April in Marrakech – Hiking in the High Atlas
Posted on January 7, 2013 by James Robbins
April in Marrakech builds on the promising start to spring made by March. Flowers are in full bloom, the temperature is really beginning to warm up, and the grounds of Tigmi always seem on their best behaviour for the influx of guests.
It’s no surprise, then, that April is one of the most popular months at Tigmi. And I really enjoy the atmosphere around the hotel as guests arrive with optimism after a cold and dark winter.
And what spectacular views they are greeted with! The Atlas Mountains are in full view now, giving our guests a real picture postcard outlook that never ceases to wow.
April is an ideal time for families to stay at Tigmi. Yes, we are a retreat. But we are also fortunate enough to be able to spread our guests out over two distinct sides of the hotel. This ensures that any disturbance for those without children is kept to a minimum, and parents on family holidays don’t have to worry that their children may be disturbing others.
Indeed, the children make friends with kids from other families, enjoy each other’s company, and rarely get bored exploring the labyrinthian gardens of Tigmi. This gives parents plenty of opportunity to relax around our two swimming pools, the second of which is now warm enough to swim in (the main one is heated all year round, so you’ll have no worries there).
But you cannot come to Tigmi and just stay in the hotel by the pool. There are so many adventurous, wonderful things to do in the city and surrounding countryside that will light up your children’s eyes.
Pay a visit to the gardens on the outside of the city, particularly the Menara Gardens where you can gaze across the pond at the snow-capped mountains providing the perfect backdrop to the Saadian Pavilion.
Taking the children to the Moroccan Fanfare is always a good night out. This Moroccan themed evening is held at Chez Ali on the northern part of city and is a night of local cuisine followed by an equestrian acrobatic show in the large arena. (This can be arranged at Tigmi with Jean Paul or Hayat on arrival if this is something that you would like to do.)
The quad biking is a great option (see our guide to Marrakech in March for more details) for those wanting a little bit of excitement in the foothills around Tigmi.
Going further afield, up to the High Atlas is always popular with the guests and is going to be my preferred outside activity for this month as it just so beautiful up there at this time of year.
You can tailor this trip to exactly what interests you, and that is what makes it perhaps our most popular trip. Begin your trek in the morning – I would say the best time to leave is between 9 and 10am – you will go by Taxi to Imlil, a small village which is situated at 1,750m and overlooked by North Africa’s Highest Mountain, Jebel Toubkal, which stands at 4,165m. From the Berber village of Imlil the taxi driver will help you find a local (but very much accredited) guide to take you and your family on a walk or hike for a time set by you.
One option is to walk to the shrine at Sidi Chamarouch, which is at 2,750m. This walk is along a river bed and is tiring in places, but for the most part a gentle climb through the mountains. The shrine is a special place where people from all over Morocco come for blessings, often when they are unwell.
The walk to Sidi Chamarouch will take you approximately three hours, and around two hours to get back. If that sounds a little too tiring, there are other shorter walks which are just as enjoyable – and much less strenuous!
When you get back to the town of Imlil you can either have some mint tea in one of the wonderful cafés or head down the valley and get back to Tigmi in time for a slightly harder (but well-earned) drink on the terrace in time for sunset.
A return Taxi to Imlil is 900dh (around £70) and a guide will cost between 200dh and 500dh depending on the duration of your walk.