DIY Mount Toubkal Peak (Morocco) North Africa’s Highest Peak

Mount Toubkal peak (Morocco)

Mt Toubkal Peak Morocco

Mount Toubkal is part of the Atlas Mountains in southwestern Morocco, located in Toubkal National Park. Toubkal’s summit is at 4167 meters, and it is the highest peak in North Africa. Although it is not a technical hike, the elevation gain and loss over 2 days is grueling. If you are up for a challenge, and want to experience something different in Morocco, make sure to add this to your list!

Approaching the Mt Toubkal Peak Morocco
Approaching the summit

Hike Information

  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Elevation: 4167m
  • Elevation gain: 2400m total
  • Total Distance: 28km
    • Day 1
      • Elevation gain to Base camp: 1400m
      • Total Distance: 11km
    • Day 2
      • Elevation from Base camp to Summit on Day 2: 1000m over 3km
      • Total Descent on Day 2: 2400m
      • Total Distance: 17km
at the peak of Mt Toubkal

Hiking Mount Toubkal

Day 1

We left Marrakech around 10am and got to Imlil around 11:30am. After buying some snacks, finding a guide and renting gear, we started the hike around 2pm.

NOTE: It took us quite awhile to find a guide, despite being told that it would be super easy by our hosts in Marrakech and all of the sources on the internet. If I were to do the hike again I would either leave super early or stay the night in Imlil so that everything was arranged beforehand.

Moroccan Restaurant on the way to Toubkal
restaurant half way up the mountian

The beginning of the hike went through several little villages, and it was really scenic. It did not get technical on the first day, but it was challenging. It took us about 4.5 hours to do 11kms over 1400m. We went a bit slower than usual as we wanted to avoid altitude sickness, as the refuge lies at 3200m. We got to the refuge at sunset, and it was a perfect end to the day.

There are 2 refuges to stay at, and we booked in advance via email at ”Les Mouflons.” Alternatively, you can camp if you have the gear.

Refuge Du Toubkal - French Alpine Club Hut
the refuge

Day 2

We woke up at 4am to have breakfast, and left the refuge at 4:30am to start the hike. It took us about three hours to reach the summit. Once again, we went slow to avoid altitude sickness. Also, we had to use crampons and they were very time consuming to put on as the ones we rented seemed like an ancient design with a million straps. They did the job, but they were super annoying.

Morning Hike to North Africas Highest Peak

The morning ascent was in the dark and it was 1000m over 3km, it was quite steep and scrambly. The sunrise was amazing at the summit, and we both felt very accomplished.

The Summit Of Mt Toubkal

We went a different route down, and it was extremely steep. This way felt like we were skiing down in scree at the beginning, and after that we had to use crampons for most of the hike. We arrived back at the refuge after about 2.5 hours and had an early lunch.

Hiking down from the peak of mt toubkal

After lunch, we hiked down the final 10km and additional 1400m. We arrived back at around 2:30pm and headed back to Marrakech for a much needed shower and sleep.

Even though it is not very technical, it was a very tough hike. My knees hurt alot after the 2nd day, considering it was a 2400m descent on day 2.

Mt Toubkal Peak Views

Hiring a Guide

Since the tragic news in 2018 of the murder of the two Scandinavian girls, it is now mandatory to hike Toubkal with a guide. If you want to read more about it refer to this newslink.

There is a police checkpoint at the base of the hike to verify you are accompanied by a guide.

You can hire guides for a day or multiple days depending on how long it takes you to trek. Most people need 2 days, but some opt for 3 days. We did not meet anyone doing it one day, but I have read online that there are crazy people out there:). Guides can be hired at the ”Office of Mountain Guides of Imlil” or by contacting them ahead of time on their website

Imli Police Checkpoint to start hike
Police Checkpoint

If you book a tour you will automatically get a guide, but if you do a diy hike you will need to hire your own guide. We were told that it would be really easy to find a guide, and that we would be hounded on the streets by guides, but this was not the case. It actually took us 2 hours to finally find a guide and it was sressful.

Mt Toubkal Guide
Our guide Hassan

Our guide had done the hike over 30 times, but he did not have the first aid and other courses that the official guides had. Being from Canada and being avid hikers, we were comfortable with our decision. Official guides cost about $50USD a day, and the unofficial guides will charge a bit less. However, always make sure to tip your guide at the end!

Since we did not go with a tour, we left some of our stuff at our place in Marrakech and carried our own bags up the mountain. Most tours go with mules, so you do not need to carry your bags. I personally do not like how the mules were treated, so I was once again happy with our decision to do a diy trip.

Donkey Riding Up Toubkal

Best Time to Hike

The best time to hike is between the months of May and September, which is Morocco’s summer. There is barely any snow on the summit and the weather is comfortable.

