Schools - Mount Toubkal in Winter

A winter ascent of Toubkal - suitable for 6th form pupils





From $1,060 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Learn winter walking skills - using a walking axe and crampons
  • Mount Toubkal and the Atlas Mountains at their snowy best
  • A cultural journey stretching from Marrakech to the High Atlas
  • Ideal introduction to winter hiking

Morocco's Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest mountain, provides a fantastic winter adventure for an older school group. Just 2 hours drive from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, the high valleys of the Berber people are at their quietest and most beautiful at this season. Our tried-and-tested itinerary includes a day's acclimatisation hike above the village of Aroumd, before we proceed to the Toubkal Refuge (3207m) and Toubkal's effective basecamp at the head of the valley. We have a full day to practice using our crampons and axes, before our summit of Toubkal the following day. At 4167m, Toubkal is the highest mountain in North Africa. Spectacular views from each of these peaks extend across the rocky Atlas ranges and southwards to Jebel Sahro and the Sahara. Although this trip involves negotiating easy-angled snow slopes and ice-axe and crampons will be used, previous experience of winter mountaineering is not required. Fully guided, this is a short and very special winter walking holiday and with almost 30 years of organising walking, trekking and mountaineering trips, should you wish to adjust the itinerary to suit the needs of your group, please call our experienced KE Schools Coordinator to discuss any ideas you may have. Alternatively please email

Is this holiday for you?

The maximum altitude attained on this trek is not great and our acclimatisation day above our gite in Ait Souka is good preparation for our ascent to the Neltner Refuge and subsequent ascent of Mount Toubkal. On the ascent of Toubkal, and possibly whilst trekking up to the Neltner Refuge, we will encounter moderately angled snow slopes. Included in the itinerary is a day to learn the basics of walking in crampons and the use of a walking axe. This is a winter walk, rather than a technical climb. However, we would only recommend this for older pupils with previous walking and trekking experience.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Marrakech. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
  • Morning sightseeing tour of Djemma-el-Fna. Afternoon transfer to Ait Souka.
  • Acclimatisation day around the charming Imlil Valley.
  • Trek to the Neltner Refuge.
  • Acclimatisation trek and optional ascent of Mount Ouanoukrim.
  • Ascent of Mount Toubkal.
  • Morning descent to Ait Souka. Afternoon tranfer to Marrakech.
  • Departure Day. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.

Land Only

The price of our trips does not include international air travel to the start location in the destination city and country. The start location for joining the trip is identified for each trip. It's usually a centrally located hotel. KE can easily arrange all airport transfers for you.

International Air Travel

Please contact us at KE for air travel advice. We will be happy to discuss the flight arrangement which best suits your group.

2 teachers FREE

The Guide Price assumes that 2 teachers will accompany the group. Their Land Only costs are covered by the group's payment.

Guide Price $1,060*
Park Fees/permits N/A
Other Charges N/A

* We give a price estimate for all of our school trips. This is based on 12-16 pupils and includes two free teacher places. If you are interested in a specific trip, we will send you a quote letter. You may wish to take extra teachers or add on additional days and this can all be included into your quote, on request.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • peaks
  • point
  • trip direction
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Marrakech. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.

    On arrival in Marrakech you will be met by a KE representative who will assist with the short transfer to the group hotel in the city. Depending on your flight arrival time, after settling in you may have the opportunity to do a little exploration. Marrakech is a friendly city and quite easy to get around and most people head for the central square of the Djema el-Fna beneath the imposing tower of the Koutoubia Mosque. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal taken at the group hotel or a nearby restaurant. The trip leader will give a briefing during dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Morning sightseeing tour of Djemma-el-Fna. Afternoon transfer to Ait Souka.

