“Enjoy four days walking in the High Atlas Mountains where you'll become part of a typical Berber village and sample simple pleasures prior to living it up in Marrakech.”
Marrakech | Jardin Majorelle | Djemma el Fna| | Menara Gardens | cross the Tizi'n'Tichka | 4 days spent walking within the High Atlas Mountains | Ouarikt Gorge | Animiter | Tizi'n'Ourghsan | Mt n'Oughlagal | Jebel Anghomar and Jebel Tamda | plenty of free time to explore Marrakech at leisure |
Description of Morocco holidays, Atlas Panorama
If you are moderately fit and have a moderate budget, this week long walking holiday in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco is far from moderate on the experience and exquisite scales. Starting in Marrakech, we stay in a three star hotel and enjoy the sights, sounds and all things aesthetically pleasing about this fine city.
From the other worldly culture of Marrakech’s souks and bazaars, we head up into the High Atlas for another worldliness of a natural kind. Swapping hotel for mountain gite and more basic accommodation, the scenery of our daily hikes every day is five star, all the way. Such as a six hour loop through the Tizi'n'Ourghsan or a hike out to Lake Tamda, perfectly poised between the imposing peaks of Jebel Anghomar and Jebel Tamda.
We take time to visit a community project that we support in Tijhza and take a traditional hammam there, meet the local Berber people who are ever welcoming to walkers, as well as one last day in Marrakech, with the hotel pool making a welcome finale to wash away the mountain dust. Although away the memory of those dramatic landscapes won’t be erased for a long time.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
This is a hiking holiday and comfortable walking boots are required as well as plenty of layers to counteract colder mountain temperatures. Also, bring a pack of cards or travel games to play at the gite.
Small group. Average group size 12. Minimum age 16.
Moderate. Four solid walks with shorter or longer options.
4 nights basic gite, 3 nights en-suite hotel with swimming pool.
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, tour leader throughout.
All breks, 3 lunches, 4 dinners.
Single rooms available at a surcharge in hotel only.
Small group holiday
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
“It was only eight days, and in some ways it felt like more, as it was just timeless in the middle.”
Learn more about this itinerary in Responsible Travel's interview with Linda Sankey, a traveller on this tripRead full interview here
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. Even though this is a short trip, it still offers some good opportunities to benefit the local community. By including Berber villages on our route, using local gites for accommodation, using markets and local mule transport, we have a positive impact on the local economy. Particularly as we stay in Tighza, which is remote and still recovering from damages, our presence is really appreciated. Many clients like to leave behind items such as reading and writing materials and winter clothes which are taken in and re-distributed by a local association.
Water: Water is a really important issue with walking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Lack of recycling is already a massive problem in Morocco so we suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Since the EU banned the use of iodine tablets, we are no longer able to provide these on trek. The recommended alternative of Biox Aqua drops is not available in Morocco, therefore we also advise you buy your own purification tablets in the UK and take them with you.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: We will spend three nights in a hotel, and four nights very simple, rural accommodation in Tijhza village. Our local operators prefer to select accommodation which is locally owned in order to support smaller businesses and their employees. This ensures that most income generated is reinvested into the area and the community. Where meals are supplied, seasonal, fresh food is used wherever possible. Food in the village is bought from the market of Telouat, which is supplied predominantly by local producers and farmers. The main Moroccan dishes most people are familiar with are couscous, meat and vegetable tajines, fish chermoula and bocadillos, which are available from street stalls almost everywhere.
Campaigning for Change: In conjunction with Baraka Community Partnerships, we have sponsored the development of Tijhza for many years with a variety of projects. These include supplying a pipeline system and water tower to the village and a toilet block for the school. Thanks to our volunteer groups, Tijhza now also has electricity and an annual medical clinic, which has had a hugely positive effect on the welfare of the village. More recently, we have achieved our aim of building a Hammam to alleviate some of the hygiene issues in the area and to provide a sustainable source income for many inhabitants. Unfortunately, devastating storms struck in November 2014, leaving much of the village severely damaged. We were able to raise emergency funding to provide supplies and to re-build many of the homes affected.
Local Craft and Culture: At the beginning and end of the trip, there is free time in Marrakech to explore the wide variety of sites and activities in this major city. Clients are advised to head to the souks for souvenirs, take a ride in a traditional Caliche, or to visit the world renowned Marjorelle gardens. These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo blue and there is a small and charming museum of Islamic art in the grounds. In the evening, the Djemma el Fna central square comes alive with musicians, snake charmers, travelling acrobats and food stalls. This is the perfect opportunity to interact with local people, purchase locally produced handicrafts and to support small street vendors by trying authentic food. There will be other chances to do so on the trip at local markets, which are awash with bright images, animated characters and the smells and sounds of food being made and sold.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Morocco holidays, Atlas Panorama
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 17 Aug 2016 by Jan Grimmer
It was excellent from start to finish! Really well organised. Food fantastic....healthy and fresh. I really don't know how they did it!Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Jan 2016 by Linda Sankey
The most memorable parts of the holiday were tea with Fatima, great group atmosphere, wonderful scenery, simply just getting away from it all!
