The Toubkal Massif, enclosing the High Atlas’s highest peaks, is the target destination of nearly everyone who goes trekking in Morocco. You can reach trailhead villages in just two hours from Marrakesh, and the main walking routes are easily followed. Walking just a short distance from the most common starting point – Imlil – you are transported to a very different world. Mountain villages offer a stark contrast to the previous roadside towns, with Berber houses, stacked one on top of another in apparently organic growth, appearing to sprout from the rocks. The local population is immediately distinct from their city compatriots; the women dress in brilliant attire even when working in the fields.
In summer, Jebel Toubkal (4167m), the highest peak in North Africa, is walkable right up to the summit; if you’re pushed for time, you could climb it and be back in Marrakesh in three days – though at some risk of altitude sickness. Alternatively, if you feel unable to tackle an ascent of Toubkal, it’s possible to have a genuine taste of the mountains by spending time exploring the lesser-visited valleys accessible from Imlil or Aroumd.