    On our first morning in Morocco, after breakfast at the group hotel, we will visit the Djemaa-el-Fna. Even in the morning there’s a real bustle here as people go about their daily business and orange juice stalls and colourfully-painted horse-drawn open carriages vie for business. The covered passages, streets and hidden squares of the souks cover a huge area on the north side of the Djema el-Fna and we will be able to explore some of the most interesting and accessible parts. After lunch in a nearby restaurant we set off on the short drive to the start point of our trek. We drive southwards out of the city, with the peaks of the Atlas ahead of us. At the bazaar town of Asni, we turn away from the main road and begin to climb into the foothills of the Atlas. Our route follows the picturesque Mizan Valley and we begin to see the clustered houses of the mud-brick villages of the Berbers. Imlil is effectively the end of the road for us, as we choose to stretch our legs with a short walk to the village of Ait Souka. The area around Imlil was recently used as the backdrop for parts of the major Hollywood movie, 'Kundun'. The old kasbah above the village was renovated and made to look like a Tibetan temple. At Ait Souka we check in to our gite and relax perhaps taking a cup of Moroccan mint tea. Altitude at Ait Souka approximately - 2000 metres.

    • Accommodation Gite / Hostel

    • Meals bld

  • Acclimatisation day around the charming Imlil Valley.

    Today is a day for acclimatisation in and around the charming Imlil Valley. To help with this process, we’ll take a short day walk above the village. One option is to take an easy-paced stroll back towards Ilmil before heading up a side valley to reach a col at 2520 metres. The walk up the Mezzik Valley gives a good introduction to the type of terrain and trails we’ll be covering on our trek. The path is stony but clearly defined and winds its way up above cultivated terraces and walnut trees to reach a col – or tizi as they are known locally. We’ll take a snack break on the col, allowing those with sufficient energy the chance to climb on to reach a viewpoint above the col. We retrace our steps to return to the gite, with an excellent view across to our route of the following day.

    • Accommodation Gite / Hostel

    • Meals bld

  • Trek to the Neltner Refuge.

    Leaving Ait Souka, the trail crosses the river and climbs steeply for an hour and a half to the seasonal village and holy shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2310m) surrounded by rocky peaks. A huge white-painted boulder marks the spot where, legend has it, a holy man lies entombed. Beyond here it is a steady climb of around 4 – 5 hours to reach the Neltner Refuge (3207m). Operated by the Club Alpin Francais this hut was only completed in 2000 and has been designed to (loosely) resemble a Berber fortified dwelling. The hut sleeps around 80 people in dormitory accommodation. Though basic the refuge has bathrooms and showers, a couple of large dining areas and a lounge with an open fire.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Acclimatisation trek and optional ascent of Mount Ouanoukrim.

    Depending upon conditions and the weather we may choose to make the ascent of Toubkal on this day but in most cases we will use this day for acclimatisation with a trek to the Tizi Ouanoukrim, a col at 3750m from where an optional ascent of Ouanoukrim can be made. Leaving the hut in the early morning we ascend gradually and most likely on snow all the way to the Tizi Ouagane, a col at 3750 metres. It will take around 3 hours to reach the col and we will stop here for some snacks and a drink. From here the summit is a further 1 – 1.5 hours away. There are some rocky scramble sections which are straightforward but require hands-on scrambling. From the end of the short scrambling section it’s a steady ascent up a snow/scree slope to a false summit and then across a small snow ridge to the true summit. Clients who do not wish to continue to the summit can easily retrace their steps from the col to the hut. For those who wish to continue the reward is fantastic views of Toubkal and also over to the Sahara and Anti Atlas. From the summit we retrace our steps until just before the scramble section where if snow conditions allow, it is possible to descend a steep snow gully that brings us back to the main valley just above the hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Ascent of Mount Toubkal.

    A long day for those who choose to make the ascent of Jebel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak. After an early breakfast, we set off on the steep ascent. Our route zig-zags eastwards, directly above the hut across snow covered scree slopes, before passing between two rocky guardian peaks to reach a high corrie. We continue upwards across easy angled snow slopes to reach the ridge-line which drops off steeply to the east. After a total of around 4 hours, we arrive at the metal tetrapod which marks Toubkal’s summit. There are fantastic views of the snow covered peaks of the High Atlas away to the north-east and of the Anti Atlas and the Sahara to the south. Descending to the hut in 2 hours, we settle in for our last night at the refuge.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Morning descent to Ait Souka. Afternoon tranfer to Marrakech.

