ENDURANCE ADVENTURE: MOROCCO 2017 ITINERARY
DAY 1: Arrive in Marrakech, where we will pick you up from the airport and take you to a beautiful riad in the city center. Spend the afternoon experiencing the sensory overload of this ancient city: explore the maze-like medina, test your bargaining skills in the souks and check out the performers & snake charmers of the D’jemma el Fna. Wrap it up with a big welcome dinner and a good night of sleep - you’ve got a big week ahead. No running
DAY 2: After breakfast we’ll hit the road, heading out of the city and towards the towering High Atlas mountains. Soon we’ll begin the first run, which follows a dirt road that connects Berber mountain villages; take in dramatic views and get a firsthand look at village life as you pass through. Finish with a picnic lunch and a drive to Ait ben Haddou, home of a UNESCO World Heritage Site kasbah that has served as a set for many films. Climb up to the watchtower for sunset then enjoy a big dinner at a family-run guesthouse. 30km, dirt road
DAY 3: Pack up and continue south through the Rose Valley and into a beautiful canyon whose bright green gardens contrast sharply with the barren rock formations above. The run begins in a small village and takes us though a surreal, other-wordly landscape where you’ll glimpse caves that many Berber nomads still call home. Eventually we’ll drop into the cool, lush Dades Valley for stunning views and a final climb to our guesthouse, where big views and a big meal await. 20km, 4x4 track with last 5K on pavement
DAY 4: Beginning at a dramatic mountain pass, the run takes us along a gorgeous singletrack trail towards the Zat Valley. Pass through small villages that are only accessible on foot, and cover everything from rocky ridgeline and pristine meadows to canyon descents and river crossings. After a hard final climb, meet our crew in a tiny village that will be home for the night. Gear will be brought by mule, dinner will be served by our chef and everyone will be able to gather and relax inside the gite (a basic but cozy travelers shelter) before heading right outside to sleep under the stars in tents. 30km, single track trail & 4x4 track
DAY 5: Wake up to a stunning view outside your tent, then set out for a magical run into the Ourika Valley. Get ready for idyllic meadows filled with sheep, waterfalls, dramatic mountain views and no other people save for a few shepherds. At the finish you’ll find a village, a river, a rather wobbly bridge and our transport. We then transfer to Imlil, a beautiful mountain town full of apple orchards and sparkling rivers that serves as a base for many High Atlas trekkers. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon and evening spent at a gorgeous riad with huge views of the surrounding peaks. 21km, single track trail
DAY 6: Wake up in Imlil for our final run, packed with sweeping views of rivers, orchards, towering peaks and terraced farmland. Once complete, the rest of the day is free for relaxing, icing the legs in the river or browsing the village shops. The days ends with our final dinner and awards for those who have completed everything that we’ve put in front of them. 30km, trail & 4x4 track
DAY 7: After breakfast, pack up and head to Marrakech to catch flights home, or begin your ascent of Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4167m
TOUBKAL SUMMIT ADD-ON (OPTIONAL)
DAY 7: Run or hike from Imlil to the mountain refuge where you will sleep for the night. You gear will be transported by mule and lunch & dinner will be waiting. 12km, singletrack trail
DAY 8: Wake up around 3:30 for a light breakfast, then begin the summit hike through rock and snow fields with an experienced local mountain guide. After a sunrise summit, begin your descent back to Imlil. Stop at the refuge for a snack and rest, then continue hiking or running all the way back the riad in Imlil for a meal and a well-deserved nap. 18km. Summit is at 4167m; no technical climbing required but some experience with technical footing at altitude is needed.
DAY 9: Breakfast then transfer to Marrakech for flights home.
WHAT TO BRING
- Passport: With at least six months validity (no visas are needed for US travelers)
- Running shoes: The terrain is quite varied and we suggest bringing both trail and road shoes. If you prefer to bring just one pair, trail shoes will be the most useful.
- Trail Running Shoes: Essential!
- Warm jacket: For cold nights in the mountains
- Hat/gloves: For Mt. Jebel Toubkal (if doing the add/on climb)
- Rain jacket: That you can run in if needed
- Shirts with Sleeves: Remember that tank tops/singlets are frowned upon for both men & women.
- Shorts for running, pants or long skirts for the rest of the time: Women may prefer capris or pants when running through small villages.
- Running hat & sunglasses: Alternatively, pick up a scarf when you arrive and shield yourself from the sun as the locals do: with a turban.
- Day bag: Your luggage will be on top of the vehicles while traveling, so bring something you can keep with you for a camera, money, extra layers, etc during the day.
- Camera: Something you can run with (like your phone or a small point/shoot) is best.
- Hydration pack (required) & handheld bottle (optional). Most days will have vehicle support for bottle refills, but hydration packs will be needed for the mountain runs. Please make sure it has enough storage for extra layers and snacks.
- Headlamp: With extra batteries
- Electrical Adapter: Morocco uses the European-style two round prongs.
- Wet wipes: These always come in handy.
- Dramamine: For those who get motion sickness as there are several winding mountain drives.
- Nutrition Products: Anything that you require (gels, chews, bars). Local snacks (dates, figs, nuts, fruit, etc) will be provided.
NOTE: Packing light is strongly encouraged! Durable luggage (backpacks, duffles) is best; remember that it will be strapped on top of vehicles and traveling over sometimes dusty roads. Many people prefer to bring an extra empty bag to take Marrakech market finds back home.