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Call us: +44 (0) 1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive bookings)
  • Single, timed, group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • All sightseeing where specified
  • Comfortable riad accommodation in central...

Happy Valley & the M'goun Gorges Trek

Walking & Trekking

Marrakesh, Morocco | Walking & Trekking

Happy Valley & the M'goun Gorges Trek New
  • Grade:
    • ?
      Moderate / Vigorous

      Moderate: Suitable for anyone who enjoys hill walking.

      Vigorous: Suitable for enthusiastic hill/mountain walkers.

      Find out more...

    Moderate / Vigorous

  • Duration: 10 days from the UK
  • Private Departures Available

Flight inclusive from £1470, Land only from £995

Morocco's best-kept secret - the beautiful Bougamez Valley and the spectacular M'goun Gorges brought together in one exhilarating trek in the remote heart of the high Atlas.

Highlights

  • Explore a little known part of the High Atlas where you are unlikely to see many other trekking groups
  • Discover the magical Bougamez Valley – known as the Happy Valley and considered one Morocco's best-kept secrets
  • Walk and wade through the spectacular M’goun Gorges, carved into the mountains of the High Atlas
  • Meet nomadic shepherds with their herds of sheep and goats
  • Trek with experienced and fully qualified Berber guides
  • Enjoy comfortable camping with good quality tents, chairs and dining table, tasty locally sourced food
  • Stay in a centrally located riad hotel in Marrakesh

Reviews

I loved the contrast of trekking in the high mountains followed by the ultimate relaxation of walking down the spectacular and ever changing river gorge. Once you got used to the idea of walking through the river, it was pure enjoyment. It was fascinating being passed by villagers with their mules and donkeys and realising that for them, the river was a road!

Seraphina Berry, Mountain Kingdoms' Reservations Manager

Next

On this exciting trip you will venture deep into a remote area in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains, trekking beneath the peak of Jebel M’goun, the third highest mountain in Morocco. This is a trek of amazing variety and contrasts, featuring an enchanting walk through a broad, fertile valley, high level trekking over a 3,400m pass, and exciting gorge walking beneath towering cliff faces, often wading through rivers.

It begins at Aϊt Bougamez, also known as Vallée Heureuse or the Happy Valley. This aptly named fertile stretch is wonderfully picturesque with a patchwork of lush, cultivated fields and orchards set beneath soaring peaks with traditional mud-brick villages dotting the lower slopes and valley floor. Climbing high out of the valley, the scenery becomes ever more stark and dramatic with only nomadic herders for company. The Tizi n Bouzou Pass at 3,400m is the high point of the trek after which it’s downhill all the way into the truly spectacular Gorges of M’goun. Trekking through the gorges is an exhilarating and fun experience. In places they narrow to just a few metres wide and you will need to wade the river between tremendous beetling cliffs.

On your trek you will be accompanied by a local Berber guide, a cook and muleteers who look after the mules who carry the camp equipment and your kit bags. Typically, you can expect to be trekking for 5-7 hours each day and on some days you need to wade the rivers at the bottom of the gorges, with water possibly reaching up to or even above your knees. This is a breath taking trek in every sense, offering stunning scenery and dramatic gorges, plus the fun of numerous river crossings in an area which, in contrast to Jebel Toubkal, sees relatively few visitors. You will also have plenty of time to explore the fascinating Berber villages you pass through and to meet the friendly local people.

The drive back to Marrakesh passes through the Valley of Roses – carpeted with glorious pink roses in the spring – and then the vivid greens of the palmeries of Skoura. You stop at the town of Ouarzazate, known as ‘the gateway to the desert’ and visit two of Morocco’s fascinating kasbahs, Kasbah including Aϊt Benhaddou, a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. Finally you return to Marrakesh with time for some exploration of this most enthralling of Arabian cities

Private Departures

Kirsty and Adam on Kala Pattar close up 800x750

Happy Valley & the M'goun Gorges Trek - Private Departures

If you would prefer to travel just with your partner, friends or family, we can arrange a private departure of this holiday. You follow the same itinerary, but travel on dates that suit you. Alternatively we can include elements of this holiday in a bespoke Tailor Made itinerary. Contact our friendly team for details and prices, and to make a booking.


