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The High Atlas Mountains of Morocco as "the most fabulous mountains in all of Africa." This was nearly 2,000 years before modern-day explorers would stumble upon Kilimanjaro and the Ruwenzori, but no matter: The Atlas were—and still are—the most fabulous mountains in northern Africa, a swath of rocky peaks arcing 1,200 miles from the Mediterranean southwest to the Atlantic that offer trekkers a beguiling combination of craggy alpine terrain and 3,000-year-old Berber culture. In addition to summiting 13,665-foot Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in northern Africa, you'll pass through walnut groves and terraced barley fields and scramble across exposed scree fields—overnighting in flat-roofed Berber homes, well-maintained mountain huts, and tent sites.
The Route: You'll drive 25 miles from Marrakech to Ansi and then catch a ride with a taxi or truck down the rough dirt road to Imlil, a farm town along the Mizane River that has become the staging ground for most High Atlas treks. This spectacular ten-day loop yo-yos between 6,000-foot valleys and 10,000-foot passes, starting with a climb east out of the Mizane Valley and down to the Imanane River, and then up again to Oukaïmeden, a winter ski resort that is virtually abandoned in the summertime. You'll climb to Ifni Lake, one of only a few lakes in the High Atlas, and then prepare for your final challenge: an ascent of Jebel Toubkal; though snow-covered for much of the year, the peak is merely a long, grueling scree slog in summer.