring palaces and busy souks with free evenings to experience Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling square packed with street food stalls, juice sellers and musicians.

At a Glance

  • Four nights riad, three nights Marrakech hotel
  • Four days with walking
  • Altitude maximum: 8,530ft (2,600m); average: 6,235ft (1,900m)
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16 yrs

Highlights

  • Stay in a traditional Moroccan village
  • Walk through beautiful mountain scenery
  • Discover Amazigh culture and traditions
  • Experience the vibrant city of Marrakech
  • Visit our responsible tourism project to try a hammam

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more on our gradings, please visit our Activity Level guidelines.

There are four walks, with a maximum altitude of 9,515ft (2,900m) and an average altitude of 6,230ft (1,900m). Each day offers a very different view and all walks are optional allowing you to choose which you take. Although most are on well-graded paths, some are on rough and stony trails and the area is generally quite undeveloped. There are also a few steep ascents and descents. Our rural accommodation in the mountains is quite basic but offers a warm welcome.

Please note, Morocco can get very hot during 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.

Ramadan is expected to run from approximately 10 March-10 April 2024 and 28 February-29 March 2025. One of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar, it is a special time to visit a Muslim country. Each evening, the streets empty as people head home to break the fast, followed by an air of festivity upon their return. Our leaders and drivers choose to work at this time so we continue to run trips; however, their energy levels may be slightly lower than normal. Many tourist sites, restaurants and shops will have an amended schedule, but your tour leader will know how to adapt the itinerary to still experience all the inclusions on this trip and maximise your experience during this special time.

Group

There will be a local leader, a driver and local guides where needed.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

TMP Map

Land Only

  • Start City: Marrakech
  • End City: Marrakech

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Marrakech

The adventure starts in the culturally rich city of Marrakech. We gather as a group in the early evening for our welcome briefing.

Accommodation: Hotel Gomassine (or similar)

Day 2
Explore Marrakech; visit Jemaa el-Fna square to explore a labyrinth of souks with our expert guide. Free afternoon

Today is spent in Marrakech, where we can soak up the atmosphere of the 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 visit Jemaa el-Fna, the open-air square around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means ‘place of death’ as it was where Sultans once displayed the heads of their enemies. Now, with the snake charmers, juice sellers, travelling musicians, acrobats and food stalls, it is a place of entertainment for both the local people and visitors.

Accommodation: Hotel Gomassine (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Drive to Anmiter; walk to Tijhza and explore

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 7,415ft (2,260m), 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. Here we turn into a wide valley towards Telouet, where we stop to look at the kasbah. This amazing fortress-palace was the stronghold of the Glaoui clan until the late Fifties. On their downfall, they dispersed and the castle fell into disrepair. Consequently, we can now only look at this labyrinthine mass from the outside.

From here, we travel to Anmiter, where we have lunch with a local family before walking uphill on a track for an hour and a half  to our riad. The track leads through lush farmland of fruits, nuts and vegetables and local villages.  (our luggage will be transported to the Tijhza for us).

Accommodation: Riad Bouchahoud (or similar)

Drive time: Three and a half hours

Distance covered: 3mi (5km)

Ascent: 492ft (150m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Loop through the Tizi'n'Ourghsan and back down the Ouarikt River to the village

Today we take a moderate six-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 back to the village. Along the way we may meet nomads and villagers going about their business.

Accommodation Riad Bouchahoud (or similar)

Distance covered: 11mi (18km)

Ascent: 1,969ft (600m); Descent: 1,969ft (600m); Activity hours: 6

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Hike up and around Mount n'Oughlagal

Leaving the riad and heading around the back of Mount n’Oughlagal (8,530ft/2,600m), we are met with fantastic views of the valley before arriving back at the riad in time for a late lunch. Please note, the hike includes a scramble along a steep, sandy section of trail, which can be a bit more challenging and is especially tricky in wet weather conditions.

We have the rest of the afternoon to explore the village, take a short walk or relax with a book on the large terrace overlooking the Tijhza valley.

On our return, we visit the village hammam, built with money raised by our passengers. This is a truly authentic and enjoyable experience. It is very much a local hammam and you are likely to get the opportunity to mix with the villagers, which further adds to the experience. A standard treatment is included, but you will need to purchase a scrubber and soap for 20 dirhams (US$1.90) plus a customary tip of 20 dirhams. Refreshed, we return to the riad for dinner.

