Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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View through the looking hole of Essaouira
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Highlights

  • Explore the colourful, vibrant sights and sounds of Marrakech
  • Be welcomed by the incredible Berber hospitality at the luxurious Kasbah du Toubkal
  • Wander Essaouira’s white-washed streets and pick up a piece of local art work
  • Treat your taste buds to a succulent tagine meal with views to the snow-capped Mount Toubkal
  • Discover walnut groves and earthen adobe houses in the Azzaden Valley

Enjoy a magical cultural combination of visits to two of Morocco’s best-loved cities, Marrakech and Essaouira, together with spectacular walking in the High Atlas mountains, staying at luxurious traditional properties.

Begin your tour in the popular city of Marrakech, explore the colourful souks, peaceful gardens and the ancient medina of the ‘Red City’. Relax in style at the end of a busy day in your boutique Riad. Transfer to Essaouira. Here you’ll find a charming fishing port and an easily-explored souk filled with art and handicrafts from local artists who flock to the city. Essaouira is characterised by its 12th century ramparts and photogenic whitewashed streets.

Discover the High Atlas with a qualified mountain guide who will lead you along centuries-old paths through groves of walnut trees and past small clusters of earthen adobe villages. A luxury accommodation with warm Berber hospitality awaits you in the mountains.

Day 1: Arrive Marrakech

Vibrant Marrakech is a fascinating city, alive with bustling souks, tranquil gardens and the ancient medina (old town). The city itself is built around the 12th century Koutoubia mosque, a classic piece of Almohad architecture with its iconic minaret punctuating the city’s skyline.


Fly into Marrakech Menara International Airport for the private transfer to your luxury accommodation.


Overnight:Riad in Marrakech; Riad Slitine


Optional Upgrade OptionBoutique Riad in Marrakech; Riad Les Yeux Bleus


It is possible to upgrade to the beautiful Riad Les Yeux Bleus in Marrakech for a small supplement. This charming riad offers small luxuries such as a swimming pool, Hammam and massage.


Day 2: Free time to explore Marrakech


Spend today delving into this colourful city’s cultural highlights. At the heart of the ancient walled medina (old town) is the Djemaa el Fna square, where storytellers, acrobats, medicine men, musicians and even snake charmers vie for attention.



The medina’s souks (markets) are the place to pick up a memento of your time in Morocco and partake in some friendly bargaining with the Berbers and southern tradesmen who gather here to sell their carpets, leather goods, jewellery and spices.



In contrast, the colonial Ville Nouvelle quarter is home to pavement cafés, boutiques, gardens and boulevards. Visit the stunning 12-acre botanical paradise of the Majorelle Gardens, owned by the late Yves Saint Laurent. Here you’ll find the intriguing Museum of Islamic Arts, the fashion designer’s personal collection of North African carpets, ceramics, furniture and doors.



You’ll be entranced by the sounds, smells and sights which play on your senses as you wander through the fascinating ‘Red City’. Morocco has plenty of delicious cuisine to tempt your palate —from food stalls to friendly cafés, or for a real treat dine in style at a sumptuous palace-restaurant.


Overnight: Boutique Riad in Marrakech; Les Sources Berberes or Slitine


Day 3: Transfer to Essaouira


After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to the coastal town of Essaouria (105 miles, approx. 2.5hrs). In contrast with bustling land-locked Marrakech, this bohemian city is nestled on the Atlantic Ocean. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, Essaouira is circled by medieval-style battlements yet its colonnades, blue-shuttered whitewashed dwellings lend it a relaxed and almost sleepy atmosphere.



Essaouira is Morocco’s third fishing port, and we recommend you one of the fish grill-cafés just outside the port area for a delicious lunch.


Overnight: Boutique Riad Dar L’Oussia, Essaouira


Day 4: Free time to explore Essaouira


Spend the day at leisure—take a walk along the sweeping sand beach, wander along the ramparts overlooking the fishing port or simply enjoy the view from your riad’s roof terrace.



Artists flock to Essaouira, and there are plenty of art works and local handicrafts to browse in the city’s smaller and easily-explored souk.



This evening, why not savour a plate of regional cheeses and spiced dishes at an inner courtyard table of the riad’s restaurant.


Overnight: Boutique Riad Dar L’Oussia, Essaouira



Day 5: Transfer to Imlil, introductory walk


Following breakfast, your driver will transfer you deep into the High Atlas to Imil (approx. 4.5 hrs). Dependent on your arrival time, there will be an introductory walk in the area and the chance to discuss your preferences for walks with your personal mountain guide. Enjoy a delicious dinner at the delightful Kasbah du Toubkal.


Dinner & Overnight: luxury Kasbah du Toubkal, Imlil 


Day 6: Circular walk in the Imlil Valley


Your personal mountain guide will offer you a selection of supported walks today. You may wish to choose separate morning and afternoon walks, allowing you to enjoy an al fresco lunch at the Kasbah, or alternatively take a picnic lunch and venture further afield.


