Things to know before hiking Jebel Toubkal, Morocco

We hiked the mountain at the end of March 2017 when there was snow from just below the refuge up to the summit. We tried researching certain things online and couldn’t get confirmed answers so here’s some things that you may find helpful: 

Staying at Refuge Mouflons

  • I’d recommend going on their website or phoning ahead to make a free reservation.
  • The price to stay at Refuge Mouflons was €14 per person for a dorm bed with dinner (soup, tagine, oranges and water) and breakfast (bread, spreads, boiled egg, coffee and mint tea).
  • It’s best to arrive early to get a good spot in the dorm, we were one of the first people to arrive at around 2pm and it was filling up by 3pm.
  • Dinners served at 7.30pm, lights go out at 9.30pm and breakfast can be served any time from 5am…I think? It could of been earlier but like hell were we waking up then!
  • They provide blankets if you ask for them, though weirdly they won’t give them to you until bed time. They are free (a bit smelly) but saves you having to rent and carry a sleeping bag.
  • Each bed has a thin mattress and pillow.
  • They sell snacks and drinks, and of course they cost a lot more than in Imlil. A 1.5litre bottle of water costs about €1.50.
  • There are communal toilets and a couple of showers but the latter can be dark as there’s not always electricity for lighting.

Guide of no guide

  • We went without a guide and it was absolutely fine. The weather was perfect which helped and the route is pretty obvious. We are quite experienced hikers but it was a first for us to use an ice axe and crampons.
  • If you go without a guide be careful who you follow up – some people aren’t hiking up Toubkal and you may find yourself following someone up the wrong mountain.
  • I’d recommend downloading the free Maps.me app which has the trail marked on it (and take a portable battery charger just incase). On that note we did see power sockets in Mouflons dining room but there’s only about 5 hours electricity a day there.
  • You are responsible for yourself, if you have a headache or signs of altitude sickness then head back down the mountain.

Don’t forget to pack

  • Earplugs, eyemask and a torch.
  • Your passport as they check it at the refuge.
  • Good pair of gloves.
  • A long ice axe, you can use it like a short hiking pole and it’s there if you slip and need to stop yourself.
  • I hiked in cheap hiking trainers and didn’t have any problems. I would of preferred boots (which can be rented in Imlil for €5 a day) but the trainers worked fine. Saying that, the weather warmed up after our hike and the snow became quite wet (luckily it was solid for our hike) so shoes will get soaked.
  • And of course all the other essentials like warm clothes, waterproofs, medical kit etc.
  • If you have a water purifier there’s a river flowing through Sidi Chamharouch where you could fill up.
  • For the two of us we hired this gear in Imlil for €30 for two day hire – 2 ice axes, 2 pairs of crampons, 2 pairs of gloves and a backpack. It took a lot of hard bartering to get that price and the man wanted €43 to begin with.
  • Snacks and food. We packed a couple of breads and cheese for lunch on both days. Lots of chocolate, nuts and cookies.

Hiking times

  • It took us 4.5 hours to hike from Imlil to the Refuge.
  • 3.5 hours from the refuge to the summit.
  • 7 hours to hike from the summit back to Imlil.

Overall

It’s an amazing hike, but totally exhausting! We did it in two days and it was much tougher than we expected. A day relaxing in Imlil afterwards would be highly recommended. Enjoy being on top of the Atlas Mountains and the highest point in North Africa!

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