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Trekking , Marrakech & Essaouira
Trekking , Marrakech & Essaouira OverviewTrekking in Style is a new concept in trekking that allows visitors to stay in luxury accommodation without all of the hardships traditionally associated with trips to this spectacular region. Combine your visit to the mountains with a stay in the exotic city of Marrakech and the sleepy coastal town of Essaouira.
Trip reference: MEDLD
For the first part of your holiday, you will stay on a B&B basis in hotel or riad accommodation in the exotic city of Marrakech. As your accommodation in Marrakech is on a B&B basis you may choose to dine at some of the many superb restaurants in the city.
Marrakech is a fascinating city that is high on the list of places to visit by the discerning traveller. It comprises the medina, the old Arab quarter, and also the new town of Gueliz, which boasts modern restaurants and bars, fast-food chains and big brand stores. Gueliz also plays host to many arts events, sports events and several high-profile international conferences.
The medina of Marrakech is built around the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque whose beautiful minaret dominates the skyline and can be seen from almost every approach to the city. Any visit to Marrakech must include a shopping trip to the colourful souk (marketplace) where you can barter for rugs, leather goods, jewellery, lanterns and spices.
The beating heart of the old city is the legendary Jemaa el Fna, the busiest and most famous square in Africa where snake charmers, storytellers, acrobats, medicine men and musicians compete for your attention before open-air footstalls.
Marrakech also has many other attractions for visitors. These include the Majorelle Gardens, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, the Saadian Tombs, the medieval Ben Youssef Madrasa (Koranic university), the Secret Garden and numerous museums dedicated to the history of the city. You can even take a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful countryside near Marrakech or trek by camel through the ancient palm groves. There are many options available to you in this exotic city.
For the second part of your holiday, you will visit the coastal town of Essaouira.
Essaouira, which lies approximately 105 miles from Marrakech, is a magical fortified coastal town on the Atlantic Ocean, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. In total contrast to Marrakech, the pace of life here is relaxed and slow. Essaouira was made famous by Orson Welles who filmed Othello here, and more recently by Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones who stayed here in the 1960s.
Unlike Marrakech and Fez, there are no single places of major historical note to visit, but Essaouira in itself has become an historic location and is not to be missed. The fishing port creates a lively backdrop to the white painted buildings of the Medina. The souk is small when compared to that of Marrakech and easy to navigate without a guide.
Essaouira is a haven for artists and as such handmade works of art are to be found in abundance. Being a fishing port, fresh fish is readily available and lunch on the port is a must as the day’s catch is cooked in front of you. The wide sweeping beach offers windsurfing, kite surfing, camel and horse riding and quad bike excursions.
The High Atlas Mountains
For the third part of your holiday, you will visit the High Atlas Mountains
The High Atlas Mountains, which dominate the skyline to the south of Marrakech, have always played an important role for the city, not least with regard to commerce.
With several peaks above 4000 metres, the Western High Atlas is part of a larger chain of mountains that spreads from the Atlantic Coast in the west to Tunisia in the east. The mountains are home to the indigenous Berber people who have inhabited Morocco for at least 5000 years. The Berbers live in small clusters of earthen adobe houses which cling precipitously to mountainsides and are often only accessible by mule or foot.
Guests will stay on a full-board basis in our luxury accommodation at Kasbah du Toubkal in the trailhead village of Imlil (just 40 miles from Marrakech, but seemingly a thousand miles from the hubbub of the city!), and also in our Trekking Lodge in the remote Azzaden Valley where peace and tranquillity prevail. All trekking is fully supported with a mule and muleteer to carry your luggage whenever required.
Our Trekking in Style package also provides each couple with their own personal mountain guide who will be on hand for the duration of your stay to help with planning treks. You can choose to walk as little or as much as you like!
Our treks take us from the village of Imlil along footpaths and mule tracks which mount through the lush, irrigated terraces, apple orchards and walnut groves to other villages where you will have a glimpse into a way of life that has barely changed for centuries, and where traditional values and hospitality have been largely unaffected by the outside world.
First, two nights in the city of Marrakech
Private transfer from Marrakech Menara Airport where you will check in at your 4* hotel or luxury riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard). Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis, giving you the opportunity to dine at some of the superb restaurants that Marrakech offers.
After breakfast the day is free for you to explore the fascinating and vibrant city of Marrakech. Luxury accommodation at your hotel or riad is provided.
Followed by two nights in the coastal town of Essaouira
After breakfast, your driver will take you to the seaside town of Essaouira, 105 miles from Marrakech, a journey of approximately 2.5 hours' duration, where you will check in at your luxury riad. Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis, giving you the opportunity to dine at some of the superb restaurants that Essaouira offers. This magical fortified coastal town is in total contrast to Marrakech and offers many photographic opportunities.
After breakfast, the day is free for you to explore the seaside town of Essaouira. Luxury accommodation at your riad.
Followed by five nights in the High Atlas Mountains, fully inclusive and fully supported
After breakfast, you will be taken to Imlil, a journey of approximately 4.5 hours' duration. Accommodation will be provided at Kasbah du Toubkal. Depending on your arrival time there will be an introductory walk in the area and you will have the opportunity to discuss your preferences for walks and treks with your personal mountain guide. Dinner will be provided at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
A day to relax and enjoy free time in the Imlil area, or a chance to explore the Imlil Valley with your personal mountain guide. This can be separate morning and afternoon walks or one full day walk. Alternatively, you may wish to venture further afield to an outlying valley. A picnic lunch will be provided if required or lunch will be served at Kasbah du Toubkal. Dinner and accommodation at the Kasbah.
A supported trek of 3-4 hours' duration (longer routes available) with guide, mule and muleteer to our remote trekking lodge in the Azzaden Valley, a beautiful setting barely touched by the modern way of life. A picnic lunch en route with dinner and luxury accommodation at Azzaden Trekking Lodge is provided. You may wish to enjoy a relaxing hammam (steam bath) on arrival.
After breakfast, a day to explore the stunning Azzaden Valley with your personal mountain guide. There are several treks of varying lengths to choose from. You may choose a moderate walk amongst the villages of the Azzaden Valley or a taxing 7-hour circular route passing the Lepiney refuge hut and the Tizi n'Tzikert col at 2930 metres, or indeed anything in between. Other options of a similar length include the slightly easier and very beautiful 7-hour circular walk passing the cols Tizi n’Teouti at 2450 metres and Tizi n'Tougdalt at 2700 metres. A picnic lunch en route will be provided on full day walks, otherwise lunch will be served at the Lodge. Dinner and luxury accommodation at Azzaden Trekking Lodge.
After breakfast, depart Azzaden Trekking Lodge and trek back to Imlil via a route of your choice with your personal mountain guide. A picnic lunch en route will be provided. Dinner and accommodation at the Kasbah.
After breakfast, return by private transfer to Marrakech Menara Airport for your departure.