Atlas Mountain trekking holiday in Morocco

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Holiday type
Small group holidays
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?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
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.
Mythbuster
“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?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Atlas Mountain trekking holiday in Morocco

This company has operated on responsible tourism values since its inception. From an environmental perspective, our initiatives extend from our company offices to our tours. A local green energy provider powers our head office and stores; we encourage cleaner transportation methods for staff; and purchase all supplies from a local green business supplier. Our office is as paperless as possible and our brochures use 100% PEFC certified sustainable paper.

Community
Supporting communties is and always has been at the heart of our tours. We provide business opportunities to local people by employing local guides and tour operators. The majority of accommodation used on our tours are small-scale hotels. Our tours mainly use public transportation wherever possible and are small in size to keep our impact on fragile sites and communities as minimal as possible. We monitor the sustainability of our tours through traveller evaluations in order to allow for continuous improvement. We support the local economy and business initiatives by visiting locally-owned shops, restaurants, and markets on our tours.

Many tours incorporate community projects as a way of supplementing community income and supporting community development projects. In 2003 we founded a non-profit organization as a way for our travellers and our company to give back to the people and places we visit. We develop community projects around the world in the areas of health, education, small business development and environmental conservation. Funds are raised through traveller donations and fundraising. The company pays all administration fees which means that 100% of each individual donation goes directly to the community projects. Each year, we continue to support and develop new partnerships with more community projects and community-based tourism initiatives worldwide, in Latin America, Asia and Africa. On most tours, you have the option to visit a project as part of your trip.

Environment
Tour leaders provide travellers with information about local environmental issues in their respective regions, and provide suggestions of how we can best protect the local environment and culture. To reduce the amount of waste created on tours, tour leaders also encourage travellers to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, cotton tote bags, reusable batteries, etc. We also include destination-specific information in our guidebooks, which are provided to each traveller including information particular to the local culture and environment and tips on how to be a responsible traveller.

On this trip:

Low Impact Transportation: The type of transportation used on a trip can make the difference to local people receiving many benefits and it can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this trip we walk to the majority of our destinations, hence the name Atlas Mountain Trek! By doing so we are not emitting any unnecessary harmful emissions. Walking is the best way to get around and also experience the culture and locals on a deeper personal level and of course, it does help that it’s the most sustainable way to go!

Low Impact Accommodation: The accommodation used on a trip can make the difference between local people receiving many benefits or none at all. It can also mean huge impacts or minimal impacts on the environment. On this trip we spend 4 out of 7 nights in a Gite. Gite accommodation in the mountains is multi-share with 4 to 6 beds in each dormitory. Bedding is provided but you will need to bring a sleeping bag for additional warmth if travelling in the months Nov-April. You will need to bring your own bath towel. Bathroom facilities are unisex and shared. Each evening on return from our days of hiking, you will enjoy homemade dinners of local produce in the cozy dining room. In Marrakech we will stay in a modern, local hotel in the new town, close to the medina and other attractions.

Supporting the Local Culture & Economy: Activities that take you to homes, markets, restaurants, and villages are vital to the local peoples’ ability to truly benefit from tourism. People in rural communities, especially in developing countries, often lack access to the economy due to their location, lack of funds, or ability to market their products. Visitors offer them the chance to supplement their income whether it’s simply by buying handicrafts, eating a meal at a family-owned restaurant, this trip makes contributing to the local economy part of the adventure. Here are some real cultural immersion and learning experiences:

• Lmil to Aremd - Departing Marrakech in the morning, we journey to Imlil in the Toubkal region. We make the two-hour trek from Imlil to the little village of Aremd and the simple mountain gite that is to be our home for the next four days. Enjoy the tranquility, fantastic views and clean mountain air of this magical region.

• Tamatert - Tamatert is nature at its best. We spend the whole day trekking, our trail taking us through magnificent mountain landscapes. As with our other trekking excursions, we will be accompanied by a donkey that will carry our daypacks and picnic lunches, leaving you free to enjoy your walk. Ascending to the Tamatert pass (2,200m) be greeted by fabulous views over the neighboring valleys and summits, including the majestic Mount Toubkal peak. We return to our gite Aremd for the evening.

• Tizi M’zik - Lace up those hiking boots for another full day of exploring the Atlas Mountains. Today we pass through age-old traditional Berber stone and adobe villages clinging to the mountainsides, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. The Tizi M’zik pass (2,490m) has superb views over the Azaden and d’Aït Mizane Valleys and the surrounding peaks. Here we're invited into a Berber home to share mint tea with the local villagers before heading back to our gite for dinner.

• Sidi Chamharouch - Today we trek along the mountain slopes to find the shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m), enjoying a picnic lunch along the way. This sacred place offers a fascinating glimpse into local life, as people from all over the region come with offerings and prayers for good health and wellness, perhaps even hoping to drive away a bad jinn or two!

Reviews of Atlas Mountain trekking holiday in Morocco

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
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Trekking up to the high passes and looking out over the valley with a refreshing mint tea.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take clothes for all occasions! A sun hat is essential but also warmer clothes and a good raincoat, as once out of the city and at altitude, the weather was more varied.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we spent a day cleaning up a small town in the High Altas. There was no rubbish collection here and litter was dropped in the street. With the advent of plastics, this means it stays in the street! So the day was more to be visible and to get people thinking about litter collection in the village. Of course the children were very interested in this and many joined in. I felt this was well thought out and worthwhile.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. The local guide and ground team were notably excellent and made the trip!

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