During winter it can rain in Imlil and Toubkal is covered in snow. You can still hike in the winter, it is just a bit more technical, and I would check for weather to avoid being clouded out at the summit.

We hiked in November, which is the start of winter, and we were really happy with our decision. Although we had to use crampons, the peaks were absolutely breathtaking with the snow! Just be warned that it does get very cold and to dress appropriately.

Mountain HIking Gear

You will need to bring different equipment depending on the time of the year you hike to Mount Toubkal.

In both seasons you will need the essentials for any alpine hike. This includes a first aid kit, medications, head lamps, emergency blanket, snacks, water, adequate maps, etc.

Using Crampons on Mt Toubkal

In both seasons I would definitely recommend hiking poles, as the ascents and descents are quite strenuous and yhard on the knees. We opted to use one pole each as we were renting equipment and I like to have one hand free.

If you go there in winter, you will need to rent crampons, a toque, and gloves! There are several shops with rental gear so everything is really easy to find. I made a mistake by not bringing gloves and I felt like my hands were going to fall off.

We are from Canada and we were surprised by how cold the hike was. We have done numerous 4000m hikes, and this one was really cold, so make sure you have good gear. Crampons were 100{05563ee440b8691600683906a6c3c3b7991e5ec3c24fb480a28e674e62e87cf8} necessary due to the ice and steep slopes. I would highly reccommend bringing crampons with you if you can, as the ones for rent are really old. We have these crampons at home and they are really easy to put over your hiking boots, work great, and are affordable. Check them out here.

I also rented a sleeping bag, but I found that I did not need to use it as the basecamp refuge was warm and had blankets in November. However, I would recommend a sleeping bag liner, as I am not sure how often everything is washed and I got some sort of skin rash after:(

The rental gear is fairly cheap too. We paid $18usd for 2 people for 2 days for a set of poles, a sleeping bag and 2 sets of crampons. I would reccommend travelling with collapsible trekking poles if you plan on doing a lot of hikes. These ones from amazon are affordable and good quality. Trekking Poles.

Tying Crampons On Mt Toubkal
Tying up the crampons

Food and Water

Water is not potable in Morocco or at the refuge so make sure to bring atleast 3 liters on day 1. We bought water at the refuge for about $2USD for a 1.5 liter. I would highly reccommend getting the Grayl water bottle to travel as it filters and purifies water easily and fast. I like to use it for travelling and hiking.

Make sure to pack a lot of healthy snacks. It is easy to find chips and sugary foods, but it is hard to find anything healthy along the hike. Meals are provided at the refuge, so you do not need to carry everything. There are also little villages along the route to buy drinks and snacks if you need a break or need more than you packed.

All meals can be purchased at the refuge for a set cost. They were fairly inexpensive $4-8 per meal.

Dinner was amazing, and we even had a choice of meat or vegetarian. We chose the vegetarian option which was a berbere omelet. The omelet consisted of egg, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and olives. The meat dish was a chicken tagine. Both meals came with endless bread, a side salad and tea. Lunch was exactly the same as dinner, just a smaller portion.

The breakfast was a bit disappointing as it was just bread, various jams and tea. We were happy that we brought peanut butter and protein bars to sustain us for the strenuous hike to the summit.

Fresh Made Moroccan Peanut Butter

Trip Cost for 2 People for 2 days

  • Transportation Marrakech to Imlil return 10USD
  • Gear rental $18USD
  • Guide for $60USD
  • Refuge $40USD
  • Food $46USD
  • Total: $164USD

This is very cheap considering it amounts to $41USD for one person for one day!

DIY Cost vs Tour Cost

Our quotes for Mount Toubkal treks for tours were around $150USD per person for 2 days. This means that it is about $75USD a day per person, not including snacks and water. It is about half the price if you arrange everything yourself.


Toubkal National Park Entrance

To get to Mount Toubkal, we took a shared taxi from Marrakech to Imlil. We got our shared taxi around 10am at the grand station for 50 dirhams each ($5usd). The taxi leaves when it is full and that is when there is 6 people in it (it took about 15 minutes to fill up our taxi). The journey takes roughly an hour to an hour and a half as it is only 60km from Marrakech. If you do not want to start the hike the same day that you leave Marrakech, then you can most certainly stay in one of the many guesthouses and hotels in Imlil.


You have to use a guide to trek Mount Toubkal, so you do not have to be super well versed with directions. However, we always download the area on in case we get lost. It would be advisable to get a paper map as well. The trail to the basecamp is very straight forward, so even without a guide it would be very easy to follow. The only difficult part would be finding your way in the dark on day 2 to make sunrise at the summit. However, all of the guides know there way, and there will be other people hiking, so there should not be any issues.

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