At a glance

Grade:

Moderate / Vigorous

Duration: 10 days from the UK

Max. Altitude: 3,400m/11,155ft, Tizi n Bouzou, Day 5

Private Departures Available

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Marrakesh

Accommodation types: Riad, Gite, Camping

Meal arrangements: Bed and breakfast in Marrakesh, full board whilst on trek. 9 x breakfasts, 7 x lunches, 8 x dinners

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1 Fly to Marrakesh. Transfer to a central riad.
2 Drive to the Bougamez Valley (happy Valley). Short walk.
3-5 Trek through the Happy Valley crossing the Tizi n Bouzou pass.
6 Descend to near the M’goun Gorges.
7-8 Trek through the gorges. End trek at Boutraghar.
9 Drive back to Marrakesh via the Valley of the Roses, Ouarrzazate and Ait Benhaddou.
10 At leisure. Transfer to airport. Fly to UK.
Leader: Local leader, Morocco

The trip will be led by a qualified Berber guide who is ideally placed to give you an insight into and information about their country, especially as much of this tour runs through the Berber, or Tachelhit speaking parts of Morocco. The Moroccan government closely controls the appointment of both mountain and town guides. Your guide will have completed a year of training at the Centre for Mountain Guides in Tabant in the Central High Atlas. During their training, guides complete courses in First aid, Geography, History and the Natural science of Morocco as well as testing their fitness.

Our Moroccan leaders are selected on the basis of their experience, levels of spoken English and helpfulness. Like the Berber culture from which they come they are all very welcoming and have a love of showing you their country.

Local leader, Morocco

Holiday Itinerary

Download a detailed itinerary
Day 1 - Fly London to Marrakesh - Mgoun Gorges Trek

You will depart London on the flight to Marrakesh. On arrival in Marrakesh you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Marrakesh airport is only 7km from the old city centre and it's therefore just a short transfer to your hotel. Dinner tonight is included.

Overnight icon Overnight: Riad Palais De Princesses Or Similar, Marrakesh

Day 2 - Drive to Ait Bougamez, approximately 1,900m - 5 hours. Walk to see dinosaur tracks at Aguerd N Ouzrou and the Igrane of Sidi Moussa - 1 hour walk.

Today's drive takes you to Ait Bougamez - the Happy Valley - in the heart of the High Atlas. Your route takes you through scenic foothills via Demnate and there will be a short stop not far from Demnate to view the Imi n Ifri Cave. This is a beautiful, photogenic formation of limestone and dolomite and is best viewed from the bridge where the road crosses. A few miles further on the road enters the mountains proper and passes through picturesque vineyards. Eventually you descend through beautiful scenery - you should have views of M'goun, Morocco's third highest mountain - to Ait Bougamez.

Your journey finishes at the the tiny village of Imelghas at the end of the valley. Your altitude here is about 1,900 metres.You will firstly check in to your gite accommodation and have a little time to relax before heading out to nearby Aguerd N Ouzrou for a short walk. Your guide will take you to see some faint dinosaur tracks believed to be 180 million years old. You will then climb a hill to see the fortified hilltop granary of Sidi Moussa, also used as a shrine it is the sacred focal point of the valley. The walk to the top is steep but the panoramic views of the entire Bougamez Valley from the top make it well worth the effort. You then return to your accommodation.

Overnight icon Overnight: Gite Dar Itrane Or Similar, Imelghas

Day 3 - Trek to Lac Izourar, 2,526m - 6 hours, 15-17km, 750m ascent.

