Escape the heat of Marrakech and drive into the Atlas Mountains. Ride a mule and pass berber villages and enjoy the stunning views of the countryside. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a Berber house and take a short walk with your driver before driving back to Marrakech.
Atlas mountains and imlil day trip is one of the most spectacular day trips from Marrakech if you desire to get out of the city and delve in the authentic and rural side of Morocco. We will start our Imlil day trip at 09am from marrakech by a 4WD vehicle or mini van for 2 hours drive south up the Moulay Brahim Gorges, and the berber village of Asni very popular for its weekly market every saturday then to Imlil Crossing a vibrant green valley that stays fresh and lush even during the hottest days of the summer. Imlil is a small village at the foothills of the highest mountains in Morocco Toubkal mountain. Imlil is the center to hire mountain guides and mules due its unique possition and its connection to several berber villages and a very popular start point of treks and hiks for climbing Toubkal mountain. Arrival to Imlil here we shall leave our vehicle to take mules for around 40 minutes towards the south to the Berber village of Aroumd (Aremd) (1843m) set in the upper level foothills of the Western High Atlas mountains, a main trailhead with streams and paths branching out in all directions to get our lunch which will be served in a berber house in the village of Aroumd. Afterwards you can take a short walk before we return to Marrakech.
One might ask, what's the difference between Ourika valley and Imlil day trip, and it is a smart question, so here is your answer: Ourika is a very touristic attraction among travel agencies, foreigners accustomed to Morocco, and locals, you would struggle to find a parking spot in Ourika during hot days and mmaybe wait in line for each difficult hike which is not that bad after all. Second, The hike in Ourika is relatively short and demands quite some effort since you're doing it on foot, while in Imlil, you will ride the mules from the village of Imlil up to Aroumd where you'll have lunch, and our host has guides that will accompany you and guide the mules all the way, this gives you a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the experience, the scenery, the ride and the discussions and not be exhausted. The mule ride is also a big help for the photography fanatics because you're not watching each step you take in the rocky road and you can focus on taking some extra ordinary picutres. Imlil is also less touristic so it's quite rare that you encounter other tourists especially during the hike from Imlil to Aroumd except maybe for some professional hikers taking a challenge against the mount Toubkal.
If you have the chance to do this trip on a Saturday, your driver will stop in Asni village and take you in a tour through the local weekly market of Asni, find your way through the crow of local berbers pooring from all the surrounding villages to exchange goods and animals and buy fresh vegetables, fruits and meat for their homes. you can take pictures but discretely, because in Morocco, no one likes to find their faces on facebook or Times Magazine in the next morning, however we managed to get some on our website :) (2nd & 3rd picture )
While in Ourika, you'll have lunch in a restaurant whether it's included in the price or you pay it by yourselves on the spot, in Imlil, lunch is automatically included and it's not in a restaurant, we work with a wonderful local family and offer our clients an awesome lunch on a open terrace with an extremely wide view over the whole valley (last pic on the left). After lunch, a tea break is a must to help you digest before taking a small walk through a different path and ride the mules again whenever you feel like it.