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What to take on a walking holiday

What to take on a walking holiday

Many of us love the idea of throwing our cares to one side and heading off into the mountains. Sometimes, however, we are a little less sure about what we should take and the often-simple precautions necessary to keep ourselves safe. Here, Alan Palmer, who has been trekking in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains for more than 30 years, passes on a little practical advice. The first question that trekkers often ask me is what they should take. It’s amazing how...

Walking with migrants

Walking with migrants

This autumn, Morocco trekking expert Alan Palmer undertook a trek with a difference: walking with an Aït ‘Atta family on their annual transhumance migration trek from the Central High Atlas Mountains to the fringes of Jebel Sahro in the south The initial omens were inauspicious. As we sheltered at the end of a long track leading up to the mountain pass of Tizi n’Waousremt, heavy hailstones cracked upon rocks all around us and visibility was so poor that even...

A new dawn at Erg Chebbi

A new dawn at Erg Chebbi

Many visitors head to Morocco dreaming of riding a camel across the “Moroccan Sahara”, some for just an hour or two, others for several days, and to this end set off on a hurried round trip from Marrakech. However, it’s important not to rush these things and to ensure sufficient time to pause and savour some rather special jewels along the way. Here, Morocco expert Alan Palmer describes his own recent five-day round trip from Marrakech to the dunes...

Avoiding the honeypot

Avoiding the honeypot

Alan Palmer reflects on his short trek across the high summer pastures of Morocco’s Yagour Plateau “If you’re happy, I’m happy!” beamed Mohammed, my mountain guide. Sitting on a large boulder in the shade of a copse of proud walnut trees, we were soothing our feet in the tumbling waters of the roaring Zat River. We had just reached the end of our three-day traverse of the beautiful Yagour Plateau and our experience had confirmed that you don’t need...

Trekking in Morocco: where and when to go

Trekking in Morocco: where and when to go

Most people looking to trek in Morocco set their sights on Jebel Toubkal; indeed, there is much about this to recommend. However, the Atlas Mountains stretch over 2000km (1200 miles) from the Atlantic port of Agadir in the southwest of Morocco as far as Tunisia in the northeast. So we asked trekking expert Alan Palmer to set out the distinct and varied attractions of five very different trekking regions in Morocco. The Toubkal Region Best months: mid-May to mid-October...

5 best hikes in the Toubkal Region

5 best hikes in the Toubkal Region

Morocco trekking expert Alan Palmer gives his recommendations for those heading to the High Atlas I am regularly contacted for advice by first time trekkers in Morocco, who often fall into one of two camps. Either they have set their hearts on climbing Jebel Toubkal (4167m), the highest mountain in north Africa, and simply want to know more about the logistics, or they have very little idea about trekking in Morocco at all and ask for an overview of...

Sunshine and storms on the roof of Morocco

Sunshine and storms on the roof of Morocco

Alan Palmer recalls the culmination of his first trek to the summit of Ighil Mgoun (4068m), North Africa’s second highest mountain We had spent the previous evening staring anxiously upwards. From the safety of the mountain refuge on the lofty Tarkeddid Plateau, the base camp for our final assault on the summit, there was no guarantee of success. “Insh’Allah”, repeated Hamid. Ighil Mgoun, the second highest mountain in Morocco, indeed the second highest in all North Africa, rose majestically...

A taste of Marrakech

A taste of Marrakech

Chris Griffiths reveals why food tours are a great way to avoid tourist traps and try traditional dishes Navigating your way around a new city can be challenging even for the most experienced traveller. And when you throw a labyrinthine ancient medina into the mix, as well as overzealous shop owners who blur the lines between a good sales pitch and harassment, your introduction to a place such as Marrakech can become a nightmare. If you don’t have much...

Morocco with teenagers

Morocco with teenagers

Morocco is the closest place to London where you can feel the furthest away. Just a short three-and-a-half-hour flight and you are transported to an ancient and exotic land, rich in culture and with an eclectic and complex heritage – a huge melting pot of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African and European influences. By Amanda Gaydon Somewhat spoilt with previous holidays in Balearic Island villas, Kenyan safaris, Maldivian diving and South African road trips, I wanted to do something...

Morocco with kids

In the desert of Morocco

With medinas, snake charmers, camels, desert camps, mountains, sweet mint tea and sticky dates aplenty, this North African country is a great place for a family holiday. Mike Unwin embarks on a road trip from Marrakech to Fes with his wife and daughter in tow. Photographs by the writer "I can’t think of an X,” pleads my daughter from the back seat. “Nope,” concedes my wife, after a long pause. “Neither can I.” Five minutes of brain-wracking follow, while...

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