Winter ascent of Toubkal
8-day adventure

Climb Mount Toubkal in Winter

Morocco
  • Kandoo Trekking
  • Kandoo Summits
  • Kandoo Winter
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Code: MRTW

8 days
Challenging

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our UK team

Our local team

A country of excellent trekking, Morocco offers a variety of incredible hikes, between the rocky outcrops of the High Atlas to the rolling dunes of the Sahara. To really know this landscape you have to have grown up here. Which is exactly what our local team have done! Our operations in Morocco are managed by our very own local Berber guide Mohamed Zbair. He and his highly experienced team know the local paths like the back of their hand. They...
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Kandoo's view

In the winter months, under a blanket of snow the High Atlas mountains are a magical place for some fantastic winter trekking. The peaks and high passes that looked spectacular in summer are now even more enticing as they glisten with ice and the promise of crisp, cold mountain air on windswept summit ridges. If you have a craving to hear the crunch of snow under your boot and the feeling of your crampons biting into the ground as you kick steps upwards to reach a distant peak, you have come to the right place.

On this adventure we will climb Ouanoukrim (4088m), the second highest peak in Morocco and Toubkal (4167m) the highest peak in north Africa. You will be accompanied by expert mountain guides every step of the way and all your technical gear is provided.

Trip highlights

  • Experience the spectacular High Atlas in winter conditions
  • Climb two mountains over 4000m including the highest peak in north Africa
  • Explore vibrant Marrakesh

Experiences

  • Kandoo Trekking
    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
    Our core collection of treks and hikes, through some of the world's most outstanding landscapes
  • Kandoo Summits
    The summit of Mt Toubkal
    Head to the top of a real mountain summit for a real sense of achievement
  • Kandoo Winter
    Ice tunnel in Gigjokull, Iceland
    Our experiences in snow, ice or winter conditions

Gallery

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    ARRIVAL IN MARRAKESH

    Arrive in Marrakesh and transfer to your hotel. After clearing immigration and collecting your luggage, exit the arrivals building and look out for one of our team holding a KANDOO sign. If you wish to exchange money in the airport make sure you do this before leaving the building. Transfer to your hotel and have the rest of the day free to explore Marrakesh. Your pre-trek briefing will take place this evening in the hotel foyer, here you will meet your guide and gain an in depth understanding of the trek you are about to embark on.

    • Transport: Private transfer (0.3 hour, 8 km)
    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    MARRAKESH - IMLIL

    This morning we will take a guided tour of the old town and souks followed by lunch in a local restaurant. The souks of Marrakesh are renowned as one of the most exotic marketplaces in the world. In the afternoon we will transfer to the village of Imlil, passing through the Moulay Brahim Gorge. Imlil is a beautiful High Atlas village at an altitude of 1800m where we will be staying in a local cottage for the next two nights.

    • Transport: Private transfer
    • Accomodation: Local cottage
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Day 3

    TIZI N’MZIK

    Today will be a warm up to get us prepared for the climb ahead. From the village we will climb up the valley to a col called Tizi n’Mzik at 2500m.
    The track is steep, rocky and snow covered so it will provide a good impression of what we will face in the coming days. This will be a good opportunity to try out your crampons provided the conditions are suitable. We return to Imlil in the afternoon.

    • Hiking time: 4 - 5 hours
    • Ascent: 800 m
    • Descent: 800 m
    • Accomodation: Local cottage
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Please note

The details in this programme are regularly updated but unforeseeable and unpredictable circumstances may result in inaccuracies. In order to provide the adventure which is best suited to your demands, the weather and the operational conditions, changes to the itinerary may be made.


For safety reasons, we reserve the rights to interrupt your participation at any time if your technical level or fitness is deemed unsuitable or if you are seen as a danger to yourself or to those around you. Under no circumstances would this give rise to a refund or compensation.

Trip information

Difficulty

An ascent of Toubkal requires you to be in good physical condition and have some experience of walking for up to 6 hours a day for several days in a row.  The trail will vary from easy trails at lower altitudes, to very steep and rocky terrain covered in snow and ice.  There will be changes of altitude as you climb to 4000m and above, and a good amount of endurance is necessary.


It is important the personal equipment you bring with you is suitable for the conditions.  Your clothing needs to protect you from very cold temperatures and winds.  A good quality sleeping bag is essential as well as protection for your eyes and skin. Please refer to the equipment section below for more information.


