Saghro Traverse

morocco rural life

(13 nights / 14 days)
Between the High Atlas and the Sahara lies the Djebel Saghro, a mountain region consisting of ancient rock formations. The landscape has been shaped by intense wind erosion; the destruction of rocks by the extreme daily temperature fluctuations; and large rivers, which are now reduced to much smaller (insignificant) watercourses. The area is inhabited by the Aït Atta Berber tribe, a semi-nomadic people, traditionally making a living off their herds of sheep and goats. Although the Aït Atta have built houses and constructed deep wells to endure the hot, dry summers and to cultivate the land all year round, many of them still move to the upland plains of the High Atlas in spring to return to the Djebel Saghro only in September. This migration is called “transhumance”. They use camels to transport their luggage. You will see these animals during your trek. The Aït-Atta Berbers are a cheerful people and very proud of the fact that the Djebel Saghro was the region which still resisted the French protectorate when all other areas of Morocco had already submitted to the French dominance. In 1939 their resistance was broken in the battle of Bou Gafer. During the trek through this impressive mountain region you will be accompanied by a mountain guide and your luggage will be carried by mules. In the evenings the melancholic songs of the Aït Atta muleteers will fill the air.

Starts Marrakech / Ends Marrakech

Trek Grade: B – moderate  what is this?

Day 1. Marrakech

  • Upon arrival at Marrakech airport you will be transferred to your hotel in the centre of town. Hotel. (no meals included)

Day 2. Tanzikht

  • Accompanied by your guide, you will be travelling south by minibus or jeep to the beginning of your trek through the Saghro Mountains. You cross the High Atlas via the highest paved road of Morocco, the Tizi ‘n Tichka (2260m), where you can witness everyday life in the small Berber villages. Leaving the High Atlas behind, the light changes and you are entering a desert landscape with huge boulders and dry plains where only the rivers are boarded by lush date-palm plantations. From Ouarzazate you cross the western part of the Saghro Mountains to Agdz, a huge palm region on the shore of the River Draâ. Near the village of Tanzikht camp will be set up on a deserted plain. You will meet your muleteers who have come from the north. Camp. (BD)

Day 3. Aqqa N’Oughioule (1600m)

  • In the early morning the luggage will be expertly loaded on mules. Leaving the Draâ Valley behind, you are heading north into the mountains. After a short ascent you will cross a sparsely inhabited upland plain to an oasis where a nourishing lunch will be prepared, consisting of a varied salad, bread, fruit and mint tea. In the afternoon you will reach a canyon with interesting rock formations where you will camp the night. 5 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 4. Tangarfa Valley (1400m)

  • Following the canyon you will gradually ascend to the Tizi N’Igddad (Tizi means “pass”) at 1900m. After crossing a plateau you follow the edge of the Tangarfa Canyon with superb views of mountains shaped by erosion into “sugar loaves”. A long descent will take you into the Tangarfa Valley where you will bivouac near the oasis of Isfoula. 6 hours walking. Camp (BLD)

Day 5. Tagmout (1600m)

  • In the beautiful Tangarfa Canyon erosion has shaped the ancient rocks into huge sculptures. You will feel like you are walking in a prehistoric land. Where the canyon is narrowing, you ascend the Tizi N’Tagout at 1950m to have a picnic lunch with a view. In the afternoon you will cross a plateau with superb views and set up camp near the riverbed of the Assaka River. 5 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 6. Assaka (1400m)

  • A leisurely walk with beautiful views will take you in three hours to Assaka village. Here you will set up the camp for the night and then relax for your lunch. The afternoon is free to visit the village and meet the inhabitants. Camp. (BLD)

Day 7. Ighazzoune N’Imlasse (1300m)

  • Following the Assaka River you will pass little dwellings where the inhabitants have sculptured the mountainsides with agricultural terraces to grow almond trees and wheat. Then the valley widens into an upland plain. Near the village of Berkik you will have lunch in the shade of almond trees. In the afternoon you cross a little pass with views of vertically eroded rocks. Then you descend to the bivouac site near Ighazzoune N’Imlass, situated in an overwhelming landscape. 6 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 8. Bab N’Ali (1360m)

  • The rock formations in this area will remind you of huge cathedrals. In an impressive landscape you gradually ascend to the isolated rock pillars of Bab N’Ali, which means “Ali Gate”. You then descend to your bivouac near a riverbed and a tiny inn where you can buy refreshments. Lunch will be taken at the campsite. The afternoon is free to explore the river gorge, have a swim or laze in the sun. 3.5 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 9. Iggli (1600m)

