Travel to Imlil:
Trekking Mount Toubkal - High Atlas
Imlil things to see: Imlil has become a real trekking
base for hikes in the High Altas and to the mount Toubkal in particular.
There are plenty of cheap hotels and guesthouses, which get packed in july
and august. With the new road and kasbah, tourism has gone up a lot and tour
buses and tourist 4WD can choke the one road village during the day. Outside
the high season, the village becomes calm again in the evening when the busloads
of tourists have left. Several hiking trails are starting in the village,
among them the 5 hour walk (one way) to mount Toubkal, the highest mountain
to Imlil by car, bus or taxi : Thanks to the re-surfacing
of the road from Asni to Imlil, the journey from Marrakesh now takes less
than 1,5 hours. The road is now in good condition without potholes, it's
just annoying that those taxis have to drive so fast on a road not much
wider than a car and with plenty of sharp turns. It's a bit hard to find
your way out of Marrakech, as there are few signs or arrows in the centre.
Once you get to the new southern ring road, follow the few signs to Taroudannt
(Oukaimeden is a lot better indicated, but that's a different road).
Asni is not signposted. From Tahanaoute the mountains are starting and
the road winds its way up.
Parking: Next to the budget hotel Al Aine, at the right
side of the road when entering the village, there is a guarded parking which
costs 10 dirham per night and 5 dirham per day. It is not recommended to
leave your car in the main (and only) street of Imlil, as there is no real
parking space and lots of taxi and donkey activity.
Hotels - accommodation: there are plenty of budget guesthouses
en hotels along the main road. They all seem to offer about the same standard
small rooms which cost about 80 - 100 dirham for a double room. If you intend
to stay a bit longer you probably will appreciate the rest of the guesthouses
at the end of the surfaced road. The main street of Imlil gets very busy
during the day when plenty of coaches, jeeps and taxis arrive.
du Toubkal: The kasbah has now been completely restored and has
amazing views on the High Atlas mountains and berber villages. A British
family started the restauration of the Kasbah in 1994, and the place now
organises tours, provides luxurious accommodation and food and receives a
lot of British visitors. The owners of the Kasbah du Toubkal also support
sustainable tourism. Part of the money goes back to the local berber community
Don't forget to look in the picture book at the reception which shows the whole
transformation of ruin, via Tibetan monastery (for Martin Scorsese's film
Kundun in 1996) to luxury mountain refuge.
Walking up to the Kasbah: it's quite a steep climb
of about 15 minutes to the Kasbah from the end of the surfaced road.
You can rent a donkey, but be aware that it's not so comfortably
on the way down.
Accommodation - hotel services: rooms are nicely
restaurated in traditional Maroccan style. Prices are steep, starting
at 130 euro for a double room. Individual travellers can also get
a bed in a 12-bed dorm for 300 dirham, which is good value.
Cafe: if you come to Imlil, you should at least
drink a tea of coffee on the wonderful terrace of the Kasbah and
enjoy the surrounding views of mountains and villages.
Restaurant lunch - dinner: the lunch menu consists
of a huge Moroccan salad, delicious tajine (with caramelized figs,
roasted wallnuts and sesame seeds) and couscous (as extra main course),
melon and tea or coffee. Dinner has only one main course. Dinner
costs 200 dirham, lunch 300 dirham. Rather expensive, but we could
arrange that the use of their great hammam was included in the price
of the lunch.
Traditional hammam: The kasbah du Toubkal also
has a very nice and quite large hammam with several rooms with steaming
hot water and cold baths. If you can get the usage of the hammam
included in the dinner price, this must be the ultimate place to
end a long trekking.
Practical details: email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
telephone: 044-485611, there is a lot of information on their website