Accommodation: Riad Bouchahoud (or similar)

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Ascent: 984ft (300m); Descent: 984ft (300m); Activity hours: 3 to 4

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6
Optional harder day, with the chance to trek to beautiful Lake Tamda

A longer, harder day includes a visit to the beautiful Lake Tamda, which is strikingly azure against the stark white-rock scenery. This lake is almost 3,280ft (1,000m) 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 this walk is beyond the capabilities of the majority of the group, a shorter day along the same route will be planned.

Ascent: 2,460ft (750m); descent: 2,460ft (750m)

Accommodation: Riad Bouchahoud (or similar)

Distance covered: 19mi (31km)

Ascent: 2,461ft (750m); Descent: 2,461ft (750m); Activity hours: 9 to 10

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Walk to Anmiter; drive to Marrakech across the High Atlas

We say goodbye to Tijhza and return to Marrakech by lunchtime, leaving the afternoon free for more sightseeing; you may want to visit the Menara Gardens or do some last-minute shopping. Alternatively, you may decide to relax in the hotel and enjoy the swimming pool.

Accommodation: Hotel Gomassine (or similar)

Drive time: Three and a half hours

Distance covered: 3mi (5km)

Descent: 492ft (150m); Activity hours: 1.5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
End Marrakech

The adventure ends after breakfast. If you’d like a little more time to explore the city, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotel Gomassine and Riad Bouchahoud

Atlas Panorama

On this trip, we stay in two premises: a hotel in a modern suburb of Marrakech and a family-run property in the Atlas village of Tighza.

Marrakech: Hotel Gomassine (nights 1, 2 and 7)

Atlas Panorama

Our adventure begins and ends at Hotel Gomassine in the Guéliz neighbourhood of Marrakech. The hotel itself has a small pool with sun loungers, plus there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby. If, upon arrival, you need to pick up anything for the days ahead, the Carre Eden mall is a five-minute walk away, where you’ll find international shops and a Carrefour Gourmet supermarket.

Tighza: Riad Bouchahoud (nights 3-6)

Atlas Panorama

This family-run property offers simple, traditional accommodation in spacious rooms. On warmer evenings, we can enjoy dinner on the large terrace overlooking the farms and villages of the Tighza valley; during winter, the spacious salon gives us plenty of space to relax and socialise.

Worth knowing

  • Due to the size of the Tijhza riad, we can only offer the single supplement in Marrakech.

Single supplement from £ 210

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, three lunches and four dinners are included.

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent, though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of porridge, bread and jam with coffee or tea. Where meals are not included, budget for the following approximate prices:

  • Lunches: 60-100 dirhams (US$6-US$10)
  • Dinners:
    • In cities: 80-200 dirhams (US$8-US$19)
    • In small towns and villages: 60-100 dirhams (US$6-US$10)
  • Soft drinks in restaurants: 10-20 dirhams (US$1-US$1.90)
  • Alcohol: Beer 30-50 dirhams (US$2.85-US$5
  • Wine: 150 dirhams (US$14) and more

Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian couscous, tajine or omelettes. This is particularly the case during the more rural sections of the trip. Please note, if you have any special dietary requirements, you should inform your sales representative prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (eg coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some food with you from home.

Water

On this trip we have large water bottles from which you can fill your reusable bottle. (see packing list)

Transport

We use a private bus, the size of which will depend on the group size, with a local driver. Roads in Morocco are reasonably good, and driving conditions in towns and on the plains are good. On mountain roads, the pace will be slower. Although the buses normally have air conditioning and heating, this is not up to European/North American standards.

Weather & Seasonality

From April to June and in September, Marrakech and the north are pleasantly hot with temperatures averaging 26C (79F) in the day and falling to 16C (61F) at night. It is unusual for there to be much humidity so it is quite pleasant except at midday when the sun is very strong. Mountain temperatures are cooler than in Marrakech. In the winter months, daytime temperatures in Marrakech are around 18C-22C (64F-72F) with night temperatures falling to 4C-7C (39F-45F). The days should be clear and sunny, offering views of the snow-covered Atlas. There is a small chance of rain and it has even been known to snow (very infrequently) in January and February on the higher desert plateaux. If this occurs, it is cold at night and early in the morning on the southern side of the Atlas.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Hotel Gomassine, 71, 40000 Bd Mohamed Zerktouni, Marrakech 40000
Phone: +212 5244-33086
Recommended arrival time: Check in is from 2pm.
Airport: Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately a 20-minute drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Marrakech Airport (RAK) from the end hotel. If you’re not taking the Exodus transfer, allow three hours for check-in, bag drop, immigration and security.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Marrakech airport
The amount of time it takes to get through Marrakech Airport can vary considerably. Therefore, we suggest you mitigate for delays and allow two hours to get through immigration, security and baggage reclaim on arrival. Take a pen with you to complete the arrivals form and have the details of your accommodation to hand for this purpose. Operators are not allowed to wait inside the terminal building for clients, so please find your Exodus representative outside the main doors.