There is no technical climbing on the ascent of Toubkal. You will be walking in crampons and with the use of an ice axe but nothing more. Although some previous experience of trekking in winter conditions would be beneficial, it is not necessary.  Your guide will provide training in the proper use of crampons and ice axe. If you have any questions about your suitability or how to prepare for this trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

Food & drink

During your trek you will be accompanied by a cook who will prepare all of your meals.  At breakfast there is tea, coffee and hot chocolate, bread, jam, cheese, Nutella and sometimes a local speciality.  A typical lunch will be a salad with fresh vegetables, corn, boiled eggs, tuna and rice or pasta served alongside a traditional curried dish, such as dahl or a tagine. 


Evening meals will always be made up of delicious Moroccan cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients.  There will normally be a soup starter followed by a tagine or stew with salad, couscous or pasta and bread.  We can provide vegetarian, vegan or gluten free meals on request.   If you have special dietary requirements please let us know when booking your trip.


In Marrakesh, at the start and end of your trip, you can purchase meals at the hotel or head out in to the city to find a restaurant.  Less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel you will find Bd Moulay Rachid, a street with a wide range of international and local options and you will find most dietary requirements are catered for. Restaurants with international options such as pizza and burgers, French and local cuisine, or if you are wanting something lighter then look for the roadside cafes offering the locals favourite, Omelette Khaali (lamb omelette) and Mint Tea.     


Drinks are not included in the cost of your trip.  You will need to bring a water purification filter or tablets and at least two water bottles or flasks for your trip.  During your trek you can refill your water at natural springs, in villages and at the refuge below Toubkal.  On some days you may not pass a shop as the trek goes through remote valleys and many of the shops are in small villages or settlements and therefore may close without warning. Please ensure you are able to purify natural water safely, rather than relying on buying bottled water; we also do not recommend acquiring single-use, plastic water bottles as these must be carried out and recycled.

Accommodation

Hotel 

In Marrakesh, you will be staying in a comfortable 4 star hotel in an en-suite twin or double room. The hotel has a swimming pool, hammam (spa), restaurant and free WiFi. 


Refuge

The Nelter Refuge sits in the bowl between Toubkal and Ouanoukrim and is the perfect location to rest up ready for your winter ascent! We will stay in mixed sex dormitories with shared bathroom facilities.  There is a communal lounge with an open fireplace, hot showers, western toilets and free Wifi at the refuge. Food here will be prepared in the communal kitchen by our cook. 


Local Cottage
The local cottage in Imlil will be in the style of a local Moroccan house with clean and comfortable rooms on either twin or dorm style basis with a shared bathroom that has a hot shower and western toilet. 

Transport

We use a private air conditioned minibus with seatbelts for our transfers. 

Luggage

Main bag weight: 15kg


During the trek your luggage will be carried by mules.  To be suitable for carrying, your duffel bag must be flexible not rigid, maximum 100 litres and weigh no more than 15kg. You should also bring a small day pack to carry water, snacks and anything else you may need whilst trekking.  This could be used as your hand luggage on your flight.

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows:

Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item

If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution

We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you

need in Marrakesh.

We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.

How do I get there?

On our Moroccan adventures you will need to arrive in Marrakesh on a Saturday and the tour will begin the following morning. For UK travellers there are direct flights with BA, Easy Jet and Ryan Air from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester. With a short stop in Europe, you can travel from virtually any major UK airport.  The flight time from the UK is roughly four hours. 


There are no direct flights to Marrakesh from the USA but, it is only necessary to have a short stop of less than 3 and a half hours somewhere in Europe. Delta Airways operate convenient flights via Paris from New York, Boston and Los Angles. TAP Air Portugal, American Airlines and United provide further options.


Menara Airport is located 8km outside the city of Marrakesh and the transfer to your hotel will take between 20 and 30 mins. Once you have cleared immigration and collected your luggage, please exit the arrivals area and look out for a Kandoo team member holding a big sign reading "KANDOO ADVENTURES".  Please be aware that if your flight arrives within 90 minutes of another guest you may be asked to wait until they have arrived to share a transfer. Rest assured, you won't be asked to wait for more than 90 minutes. 

Please bear in mind that dinner is not included on your arrival day, this means if you arrive on a very late flight you may struggle to find somewhere to eat by the time you have reached the hotel. We recommend booking a flight that arrives in Marrakesh no later than 5:30PM. 

Due to local regulations at Marrakesh, mobile boarding passes are not valid for your return flight. You will need to print your boarding pass and go to the check-in desk to get your documents checked, even if you don't have bags to drop off.