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Reviewed on 01 Jan 2012 by Kerrie Buhagiar
Great - just what I needed...the benefits (economically) were shared out across the community and local villages with different families involved in different ways. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Nov 2011 by Tammo Schuelke
Absolutely great....The first night we had exceptionally clear skies - I've never seen anywhere near as many stars. Beautiful!Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Oct 2011 by Dave Young
Very good - a good combination of a 'full-on' city like Marrakech and the much more contemplative environment of the quiet mountains. The contrast between the two is huge.Read full review
Reviewed on 14 May 2010 by Holly Foat
Amazing, brilliant, inspiring… I can really see why it’s so hard not to go back! The most memorable part of the week was the hamman in Marrakech, mostly because it involved being thoroughly scrubbed by a rather large woman whilst lying naked on a tiled floor in a dark steamy room down one of the back alleys of Marrakech – it was so far removed from my normal life! Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Oct 2010 by Anne Marshallsay
Most memorable? Walking in the Atlas Mountains, our group bonded well and the support from our guide was brilliant! The scenery is amazing and I would love to go again!Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Feb 2010 by Val Scaresbrook
Most memorable was seeing the Atlas Mountains - the geology and environment are so different to what we've seen before.Read full review
Visiting a local Berber home with an old Kasbah & having tea with some members of the family was the highlight. Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Apr 2008 by Jo Beesley
Excellent holiday - would not hesitate to book another one in a different part of the world.
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Reviewed on 16 Oct 2007 by Terry Artt
Sleeping under the stars in the desert, the stars were brilliant and the moon rose during the night. The Berbers cooked a lovely simple meal which we ate sitting on the sand under the stars. The colours of the desert and the mountains are unforgettable.Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Jul 2007 by Kaye Birks
The guide was very friendly and helpful and allowed us time to walk slowly in the 38 degree Celsius heat.Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Dec 2006 by Rachael Goodall
4.5 out of 5! I feel reborn. The most memorable or exciting part of your holiday was either the 32km walk to the lake in the mountains or the hammam experience when we had some free time on the last day - every traveller should seriously consider visiting the hammam!!!Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Dec 2006 by Kate Jayasuriya
The mountain setting was superb, very beautiful and felt completely cut off from the rest of the world. It was so refreshing to re-connect with the simple life - honest food, clean air, virgin snow, silly after dinner games and mule transportation.Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Dec 2006 by Jill Adams
We really enjoyed our holiday. Redouan, the local guide was excellent and we were very well looked after in the guesthouse... I would throughly recommend it.Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Sep 2006 by Carolyn Logan-Taylor
I loved the village so much I want to return and assist on projects there. I really didn't want to come home. I've learnt a lot about myself and how material things really don't matter. I can't wait to go back. Marrakesh 5/10. Atlas Mountains 100/10. Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Apr 2006 by Jennifer Barnes
We had a wonderful holiday in Morocco with this operator. The most memorable bits were the souk in Marrakesh, a meal with with our guide in a Moroccan restaurant serving a buffet of traditional Moroccan food, our guide's skills and friendliness, and the wonderful walks he took us on in the Atlas mountains. Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Jan 2006 by Margo Thaller
The size of the group was perfect. As a French citizen I enjoyed very much travelling with Brits.
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Reviewed on 11 Dec 2005 by Tom Barry
I really enjoyed that we were authentically off the tourist trail and we experienced day to day village life & sounds. The guide Mohammod was very approachable and professional.
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Reviewed on 25 Sep 2005 by Emma Fisher
The walking in the Atlas mountains - the walks themselves, the hostel and its staff, the wonderful welcome and food they gave us... Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Apr 2005 by Susan M Tyzack
We had a wonderful and much needed holiday. It was most relaxing, especially since all the hard work in planning and arranging everything had been done excellently by the operator and especially the local guides. Fantastic!Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Apr 2005 by John Read
It was an excellent holiday. Morocco is a fascinating and beautiful country with delightful people who are alternatively living in the 18th and 21st century (the wonderful simplicity of the Berber villages is such a contrast to the sophistication of the towns but the villages now have satellite tv so all that will change soon). Read full review