    We make an early start to return to warmer climes, descending to our overnight accommodation in Ait Souka in around 4.5 - 5 hours of walking. After taking lunch at the gite, we make the 10-minute walk down to Imlil, where we meet our transport for the drive back to Marrakech. Arriving mid to late afternoon, we check in at the group hotel and have the rest of the day free for sightseeing or shopping in the souks. In the early evening we will certainly want to check out the remarkable central square of the Djema el-Fna. At around 4 pm each evening this large open square becomes the focus of activities for local people and tourists alike. Troupes of Berber acrobats and musicians, together with snake-charmers, water sellers and story tellers begin their evening performances which become more and more animated as the sun sets. This evening we will have a celebratory dinner in our hotel or a nearby restaurant.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure Day. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.

    KE group package services end after breakfast. For those clients with evening flights (Note: with particular relevance to Saturday departures - there are now easyJet flights to both London, Gatwick and to Manchester which each depart at around 7 p.m), the remainder of the day is free to explore the streets, souks and colourful sights of Marrakech. A popular option is to simply sit and watch the world go by from one of the restaurants overlooking the Djema el-Fna. Complimentary Airport transfers are provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A qualified UK KE Schools leader
  • Experienced English-speaking local guide
  • Ice-axes and crampons
  • Marrakech Airport transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as described in the dossier
  • All meals as described in the dossier
  • A full service on trek including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Tips for staff
  • Cost of firewood at the Neltner Refuge
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks etc. International Flights

During this trip the group will spend 2 nights at a 3 star tourist class hotel in Marrakech. We will also have 2 nights at an excellent gite (trekkers' lodge) in the village of Ait Souka and 3 nights at the Neltner refuge on Mount Toubkal. The Neltner is a modern hut operated by the French Alpine Club and the accommodation here is in dormitory rooms. The refuge has bathrooms, showers, a dining area and a lounge with a wood burning fire. Should you wish to extend your schoool adventure, additional hotel nights in Marrakech are also available. For Hotel prices please talk to our dedicated schools coordinator.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

This is a fully inclusive package which includes all meals during the trek and also while staying in hotels in Marrakech. The first meal provided will be dinner on Day 1 of the trip itinerary and the last meal will be breakfast on Day 8.

On trek, the food is a mixture of local and Western, all purchased locally and cooked for us by our trek cooks. Breakfasts are continental style, with tea and coffee, orange juice, cereals including muesli, bread, jam, honey and cheese. A morning snack is also provided and this usually consists of a piece of fruit (apple, orange), together with Moroccan 'trail mix' of dried figs and dates, peanuts, sugar coated peanuts and other nuts. Lunch usually starts with the Berber speciality of mint tea, followed by a buffet of rice, pasta or cous cous, with a freshly prepared salad - onion, tomatoes, green peppers, grated carrot, green beans, with tinned sweetcorn or peas added. Hard and soft cheeses, tinned fish, olives, biscuits and bread are also on the lunchtime menu. Dinner starts off with soup and bread. The main course is usually rice, pasta, cous-cous, spaghetti or chips, with a vegetable stew (or tagine) consisting of some of the following - onion, potato, carrot, green pepper, zucchini, turnip, parsnip. green beans, peas. There will be some meat (usually chicken, lamb or beef). All dishes come with traditional sauces which are rarely (spicy) hot. Desserts usually consist of fruit, some fresh but more likely tinned, including pineapple, apricot, pears, peaches or mixed. To round off dinner, there is the usual range of hot drinks.

A transfer will meet the group at the airport on Day 1 of the itinerary, taking you to your first nights accommodation. At the end of your school adventure, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

The group will be accompanied by a qualified UK KE Schools Leader and an experienced English-speaking local guide. You will also have the assistance of mules and porters to carry our equipment up to the Neltner refuge.

Approximately £100 (or equivalent in US dollars or Euros) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. This amount will cover tips for the trek crew, soft drinks, snacks, and also lunches in Marrakech if you should happen to arrive early in the day or depart late in the day. Marrakech is a great place for souvenir buying and all major credit cards are accepted. If you are intending to buy expensive items, you should budget accordingly. It is not necessary to purchase Moroccan currency (Dirham) outside the country. You can withdraw money in local currency from ATMs in Marrakech or your travel money can be carried in the form of cash (Sterling, Euros and US dollars are easily exchanged). Please note that it can be difficult and time-consuming to exchange travellers cheques at banks in Morocco, and commission payments are often very high. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and it is a good idea to carry one in case of emergency.