If you are changing airlines or re-checking your luggage at an airport on route, please ensure you leave a minimum of 3 hours between flights. This will account for any delays on arrival, travel time across airports (this can take longer than you think) and time taken to re-check baggage.

Pre-trek briefing

A pre-trek briefing will be held in the hotel at 7pm on the evening of Day 1. If you are going to arrive after this time, then a notice will be left with the hotel desk and posted in the reception area, with instructions as to where and when to meet your guide the following morning. 

Budget & change

The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).  For the most up to date exchange rate please visit www.xe.com.


The dirham is a closed currency, which means it can only be bought once you arrive in Morocco. You’re allowed to bring in or take out 1000Dh (around £65) but you’ll need to exchange the rest on arrival. You can get good exchange rates at the airport with cash and credit card exchange available alongside baggage reclaim and debit/travel card exchange available in the arrivals buildings after you have cleared customs. You can also exchange your GBP (don’t bring Scottish, Gibraltar or Northern Irish Sterling notes) or US Dollars to Dirhams at a bank and in most hotels. Keep hold of your receipt to convert your Dirhams back when you leave – you can do this at the airport for a good rate.

A meal out for 2 people in Morocco will cost ~$15. You will need to account for two evening meals in Marrakesh plus money for any lunches whilst in Marrakesh, tips, drinks and souvenirs. Gifts and souvenirs are best acquired from the markets in the Medina. Prepare to get haggling! Our recommended guidance for spending budget in Morocco would be between $50-100 on top of your tips, give you ample souvenir spending money. 

Tips

Tipping is common in Morocco but not mandatory and should be based on the level of service you feel you have received.  The below amounts will give you a rough idea of how much you should tip (per trekker per week). Please tip in Moroccan Dirham rather than in your home currency where possible. 

Guide: 100-160 MAD ($10-15)

Cook: 85-110 MAD ($8-10) 

Mule drivers: 160-210 MAD ($15-20) - amount per driver (depending on your group size you may have between 3-5 mules and drivers)


Different crew members will be with you for different stages of your trip to Morocco:

 

  • Your guide will be with you every day that you are in Morocco.
  •  Your cook and mule drivers will be with you while you are on the trek itself (you may have up to 5 mule drivers on your trek, depending on the number of participants. You will be provided with this information 3 weeks before departure)
  •  A driver will provide your airport transfers and transfer you to and from the trek.

Formalities & health

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date. We recommended you keep a colour photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

Visa

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa to enter Morocco for a period of up to 90 days, however, you should check the latest information with the Moroccan authorities before travelling.

Vaccinations

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for travel to Morocco. It is your responsibility to check the latest health information before departure.

Hepatitis A / Hepatitis B / Typhoid / Polio / Tetanus

Insurance

Before you can join any Kandoo Adventures trek / climb, you will need to insure yourself against accident, injury, and illness. Your insurance must cover the cost of helicopter evacuation and repatriation if necessary. Make sure your insurer knows of your travel plans, and verify that your policy fully covers your trek / climb, and any other activities you will participate in. Specifically for all our adventures in Morocco, you need to be covered for trekking up to 4200m. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf. You will also need to bring details of your insurance cover to the pre-trek briefing.

Medication

Your guide carries a first aid kit at all times but we recommend you carry the following items : - Painkillers - Anti-diarrhoea tablets - Sunscreen (high factor) for lips and skin - Moisturising cream (for sunburn) - Elastic bandage and regular bandages - Sanitary products - Water purifying tablets or filters - Mosquito spray - Blister bandage

Other information

Alcohol
Although Morocco is more liberal than many other Muslim nations you do need to be careful when purchasing or consuming alcohol.  Morocco does allow the consumption of alcohol and you can buy beer, wine and spirits in licensed hotels, bars and supermarkets.  In supermarkets there will often be a separate alcohol room which is out of sight.  If you attempt to purchase alcohol outside of one of these licensed areas then you may find yourself in trouble with the police. 

Bars with a licence to sell alcohol will not usually have windows.  This is because although it is legal to purchase and drink alcohol on the premises, you are not allowed to be seen by the general public outside.  Officially only tourists are allowed to drink outside but to avoid causing any offence it is best avoided.  You are allowed to bring alcohol in to the country with you, but only a maximum of 1 litre.  

While in Marrakesh, if you want to have a drink with a meal, it is best to check with the restaurant if they serve alcohol before you sit down.  You should also ask if they are happy for you to sit anywhere whilst drinking or if they would prefer you to sit at a corner table out of sight.  While you are up in the mountains trekking, things tend to be a bit more relaxed than in the city.  However, it is best to show some consideration for your cook and porters by checking with your guide before you crack open the whisky. 