Upon departure from Marrakech, we suggest allowing three hours to navigate the airport: check in, bag drop, immigration and security can take even longer on exit. The airport doesn’t accept mobile boarding passes, so we suggest having a printed boarding pass to avoid subjecting yourself to further delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Marrakech
Location end: Marrakech

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Hiking boots with good ankle support and tread
  • Water bottle
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Backpack for the day
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Wet wipes
  • Soap
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • Sandals or trainers (sneakers)
  • Towel (this is for the traditional hammam in the mountains)
  • Swimwear (for the hammam)

For the cooler months you will also need:

  • Warm trousers (pants)
  • Long-sleeved thermal top
  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves

Dress code: Although Morocco is a Muslim country, the dress code in the large cities is not as strict as it used to be. So it is fine to wear tops with no sleeves and shorts. When entering mosques and in more rural areas it is advisable to be more modest and wear for example over the knee skirts/shorts/trousers and with shoulders covered. Additionally, women should avoid wearing revealing clothes.

Drinking water: Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Environmental considerations

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impact wherever possible, even when nature calls. If no facilities are available, you may need to go behind a tree, bush or rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind, we recommend taking biodegradable bags with you. Once you have done your business, put the used paper in the bag and dispose when appropriate facilities are available.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles

If, while packing, you have space in your bag, please consider our partner Pack for a Purpose. This is a great opportunity to bring small items needed locally by schools and medical clinics. While in Tighza, your Tour Leader can assist with donating the items at Kasbah Oliver.

The following items are much appreciated:

  • Pens, pencils, rulers, kid-friendly scissors etc
  • Playing cards, Snap, Uno etc
  • Footballs, tennis balls etc
  • Hand tools (non-electrical trowels etc)
  • Work or gardening gloves
  • Paint brushes, trays etc
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap

Practical Information

Visa

Morocco

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Morocco. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/africa/morocco
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/morocco
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco/entry-requirements
• USA: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Morocco.html

Vaccinations and Health

Morocco

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, tuberculosis and typhoid. A polio vaccination certificate may be required for some travellers. Please confirm your needs and requirements with your doctor or travel clinic.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Local Time

Morocco's time zone: Africa/Brazzaville (UTC +01:00)

Electricity

Morocco's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 220V, 50Hz

Atlas Panorama

Money

Morocco's currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD), a non-convertible currency. You can only import/export a maximum of 2,000 dirham to or from Morocco.

ATM Availability

It is easy to use Visa/Mastercard at ATMs. Note that ATMs are only available in larger towns and cities.

Credit cards are normally accepted for more expensive souvenirs, such as carpets (but shops may charge a five percent supplement for this). Please do not bring travellers cheques.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend you change your money at the airport into the local currency, as Morocco only allows 2,000 dirhams to be imported or exported. There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency you take.  When changing your money, ensure you keep hold of your exchange receipt as you may need to show it at the airport bank at the end of your holiday where it’s normally possible to change any unspent dirham notes back into Euros, British pounds or US dollars.

Allow approximately 30-70 dirhams (US$3-US$6.50) per day to cover postcards, small souvenirs, soft drinks etc. See the eating and drinking section for more details on expenditure.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus and tipping is at your discretion for both the leader and the local staff. However, we would like to advise that tipping is part of the local culture and generally expected. If you do wish to tip, we have found it useful for the group to have a tipping kitty – about 260 dirhams (approximately US$25) per person, this can ease the confusion and embarrassment of not knowing how much or how little to tip local staff (such as drivers, cooks and guides). If you do not wish to join the group kitty, do not feel pressured. Many clients also wish to tip their leaders at the end of the trip, we suggest 30 dirhams (US$2.90) a day per person. This is completely at your own discretion and to be used as a guideline only.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Each departure of this trip employs many individuals (therefore families) through their mules, food provision and assistant guides who are always from the local areas.
  • We buy supplies from small shops in the villages we pass through which supports the local economy.
  • There is interaction with local villagers and our group is sometimes asked to join them for Moroccan tea.
  • The traditional hammam experience in Tighza village provides employment for local women.
  • Read more about our other initiatives

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices regarding working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration hereincluding our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low-impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Our local partners have reached B Corp Certification which requires that they demonstrate high levels of social and environmental performance.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments. 

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.