The beautiful village of Imlil can be found nestled in the heart of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and the terrain that surrounds this peaceful village is a rich contrast from that of the country’s lowlands. Here, pink houses are spaced unevenly through the village with numerous trees – mostly walnut – interspersed around them.Everyone in Imlil loves the nature of their surroundings and all of them would be willing to take a walk with you into the mountains to show you their lovely land.
Situated 1740 meters above sea level, Imlil is a fairly new village in Morocco. It was created as a starting and stopping point for hikers who enter and exit Toubkal National Park.There are still small communities that surround Imlil – namely Tamatert, Ait Souka, Tagadirt, Acheim, Taourirt n’Ait Mizane, Mzikene, and Arhrene – and while the roads leading to and from these villages are unsurfaced, they are still in good condition for visitors to travel on. The rough terrain is what keeps these small wonders of Morocco safe from the ravages of over-commercialism where the residents still dress in the traditional style of the ancestors and live a simple but satisfying existence.
The area in which Imlil sits has always been known for its walnuts, apples, and cherries.The forests that surround the village have primarily been walnut groves, but as the area has grown, additional harvesting trees have been added.While walnut, apple, and cherry harvesting has been the small area’s primary economy through the years, the tourism trade has become the main source of income for Imlil and the small villages around it.Not only do foreign visitors come to the mountains, but so do other residents of Morocco who only want to escape the heat.
Imlil sits at the base of the highest peak in North Africa in Mount Toubkal National Park. As the last stop on the tarmac road, it is has become the heart of Moroccan mountain tourism as this is where many visitors pick up mules and guides to lead them up into the mountains.
The ski sport resort of Oukaimeden is accessible from Imlil as is Jeal Toubkal, the highest peak in the country and North Africa.The unusual lake Ifni – which is the only one in the High Atlas Mountains – is also accessible from Imlil. The lake was created by the terminal moraines of the mountain damming the outflow of water from a long gone glacier. Brave hikers will enjoy exploring the lake and maybe even venturing a swim in its cold waters.
Intrepid hikers will want to make Imlil their base of operation for summiting Jabal Toubakal. Hiking Morocco is best done between July to September while anyone interested in the winter skiing season will want to be in Imlil between March and April.The best places to gain the mule tracks and trails around the mountains are from Imlil and the nearby village of Asni. Some of the best treks in this beautiful landscape include: The short hike from Imlil up the mountain to the village of Aroumd. The half-day walk from Imlil to Asni.
Picturesque Scenery Around Imilil Morocco
Imlil to the picturesque village of Tachesddirt, an alternative to going to Toubkal or a very nice addition to that hike.
Imlil to the Kik Plateau, highly recommended for springtime hiking.The plateau has unique limestone formations and beautiful flowers.
Imlil to Lake Ifni which is actually on the other side of Toubkal Mountain.This is definitely a trip where camping should be considered as there is no accommodation here except at Amsouzert, which is an additional three hour hike from the lake.
Imlil to Sidi Chamarouch. This area barely qualifies as a village but it is located near a beautiful waterfall and it is the home to a small shrine. While the shrine is closed to non-Muslims, you won’t be kicked out of the country if you accidentally sneak a peak.
Hiking Practicalities And Morocco Imlil’s Accommodations
Imlil offers visitors the choice of staying in their one mid-class standard hotel, at one of the simpler hotels in the village, at the Kasbah with prior arrangements made from the Hotel Foucauls in Marrakech or renting out a room from one of the many residents of the village. If you wish to truly experience Moroccan hospitality, renting a room would be the way to go.
The standards are very basic when renting, but the economy of the village is helped.There are a few simple restaurants in Imlil that offers good food and there is a café in the village as well. Even the Kasbah has soft drinks for sale for visitors to the area. When staying in Imlil and partaking of their accommodations, all visitors should remember that the prices will be similar but perhaps less than bigger cities.
There are shops in Imlil where visitors can purchase anything from souvenirs such as handmade jewelry, headscarves and traditional clothing to renting hiking equipment to deal with the higher elevations of the mountain. Hikers can enjoy the climb any time of year and if they prefer not to carry food with them, most locals are willing to sell food or cook for the hikers at a fair price. Accommodations high in the mountains include hostels and refuge huts if they are needed. Warm clothing that breathes and is lightweight is recommended all year round as are good hiking and walking shoes and sunglasses.
Adventurous souls who love to hike and enjoy nature at its wildest will love the village of Imlil and the mountains that surround it on their trip to Morocco with our team. Small and accommodating, visitors here will experience the traditional way of Moroccan life and will be able to experience the challenges a bit of mountain climbing brings their way.
by Sam Mitchell