It is important to remember tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. For your local guides and crew we recommend that you give a tip if you feel that their services have met your satisfaction. We recommend that you give tips as a group rather than from individual group members and suggest you decide together on a level of tips that suits everyone. Your local leader will advise you on this. As a rough guide we suggest a contribution of around £30 (in local currency) per group member to a 'pool' should provide an appropriate level of tips.

On the trek up to the Neltner Refuge your personal equipment will be carried by porters and mules. During this part of the trip your baggage should not weigh more than 15kg. Items not required for this part of the trip can be left at the gite in Ait Souka or the group hotel in Marrakech. We recommend that you bring a fold away bag for this purpose.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This trip involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. Please remember that you need to keep the weight of your equipment to a maximum of 15 kg. – 33 lbs

You must bring the following items:

  • 4 season mountaineering boots capable of taking crampons (Boots need to be in good condition)
  • Gaiters
  • Trainers / sneakers (for use in the hut)
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Trekking trousers/pants
  • Waterproof and breathable jacket
  • Waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Base layer shirts or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket
  • Warm jacket (down)
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Fleece hat
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips) Factor 20+
  • Warm Inner ‘thermal’ gloves or mittens
  • Waterproof over-mittens
  • Earplugs (especially if you are not the one doing the snoring)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small travel towel
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE kit bag)
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)
  • Daypack 40 litres / 2500 cu in with ice axe loop
  • Headtorch/headlamp with spare batteries
  • Trekking poles x 2 with snow baskets
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2). (Note that the tube on camelback / platypus type systems can be prone to freezing up in cold conditions)
  • Toilet roll
  • Water purification tablets
  • 4 season sleeping bag*
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

Mountaineering Equipment:

  • Mountaineering ice-axe* (50 – 70 cm or as personally preferred)
  • 10 or 12 point crampons *

The following items are optional:

  • Spare laces
  • Thermos flask
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • A breathable ‘Bivvy’ bag is a useful addition keeping your sleeping bag dry in the damp atmosphere of the Neltner refuge (if you have one it might be worth taking, but do not buy one specifically for the trip)
  • Pocket-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Travel clothes


  • Equipment Hire: Items marked * can be hired / rented through KE Adventure Travel. Please make all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure date as there is a limited supply. Mattresses are provided in the gite and refuge. We cannot hire/rent out mountaineering boots or down jackets. Cotton clothing is not suitable for the conditions found in the mountains of Morocco in winter

PHD Gear Advisor

  • PHD specialise in cold weather equipment, from the world’s lightest right up to the most protective for Everest or the Poles. It’s a large range. So to help you choose what you need to keep you warm, PHD have listed the gear that is appropriate for this expedition.
  • Click 'gear adviser' at

Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

  • Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store.
  • View >>

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

It is warm during the day in Marrakech even in the winter months of November through to April. At this time we can expect daytime temperatures to reach a pleasant 20 - 22C, dropping to 7 - 10C at night. Once we are on trek and we start to gain height, we can expect the temperatures to be rather lower, with daytime temperatures in the range of 10 to 15C. At night, outside the Neltner refuge the temperature will drop well below freezing. From Ait Souka upwards we are likely to encounter snow. As in all mountain regions, short lived storms do occur and in winter these can bring quite heavy snowfall.

Lonely Planet Guide Morocco. Rough Guide to Morocco Trekking in the Morrocan Atlas. Richard Knight. The Atlas Mountains. Karl Smith. Cicerone Press. A Hedonist's Guide to Marrakech. Paul Sullivan A Year in Marrakech. Peter Mayne

Toubkal & Marrakech. Orientazion. 1: 50,000

Detailed, water-resistant trekking map of Toubkal and surroundings. Topographic detail includes contours at 20m intervals, hill-shading, woodland and scrub areas, springs, creeks, rivers and dry riverbeds. Road detail includes tracks and footpaths. On the reverse is a clear plan of Marrakech at approximately 1:8,700.

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