After your long drive yesterday, today is a delightful day of trekking in the Happy Valley. You follow small paths through orchards and cultivated fields, fording irrigation ditches and contouring along the side of the valley. You reach more barren, mountainous terrain before heading up the valley to the vilage of Zaouiate Oualmzi where you stop for lunch. After a relaxing break you trek onwards climbing ever higher across small gorges where you may well see nomadic shepherds tending their herds of goats and sheep. Finally you reach Lac Izourar, a seasonal lake that becomes populated by the nomads of the region in the summer months. It is in a beautiful location, surrounded by high mountains with peaks soaring up to 3,700m. Here you will stop and camp for the night.

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 4 - Trek to Addrar N’Ouchane, 3,230m - 6-7 hours, 13km, approximately 750 m ascent.

For much of today your path climbs slowly and steadily, insterspersed with some stretches of downhill, along small tracks with shrubs and rocky terrain underfoot.

Today will give you a real insight into the life of the local nomadic people in the high pastures. Their large herds are mainly sheep or goats although sometimes they even have camels. The livestock are moved between grazing grounds in a seasonal cycle, moving between high pastures in the summertime to lower level feeding in the winter. The nomads sleep in tents made from camel wool.

Your campsite tonight is around 200 metres below the Ouchane Pass.

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 5 - Trek to Aguerd N’Iskaoun, 2,480m, across the Tizi n'Bouzou pass, 3,454m - 5-6hours, 8-9km, 400m ascent,

It's a beautiful walk today through splendid mountain scenery often frequented by Ait Atta nomads. You start with a bit of a haul up to the Ouchane pass, 3,452m, followed by a descent to the Jebel Illitou Plateau. After crossing the plateau you climb again, but only for around 100 metres to reach the Tizi n'Bouzou pass. The views reward your effort as you reach the highest point of your trek and you will stop for a well-earned lunch break once you are across. After this it's downhill most of the way into camp!

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 6 - Trek to the village of Imi N'Irkt, 1,780m, in the M'goun Gorges - 5 hours, approximately 8km, mainly descent of around 700m.

It will be a relief to know that today is mostly gradual descent. As you are now on the southern side of the Atlas Mountains you will find it warmer with more exposure to the sunshine. Trekking downhill you enter the valley of Ouzirimte, passing the small villages of Tichki and Igherm Izdarn. As you descend the valley becomes more and more narrow and the stream fills the gorge. You are now in the M'goun Gorges and will camp tonight near the village of Imi N'Irkt.

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 7 - Trek through the Gorge of Achaabou to the village of Tirnimine, 1,700m - approximately 5 hours, 13-14km, slight descent

Trekking sandals are essential for the next few days as you trek through the winding M'goun Gorges. The water in the gorges sometimes reaches knee level so you will be wading as much as walking!

Today you trek through the Achaabou Gorge which narrows to just a few metres wide with colourful sandstone and limestone walls towering impressively above you for hundreds of feet. Today you will make up to 70 river crossings so you'll need to keep your sandals on all day. After an exciting day you arrive at the village of Tirnimine where you camp for the night. The time it will take to complete the walk today will depend on the level of the water in the gorge.

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 8 - Trek to Boutraghar through the gorges of Issoumer, 1,630m - 7 hours, approximately 15km, mainly descent.

From Tiranimine you follow the M'goun River through small gorges to reach the village of Aguerzka and then continue through the gorges of Issoumer. Again there are a great number of river crossings today. Your route varies between gorge walking beneath high cliff walls and crossing through more open areas of flattish land where it is possible for villagers to grow apple trees and date palms. For the last couple of hours you will follow the river course, past dry mountainsides and down to the greener fields and palms of Boutraghar. Here you will camp for the final time and perhaps celebrate the end of a successful trek with your guide and crew.