Walk: 3-4 hrs



Dinner & Overnight:
Luxury Kasbah du Toubkal, Imil


Day 7: Walk to Azzaden Valley


Enjoy a supported walk of around 5 hours* with your guide, mule and muleteer to your remote trekking lodge in the picturesque Azzaden Valley. Stop in the shade of a walnut grove for a tasty picnic lunch en route. Follow the country road past tiny Berber villages such as Matat, passing clouds of juniper trees. Reaching the Tizi Oudid pass (2100m) you’ll enjoy outstanding views across jagged peaks before descending to your luxury lodge.


Walk: 5hrs *Longer walks of 6 hrs (moderate) and 8 hrs (strenuous) are also available.


Dinner & Overnight: Azzaden Trekking Lodge, Azzaden Valley


Day 8: Circular walk in the Azzaden Valley


The immense Azzaden Valley is yours to explore with your personal mountain guide. Perhaps opt for a 4 hour moderate circular walk visiting the valley’s Berber villages which cling to the mountain slopes.



Other possibilities include a 5 hour walk to the south, through walnut groves of the Assif n’Ouazzaden valley to the hamlet of Tizi Oussem (1850m) and the Irhouliden Cascade/Tamsoult Waterfall (2400m).



Dependent on your choice of walk, lunch will either be served at the lodge or your guide will bring along a delicious picnic to share.


Walk: 4hrs


Dinner & Overnight: Azzaden Trekking Lodge, Azzaden Valley


Day 9: Walk to Imlil


After breakfast, depart Azzaden Trekking Lodge for the walk back to Imlil, accompanied by your personal mountain guide. Again, there is a choice of walks dependent on your ability and preference, however you may wish to take the 6 hour route which follows the Ait Ouazzaden valley to Tizi Oussem, ascending to Tizi M’zik (2450m) before following switchback mule tracks down to the Kasbah.


Walk: 6 hrs


Dinner & Overnight: Luxury Kasbah du Toubkal, Imil


Day 10: Transfer to Marrakech and onward travel


After breakfast, return by private transfer to Marrakech Menara International Airport (approx. 2 hrs) for your onward travel.

Accommodation

Your trip includes 4 nights in Riads, 2 nights at a luxury trekking lodge, 3 nights at a luxury mountain hotel


It is possible to upgrade to a boutique riad in Marrakech for a supplement.


Single Rooms 

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Unfortunately this trip is not available to solo travellers.


Meals

This trip is on a breakfast basis in Marrakech, and a full board basis in the mountains (picnic lunches are included when out on walks).



 

 

 




Riad Slitine - Marrakech

Riad Slitine offers a taste of Moroccan culture in the heart of Marrakech’s medina. It is a joy to stay in such beautifully restored town houses which offer a serene and peaceful haven. Relax in a plunge pool or on a sunlit terrace. Rooms are exquisitely decorated and the caring and attentive staff will ensure your stay in Morocco is as peaceful or busy as you wish!


 

 

 


 

 

 



Kasbah du Toubkal



Kasbah du Toubkal - Marrakech

Located at 1800m, the Kasbah du Toubkal, is set high on a rocky outcrop overlooking groves of walnut trees and stepped pastures. The property offers a very warm and welcoming taste of Berber hospitality rather than a typical ‘hotel service’ in the traditional sense.With stunning rooftop views in the heart of the Toubkal National Park, this is the perfect place for walkers seeking a stylish and comfortable mountain refuge infused with local culture.


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week between 6th of January and 20th of December. Please note that during the festival times of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr
that many restaurants and shops will be closed and this may affect your
overall experience. If you are planning on going to Morocco during these
times and your dates are flexible then you may wish to consider
changing dates. For more information and advice, please don't hesitate
to contact our specialists. The dates for Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr change
on a yearly basis.


2019 Dates


Ramadan is from 6th of May until the 4th of June


End of Ramadan Eid Al Fitr is from the 4th-5th of June


Eid Al Adha (Festival of Sacrifice of Sheep) is from the 11th-12th August.


Time of Year

In the summer months between June and September the temperatures in Marrakech can soar, however remain cooler in the mountains. You may wish to note however that one of the most popular times of year to visit the High Atlas for walking is indeed during the summer months.  


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. This holiday is unfortunately unavailable for solo travellers.


Grade & Terrain

The walking is graded moderate so you will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle. In the mountains the route follows centuries-old Berber tracks, which can be high, steep, narrow, uneven and rough underfoot. Due to the lack of marked paths you will be supported by a local fully qualified mountain guide, and on occasion you will be walking alongside a mule who will carry your luggage. Each day you can discuss the possible walks available with your guide, and therefore adapt your plans accordingly. The tracks are often a considerable distance from any road or track which is accessible by vehicle—this is a very remote area. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this walk.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will be accompanied by a qualified mountain guided during your walks so you will not need to worry about navigation.