Dressing appropriately
Although Moroccan people are very tolerant of tourists it is always a good idea to be respectful of the local customs. We would advise female travellers to keep their knees, shoulders and stomachs covered while out in public to avoid any unwanted attention. You need to balance this conservative style of dress with the excessive heat that you may experience in Marrakesh. A long sleeved maxi dress will keep you covered while providing some airflow to keep you cool. Long sleeve breezy button up shirts, harem trousers or jeans are also good options.

For men it is best not to walk around topless despite the heat. Moroccan men do not tend to wear shorts, although there is certainly no problem with male tourists doing this, if you want to blend in with the locals then go for some loose fitting cotton trousers.

When you are in the mountains things are much more relaxed than in the city. You should wear clothing that is appropriate to the conditions and the activity you are engaged in.

Animal welfare
In the High Atlas Mountains the use of mules and muleteers (otherwise known s the Berber 4X4) is very common.  The strong and sure footed mules have spent their lives up here in the mountains and they can transport your gear from A to B with ease.  Mules are a big source of income for the local Berber people, as a result they are generally treated with great respect and consideration for their well being.  However there are always exceptions and in some cases mules in the High Atlas have experienced terrible neglect and cruelty.

The main problems that cause suffering for mules are traditional bits, overloading, inadequate feeding, wounds, poor footcare and working unfit mules (lame, sick or injured).

Kandoo Adventures are committed to ensuring that the mules we use on our treks receive only the very best treatment. To ensure the animals are never overloaded we have placed restrictions on the weight of the luggage you can bring with you.  Your main bag must always be flexible and not weigh more than 15kg.  The maximum load a mule can carry is 80kg, this will ensure the health and comfort of the mule as well as a sustainable working life.  We will not start trekking with mules who are obviously lame, sick or wounded.  We will never condone the use of traditional bits which can cause terrible pain for the animals.  We only work with a select number of muleteers who we know and trust to provide the very best level of care to their animals. 


Equipment & clothing

Equipment supplied by Kandoo Adventures

  • 1 pair of crampons per person (suitable for all types of walking boots)
  • 1 ice axe per person
  • 1 Helmet per person
  • Comprehensive fist aid kit carried by guides at all times

Clothing to bring

  • Hat for sun protection
  • Hat for warmth
  • Scarf or head scarf
  • Sunglasses with good UV protection
  • Long sleeve shirts or cotton t-shirts
  • Jumpers, 1 light weight and 1 warm
  • Insulated Jacket (very warm)
  • Waterproof and windproof hard shell jacket
  • Breathable fast drying thermal underwear
  • Warm gloves
  • Comfortable long trousers x 2 (fast drying)
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Trainers for the evenings
  • Warm socks
  • Hiking boots (B2 mountain boots are preferable but not essential, sturdy high rise boots with good ankle support)
  • Gaiters (important if you encounter deep snow)

We prefer that you do not wear cotton clothing, including underwear, when participating in activities. When cotton gets wet from water or sweat it ceases to insulate and does not dry quickly. The best materials for outdoor activities are fast drying materials like polyester or materials which are warm when wet like wool. The most powerful materials against the wind and rain are 'breathable' materials like Gore-Tex or Nikwax.

Equipment to bring

  • Sleeping bag, minimum rating of -20˚C and sleeping bag liner (available to rent in Imlil for 250 MAD)
  • 2 water bottles (minimum 1 litre each) or hydration sack
  • Walking poles (if desired)
  • Head torch with spare batteries and bulb
  • Toiletries (including wet wipes)
  • Container for any toxic rubbish (batteries, sanitary items etc)
  • Duffel bag (80 to 100 litres), flexible and water resistant (must not exceed 15kg)
  • Daypack (30 to 40 litres) to carry with you each day
  • Water purification system (charcoal filter, chlorine tablets or similar)
  • Camera

Dates & prices

From To Price Availability Book Enquire
16/03/2024 23/03/2024 $1,165 £899
Sold out
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04/01/2025 11/01/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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18/01/2025 25/01/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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08/02/2025 15/02/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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22/02/2025 01/03/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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08/03/2025 15/03/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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15/03/2025 22/03/2025 $1,235 £949
Available
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Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • Airport transfers
  • A qualified, English-speaking mountain guide
  • All Transportation as detailed above
  • All Accommodation as detailed above
  • Crampons and ice axe
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners


Price does not include

  • Flights and Visas
  • Drinks during the day or at meal times
  • Tips
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any meals not listed in the programme details