About the trip
At the heart of the High Atlas sits Jebel Toubkal, at 4167m (13,750 ft), North Africa's highest mountain, from which high ridges radiate toward the dry plains, nestling irrigated oasis-valleys with their mud-brick semi-fortified traditional Berber villages, fine examples being the superb valleys around Amsouzert to the south of the high range, which also provides excellent walking. Walk up the beautiful valley toward the famous Lac d'Ifni. Ancient Berber hamlets sit timelessly among little terraces and walnut trees which give way abruptly, where the irrigation stops, to stark, barren hillsides. The top of the valley is blocked by a vast wall of black lava blocks, which bring the fertile orchards to an abrupt halt and are clearly the end of a not-so-ancient flow. Across an area of vast cracked boulders is the first, unforgettable view of the dark turquoise waters of the Lac d'Ifni, trapped far below between the cliffs of the valley side and the lava dump.