Bagagge Transfers 

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one soft-sided bag of up to 15kg per person. Your luggage will on occasion be transferred by mule, so please pack as lightly as possible.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activitiy and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to/from Morocco

Air - You can fly into and out of Marrakech Menara Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations. Your airport transfers are included in arrangements.

Getting to/from Morocco

Air - You can fly into and out of Marrakech Menara Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations. Your airport transfers are included in arrangements.

Included

  • 4 Nights in riads
  • 3 Nights at a luxury mountain hotel
  • 2 Nights at a mountain lodge
  • 9 Breakfasts
  • 5 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches (some of which are packed lunches due to itinerary)
  • Bag transfers of one bag of up to 15kg per person between accommodations
  • Guide book
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Services of a personal walking guide as appropriate in the mountains
  • 24-hour emergency assistance

Excluded

  • Flights to / from Marrakech
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Room upgrades
  • Additional nights

Frequently Asked Questions

We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the accommodations do fill up quickly. However, we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

The walking is graded moderate so you will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle. In the mountains the route follows centuries-old Berber tracks, which can be high, steep, narrow, uneven and rough underfoot. Due to the lack of marked paths you will be supported by a local fully qualified mountain guide, and on occasion you will be walking alongside a mule who will carry your luggage. Each day you can discuss the possible walks available with your guide, and therefore adapt your plans accordingly. The tracks are often a considerable distance from any road or track which is accessible by vehicle—this is a very remote area. You should be a regular walker and have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this walk. 

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one soft-sided bag of up to 15kg per person. Your luggage will on occasion be transferred by mule, so please pack as lightly as possible.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

You can fly into and out of Marrakech Menara Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations. Please refer to the travel details section of the website for more information.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable/cool walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.

When is the best time of year?

In the summer months between June and September the temperatures in Marrakech can soar, however remain cooler in the mountains. You may wish to note however that one of the most popular times of year to visit the High Atlas for walking is indeed during the summer months.

Introduction to Moroccan Life

4

Loved the blend of city and mountain village on this tour--although the Atlas Mountains were truly the most remarkable! While not all of the accommodations were my definition of "in style", we were treated very well everywhere we went and had exceptional experiences in many of the places. Some of the trails in the Atlas Mountains were a bit more challenging than expected given a 3-boot rating (I had expected narrow mountain trails, but not the constant stepping up and down on natural "stairs" that were often at knee-level or above), but the staff at the Kasbah du Toubkal expertly suggested alternatives allowing for everyone to have an enjoyable adventure. Lunches that were prepared at our rest areas were amazing! I knew that supplies were brought in on mules, but I was surprised to find a padded lounge area to enjoy my mint tea and freshly made lunch. The food was so fresh and flavorful! The Azzaden remote camp was a bit different than expected as it was more of a village guest home than a "camp". However, the room was comfortable and the food even more fabulous than our other meals. And be sure to go outside in the middle of the night to stare into the heavens. With no light pollution and clear mountain air, you will be treated to a spectacular sight! Sadly, we were the only guests in this location during our visit.

TravelMom

Los Angeles

true

Amazing hikes, cultural wonders!

5

Morocco was a place of mystery for us. We had hiked in various places in the UK, Europe, and Japan, but the cultural aspects of this journey especially appealed to us and it did not let us down. Macs (Mary McDonald) set the trip up beautifully for us. Our actual sequence was altered from the one described on the Macs website, but that worked out for well for us. We would recommend that sequence. We began in Marrakech, then to the Atlas Mountains, ending in Essaouira before a final (extra) night in Marrakech. Transfers were all handled perfectly with no glitches (thanks to Rasheed of Discover Travel) and the accommodations (especially the Kasbah and the riad in Essaouira) were amazing. Discover (the local agency) was stellar. Marrakech is a blur of wonder, exotic smells, sounds, and tastes. We added a night here upon arrival as well as at the end. Imlil, the Atlas, and the Kasbah & Trekking Lodge were a world apart from Marrakech which is part of the wonder of this trip. Our guide (a young Berber gentleman named Mohammed) for the 5 days in the mountains was stellar in every regard along with great English skills. The Kasbah (& the Trekking Lodge) are among the most unique of accommodations in which we have ever stayed. National Geographic has recognized the Kasbah recently as "One of the Unique Lodges of the World". The Berber people that we encountered in the Atlas are among the friendliest that we have ever met on our travels. Essaouira was different from either Marrakech or the mountains. (This is all part of why this trip was so great). It was a relaxing seaside town, much smaller than Marrakech with a hip vibe, a much smaller medina and souk, and stellar dining at every turn. The riad in Essaouira is very chill, just inside the medina wall with a customer service staff that bows to none. All in all, an amazing adventure. Thank you to Mary and to Macs!

