Atlas Mountains

Hikers in Morocco

Ryder-Walker expanded our tour list to include our Atlas Mountains trek in Morocco. A few years ago a group of our guides endeavored to ski Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in Northern Africa. We discovered the beauty of the landscape, Morocco’s vibrant culture, and just how welcoming the local populace and local guides were. Our guides then decided that we needed to develop a hiking trip to the summit of Toubkal. With the Atlas Mountains Trek added to our roster of cultural tours, we are excited to invite you to join us in this breathtaking adventure. To this day Morocco continues to enchant us with its unique alpine-desert beauty. The trip has become one of our in-house favorites.

MoroccoView of Essaouira in Morocco.

Morocco is a magical country with beautiful cultural gems. Marrakesh is one such treasure. It is a magnificent, ancient walled city with world famous markets referred to as souks. They trade in a huge variety of exotic goods, such as spices, textiles, and ceramics. The cities pink sandstone mosques, gardens, and walls light up with the afternoon sun. It gives Marrakesh a sense of being bathed in eternal sunset.

The city of Marrakesh is reason enough to travel to Morocco. However, our sights here are set on the Atlas Mountains, the largest mountain range in Northern Africa. In the Altas Mountains, we will explore the rugged passes and shepherds’ villages that lie between us and the summit of Mount Toubkal.

Moroccan Culture

Moroccan culture is some of the most vibrant in the world. Everything in Morocco has its own unique flair derived from the country’s rich ancient history. The traditional clothing of the locals contains everything from fine silk vestments to the Djellaba.  The Djellaba is a Berber robe. It has a pointed hood and is worn by both men and women. The food in Morocco is as vibrant and delicious as you would expect. Bastilla is one example. Bastilla is a magical savory pie filled with chicken and saffron. You must also try tagines – savory stews featuring lemons, chicken, olives, and spices all cooked together in a clay pot. Couscous dishes are also very popular. Couscous is the most traditional of Moroccan household dishes and is eaten specifically on Fridays.


Human history in Morocco dates back more than 400,000 years.  The ancient Phoenicians were the first great civilization to rise out of the desert mountains. Throughout ancient history, the kingdom of Carthage, indigenous Berber tribes, and an annex of the Roman empire would all stake claims on Moroccan soil. In modern history, the first European countries to stake colonial control in Morocco were the Portuguese and Spanish. Both sought to protect their empires by gaining control of the Northern African coast.

Morocco was designated as a protectorate of France in the 19th century. Moroccan architecture and design has a distinct French influence. Morocco gained its independence following a period of unrest and negotiation. This led to a Moroccan kingdom being ruled by an uneasy French and Moroccan interdependence. The Moroccan kingdom embraced the process of democratic elections in 2002. Throughout history, Morocco has been the host to countless cultures while the indigenous Moroccan Berbers themselves date back deep into prehistory yet still make up a not-insignificant part of the Moroccan population today.

The Atlas Mountains Trek In MoroccoMorocco atlas mountains

Ryder-Walker’s Atlas Mountains trek in Africa will take you from the exotic markets of Marrakech to the summit of Toubkal. You will also head to the desert port city of Essaouira. On our approach to the summit of Toubkal, we will stay in a mixture of 5-star hotels and well- provisioned alpine refuges. The trek includes a combination of Ryder-Walker in-house guides and local guides. These local guides are some of our favorite guides to work with in the world. They will join you to help make your trip to Morocco as safe and educational as possible.

When we do reach the summit of Toubkal, the stunning experience of standing on the highest peak in the entire region will take your breath away. The rugged mountains roll towards the desert below. Finally, our trip finishes with a peaceful evening on the Atlantic in Essaouira.  Essaouira is a historic Atlantic port. Essaouira used to be famous for its pirates. The cool waters of the ocean will reward you for a successful expedition.

Join us on this trek of a lifetime! Our Atlas Mountains trek in Morocco is one of Ryder-Walker’s most unique and colorful. Today Morocco is among the safest countries to travel to in Northern Africa. Morocco has delicious traditional dishes, welcoming locals, and a myriad of magical locations to be explored. Northern Africa is an adventuresome destination. Above all, the regions we visit and the people we work with are all legendary for kindness, consideration, and comfort.

About the author: Branford Walker
Since the age of three, Branford has either participated in the development of or been on almost every trip Ryder-Walker has to offer. He has worked as a guide for the last four years and is currently living in New York.
Branford Walker