  • The early morning ascent takes you high above the Afourar Gorge. Then you descend into the river valley and follow the course of the river up to a green agricultural valley. From here a winding path takes you to an upland plain which is cut through by canyons. In these surroundings you will feel on top of the world. A long descent takes you to a hamlet named Iggli where the afternoon is free to search for interesting minerals. You are looking at a multicoloured rock-face where a winding path will lead you up to the highest point of this journey the following day. 4 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 10. Almou N’Ouarg (2200m)

  • A stony mule path takes you up to the Tizi n’Iggli. The ascent to the pass is 700m. After that you follow green meadows up and down, in rocky surroundings. Huge junipers are growing here. When the weather conditions are good, you can make a little side-trip to the highest point, the Kaouch summit at 2595m, a viewpoint which is easy to reach. In the afternoon you descend to your campsite at Almou N’Ouarg, a favourite spot for nomads to put their tents. 6 hours walking. Camp. (BLD)

Day 11. Tagdilte (1650m)

  • First you go up to the Tizi N’Ouarg (2300m) to enjoy the view over the Dadès Valley and the snow-covered 4000m high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. Then a long descent will take you to the village of Tagdilte where you will spend the night in a Berber house. You will enjoy the comfort of a “hot” shower and soft cushions. Here you will have to say good-bye to your muleteers. Gite. (BLD)

Day 12. Marrakech

  • A beautiful drive through the oases of the Dadès Valley takes you first to the kasbah-complex of Ait Benhaddou, which you can visit. Then you continue over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, the magic ochre coloured city. Your hotel is located near the Djemaa-el-Fna Square, the vibrant heart of the city. The activities on the square are continually changing – you’ll see snake charmers, musicians, acrobats and storytellers. In the evening open food-stalls are set up with delicious kebabs and salads. Your senses will be reeling in the narrow streets of the medieval medina. Fully loaded donkeys walk back and forth through the narrow streets, which smell of herbs, leather and meat stalls. You will be overwhelmed by the exuberant mix of colourful carpets, fruits, herbs and dyed skeins of wool. In the courtyards the tanners are busy working. Small gateways provide an entrance to the beautifully constructed and decorated sultan’s tombs, old palaces and Koranic schools. Hotel. (B)

Day 13. Marrakech

  • A free day to explore this 900 year old city. Hotel. (B)

Day 14 Departure

  • Transfer to Marrakech airport for your onward flight. (B)

Best season: from October until June

Extend your stay
You might like to extend your visit to Morocco by adding a few days to relax on the Atlantic Coast at the old Portuguese fishing port of Essaouira.

Or why not combine this trip with our ‘Highlights of the Imperial Cities’ tour (8 days – can be modified to fit) either before or after your trek, and explore some of Morocco ‘s other great cities.

Prices per person:

, based on a party of 2
based on a party of 3
based on a party of 4

Single supplement:
For parties with an uneven number of persons, a single room at hotels will be necessary and a single supplement will be charged.

Tents during Trek
Any client paying the standard single supplement for a single hotel room, will also have a single tent during the trek.

Should a client who is sharing a hotel room prefer to have a single tent during the trek, this can be arranged for a supplementary charge of € 25. This should be requested at the time of booking.

Prices will includes:

  • Staff: an English-speaking mountain guide, muleteers, a cook (parties larger than 5 people)
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner
  • Transportation: minibus or jeep for all transfers, mules for luggage during trek; arrival and departure transfers in Marrakech
  • 3 Nights accommodation in tourist-class hotel on twin share basis, 1 night in a Berber house (gite), 9 nights in two-person tents equipped with foam mattresses
  • Camping and cooking equipment (except sleeping bags)

Remarks:

  • Special rates apply for larger groups
  • Accommodation is in well-situated tourist-class hotels. Rooms are equipped with a bathroom. One night accommodation in a Berber House/gite (day 11) with communal bathroom facilities and 9 nights camping in two-person tents (during the trek) with limited facilities.

Upgrade your stay:
Should you wish to upgrade the hotels and accommodation for your trip, we have a selection of traditional-styled riad and kasbah hotels that can fit with this itinerary. In some places you also have the choice of deluxe or luxury accommodation. Please enquire for a tour price with a different standard of accommodation. (Camping during trek still applies.)

Price Excludes:

  • Flights, visas, airport taxes
  • Other meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Tips, drinks, laundry, souvenirs and other personal expenditure
  • Entrance fees, local sightseeing guides
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Sleeping bags for mountain trek

For prices please contact us.


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