Tim the Teacher

USA Milwaukee, Wisconsin

true

Fanastic Trip!

4

The hotel in Marrakesh could have been better, but the trekking lodges were fantastic. Be sure to add on a full day guide in Marrakesh as it is too hard to navigate the Medina on your own. Based on this experience on the spur of the moment we added a half day guide in Essaouira. This is a must to properly experience the city. The hosts and guides at the trekking lodges were wonderful and very hospitable.

Sandy

USA

true

Don't miss Morocco....

5

Marrakech, Essaouira, and Hiking in the High Atlas were all wonderful. We stayed an extra two nights in both Marrakech and Essaouira. This is truly a cash society, so be prepared. Riad Slitine in Marrakech probably had the most helpful staff and the best food among the places we stayed. We did a day trip to Ourika Valley which was excellent; it was organized for us by the staff at Riad Slitine. Make sure to have a Hammam at Riad Slitine....it's probably best not to know too much about it in advance...just go with it. While in Essaouria, we took a cooking class which was fun and located next door to Dar L'ouissa. Make sure to see the sunsets and the fishing boats coming in...spectacular. Another day we walked to Diabat, which I recommend. Hiking in the High Atlas was thrilling, the highlight of the trip. My friend and I are both approaching 70, so it was a real workout, but well worth it. If I were to do it over and had the time and money, I would stay more days in the mountains hiking with perhaps a day off in the middle. The Kasbah was a treat as was the Lodge in Azzeden Valley. Our guide, Abdou, was excellent and patient with us. We felt safe the entire time, but also were careful with our decisions. Discover LTD did an excellent job with all of our transportation...on time with great drivers who were open to our many questions about the culture.

Rosie

Westrook, Maine USA

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A flawlessly designed holiday

5

Simply amazing! We loved the structure of this holiday: a retreat to the Atlas Mountains book-ended by two exciting Moroccan cities. All of the accommodations were fantastic, especially Kasbah du Toubkal (private bungalow with a mountain view balcony was a highlight). The local company was always on time for transfers and were friendly, welcoming, and informative. We highly recommend this holiday!

Amy Ferg

USA

true

Unforgettable experience (in a good way) but hard in parts

5

The high atlas are unspoiled, beautiful with unique accommodation & provide a fascinating insight into the Berber villages & their lifestyle. It's billed as moderately hard .. day 1 consisted of an eight hour day & with 1500 metres of ascent & descent... we were offered the night before a 5 hour or 10 hour loop & asked for something closer to 6-8 hours. Except that 1500 metres is like doing Helvellyn plus a half again.

Frank_Alison

Hampshire

true

thanks

5

we just got back from our morocco (mac's part) and paris (our part) trip we were very happy with mac's adventures - planning, accomodations, guides, drivers, transfers, etc so happy that we are considering mac's for our next vacation - and if people ask, we will give you a good recommendation one thing that could have been a problem turned out quite the opposite: originally mac's had planned for us to be in a moroccan city during Eid - which would have been diappointing for shopping, eating out etc - since a lot would be closed so mac's rearranged our trip so that we were trekking in the atlas during Eid However, even more than the cities, Eid is highly observed in the Berber villages - so we felt real bad about taking our guide away from his family during Eid. But - in a pretty nice turn of events, we all took the day off from trekking - and our guide had a friend in Azzaden so we all visited his friend's house - and watched as they slaughtered, skinned and cooked a sheep - freshest lamb I ever had - and a pretty good short look at village life For your information - Kasbah du Toubkal is probably going to shut down during Eid (a week) in the future - for the same reason - it takes people away from their famiies during a very big festival So my suggestion is that unless the travelers insist - to not book during that week for the mountains, and for those 1-2 days for the cities (shorter observances). thanks for a great vacation

al sbarsky

brooklyn NY

true

Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains

5

We had a wonderful experience with MACS Adventure from the very beginning. They explained well what to expect and were communicative and responsive. We ended up exactly with what they explained and we were expecting. All was good! We intend to interact with them for our next adventure/holiday.

Raul

Connecticut, USA

true

Magical experience

5

A wonderful experience, Essaouira was an unexpected treasure. We had extra days in Marrakech but should of also had them at Essaouira. The transfers between locations went well, the hotel in Essaouira was a wonderful gem, the Rias Slitine was an overstated hotel lacking in warmth it charm but was very well located in the Souk. And the Kasbah - a truely wonderful experience, demanding but rewarding treks with great food and accommodation - a truely magical experience not to be missed

Richard and Helen

Auckland

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Marrakech, Essaouira & The High Atlas In Style

4.8 9

100.0

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