Overnight icon Overnight: Camp

Day 9 - Drive through the Valley of the Roses to Ouarzazate, visit Ait Benhaddou. Drive to Marrakesh via Tizi n'Tichka, 2,260m - 7 hours total driving

Saying a sad farewell to your trekking team you begin your drive back to Marrakesh. You travel through the Valley of the Roses famous for its fields of pink roses seen in all their glory in May. Further on at Skoura you will see the immense lush palm groves of this fertile region and visit nearby Kasbah Amherdhil - hidden away in palm fields. This ancient kasbah, now a living museum, showcases traditional kasbah life over the centuries and was once home to a powerful landowner as well as featuring on the old 50 Dirham note. You continue to the town of Ouarzazate, centre of the lively Moroccan film industry, and visit the historic kasbah at Ait Benhaddou. One of the best preserved kasbahs in Morocco it is a striking example of the traditional architecture of southern Morocco with mudbrick houses crowded together within its high, defensive walls. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and familiar from many films including Gladiator.

The final leg of your journey takes you across the Tizi 'Tichka pass at 2,260m, before descending back to Marrakesh.

Overnight icon Overnight: Riad Palais De Princesses Or Similar, Marrakesh

Day 10 - At leisure in Marrakesh till group transfer to the airport for flight home.

Depending on your flight time, you may have time to for a little exploration of Marrakesh. You could visit the Jardins Majorelle, the celebrated gardens of Yves St Lauren or visit Marrakesh's famous souk, where medieval-style backstreets and alleyways will transport you to a different age. Here traders offer a wealth of goods such as wood carvings, metalwork, clothing, carpets and spices, aimed at locals as well as tourists. This is a good place for souvenir and gift shopping, although if you have not already practised some haggling you might visit one of the city's 'fixed price' shops first to get a rough idea as to the prices you should expect to pay.

The transfer time to Marrakesh airport is between 20 and 30 minutes depending on traffic, but you will be transferred from your Riad in good time to check-in for your flight to London.


2022

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Fri 7 Oct - Sun 16 Oct 2022 Available £995 Book £1495 Book

2023

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Fri 19 May - Sun 28 May 2023 Available £1050 Book £1470 Book
Fri 6 Oct - Sun 15 Oct 2023 Available £1050 Book Contact Us

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Optional supplements
  • Single Room Supplement
    From £130
  • Single Room & Tent Supplement
    From £130
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £66
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

Booking your holiday
  • Deposit
    From £400

For the majority of our holidays, a deposit payment of £400.00 per person is required to secure your place(s), however a small number of holidays require a higher deposit - please refer to the holiday itinerary for more details. If the holiday departs within 60 days, a deposit of £1,000.00 per person is required.

Book now!
  1. Book your small group holiday securely online – click the ‘Book’ button next to your chosen departure or visit our How to Book page
  2. Complete and return a Booking Form available to download here.
  3. Call us on +44 (0)1453 844400 and one of our travel specialists will talk you through the booking process.

What’s included

  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive bookings)
  • Single, timed, group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • All sightseeing where specified
  • Comfortable riad accommodation in central Marrakesh, on a twin share B&B basis
  • 1 night gite accommodation on a twin share B&B basis
  • A local English-speaking leader/guide
  • All camping facilities and all meals on trek
  • Camp staff to carry out all camp work
  • 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Carbon offsetting with the Ecoan Tree Planting Project (for clients taking our flight inclusive option)
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Kit bag
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre trek meets in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees where applicable
  • Lunch and evening meals in Marrakesh
  • Optional trips
  • Airport departure taxes (if applicable), excepting UK Departure Tax
  • Tips



Extend your holiday

Essaouira extension

Essaouira extension
  • After your trek relax in the coastal town, Essaouira
  • Stroll along the ramparts and beach
  • Explore the whitewashed medina, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
More Details

For a complete change of scene from the frenetic activity of Marrakesh, or after a tough mountain trek, the coastal town of Essaouia is a delightful place to relax. Its whitewashed buildings and city walls add to its calm ambience and a stroll along the ramparts or beach at sundown is an excellent way to unwind. Contact us for more details: 01453 844400 or info@mountainkingdoms.com

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