Kasbah du Toubkal

Imlil, High Atlas, Morocco Book from

A sustainably run hilltop kasbah, set majestically amid north Africa’s highest mountains, offering supported treks
Question: how is it possible to take off from a London airport and within 6 hours be looking out at a mountain landscape of Tibetan grandeur and isolation? Answer: go to Morocco. More precisely, go to the unique hilltop kasbah-fort set at the base of Mt. Toubkal in the high Atlas, an epic journey that takes in plane, bus, taxi and a short walk. It may take just half a day but it will transport you to a different world.

Sitting on the carpeted rooftop terrace in your loaned leather ‘babouches’ (slippers) and hooded woollen ‘djelaba’ (cloak), nodding wordlessly at the smiling Berber men who bring mint tea and freshly-picked nuts, staring up at snow-dusted peaks and down on stone-coloured villages, a wave of emotions inevitably washes over you: excitement at the discoveries ahead, tranquil disconnection from the stress behind, and awe at the majesty of it all. It may not be Tibet, but, as Martin Scorsese discovered when he filmed part of his movie Kundun here, it comes pretty close.


  • A magnificent setting on a remote hilltop amongst north Africa’s highest mountains; from the panoramic roof terrace you look down on 3 valleys fringed with green orchards and earth-coloured hamlets
  • An ideal base for hikes of all levels in the High Atlas, from a gentle 6-day package to the 2-day ascent of Toubkal itself
  • We applaud the cultural sensitivity with which it's run - it employs locals, funds the Village Association and has won a Green Globe for sustainable tourism
  • It offers a huge variety of accommodation options, from budget dorms and ensuite rooms to a self-contained house for 6, perfect for a family
  • Hikers have exclusive access to their Azzaden Trekking Lodge, reached by a half- or full day's hike from the kasbah - the comfiest mountain refuge imaginable, with excellent beds and ensuite bathrooms


  • You have to walk the last 15 minutes (or get on a mule), but hopefully this will attract rather than deter you
  • Be aware that the Dar Imlil rooms are situated in the village of Imlil, 15 minutes below the main kasbah
  • The kasbah's dormitory accommodation is basic and headroom very limited on the mezzanine, but it's a good budget option
  • Prices are distinctly European (compared with other local spots) but you do get some of the best rooftop views in north Africa, and a percentage of profits goes to local projects
  • It's not licensed, so if you need a post-trek beer, you'll need to bring it with you from Marrakech

Best time to go

Each season has its merits. January to early March sees occasional snowfall and ski touring parties. In April, the scenery is at its lushest, but the higher slopes will still have snow, and can be chilly. May-September are prime months for trekking, and in July-August it is a great way to escape the infernal heat of Marrakech. October can be busy with half-term schoolgroups. November to early December are colder, often dry and a good option if you don't mind the shorter days.

Our top tips

  • Bring as little as possible - the kasbah is a 15-minute walk from Imlil, though your luggage will be brought up by mule. Slippers are provided for indoor use, and you can hire some hiking equipment if necessary (sleeping bag, trekking poles and - for winter climbs - ice axe and crampons).
  • For all treks you will of course need your own worn-in walking boots, good waterproofs, warm hat and gloves (even in summer), sunglasses, sunscreen, sun hat, water bottle and a head torch for the refuges.
  • Bring cash for tipping guides (the nearest bank is a 30 minute drive away in Asni), and maybe a bottle of something for a post-trek celebration (the kasbah is unlicensed and you won’t find any in Imlil)
  • Great for...

    Great Outdoors
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Mountain Hotel
    • 17 rooms (kasbah) + 11 rooms (Dar Imlil)
    • Restaurant and most treks include meals
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Steam Room
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    • Mountain guides


    The Kasbah offers a vast range of accommodation options, from simple Berber Salons (split-level dorms for 3-12) to private guestrooms with hot showers and spectacular little balconies. In between the two, price-wise, are the rooms at Dar Imlil, a convenient and comfy guesthouse down in Imlil village.

    Given the choice, we'd go for a private guestroom - even the Standard Rooms are lovely, and 2 of them are tucked away in the rooftop towers. No effort has been spared to make your stay more comfortable - within the parameters of sustainability and loyalty to Berber tradition, of course. Hot showers come from a local spring heated by gas bottles brought up on muleback. Games and books have kindly been lugged up here so that you don’t have to bring them. Warm sheets and blankets cover the beds, which can be arranged as doubles or twins. The one distinctly foreign touch is a kettle with sachets of Nescafe and tea, in case you need a break from the addictive mint brew.

    The more expensive Superior and Deluxe Rooms are larger and even more luxurious. Superiors benefit from a private balcony or small outside area, while the Deluxe Rooms feature French windows that lead out onto a private balcony with wonderful views. Ensuite bathrooms come with a hand-sculpted bath (and/or shower). One of the Deluxe Rooms and one of the Superior Rooms - facing south, towards the summit of Toubkal - can interconnect.

    To the side of the Kasbah, and slightly lower, is the stunning Garden House, which is cleverly designed so that it can be rented as a whole (3 bedrooms) or divided into an Apartment Suite (with kitchen), Junior Suite or Superior Room, all by locking off certain rooms. Its large lounge comes with an open fireplace and picture windows leading onto a terrace overlooking the valley, while its kitchen boasts a fridge, washing machine and a microwave (it is normally booked on a B&B basis).

    Large groups and those on a tighter budget should book a Small or Large Berber Salon (dorms for 3-7 or 4-12) in Kasbah Toubkal. Each has a downstairs seating area with couches which can be slept on at night, as well as an upstairs sleeping gallery with very limited headroom. Bathrooms are shared.

    In Imlil village, 15 minutes' walk below Kasbah Toubkal, you'll find Dar Imlil - a simpler house with 10 bedrooms, indoor seating areas, and a large terrace overlooking the village. Manager Abdou is the brother of Hajj Maurice (who manages the main kasbah), so service is of a similar standard, and rooms are almost identical in size and spec - though lacking those elevated views, of course. Staff are on hand to cook your meals, offer mint tea and snacks when you return from your trek.

    If you book an overnight trek through the kasbah, accommodation is either in simple mountain refuges (on the Toubkal ascent), or in the Kasbah Toubkal-owned Azzaden Trekking Lodge (on the 6-day trekking package). This comfy refuge, situated 4-7 hours above the kasbah (depending which route you choose), is a great option for those who want to get deep into the mountains but don't like the idea of roughing it. It has 4 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and heated floors; and a lounge, terrace, hammam and good food. It is staffed by the guide and muleteer who accompany you.

    Features include:

    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Extra beds
    • Ipod dock
    • Radio
    • Terrace
    • WiFi


    In the Kasbah's cosy dining room, take your place at a low candle-lit table for those Berber rituals which make dining a pleasure. It's great fun (and it's tasty), but don’t expect haute cuisine. First off, rose water is poured from an elegant silver kettle onto your hands and rinsed into an equally ornate bowl. Next, round breads arrive in a vast pyramidal basket, followed by a simple flour-based harira soup eaten with a wooden spoon. The main course is usually a tagine or couscous served on a central dish - less spicy than elsewhere, perhaps to cater for western palates. After a simple dessert, the rituals close with mint tea poured from a particularly impressive height, said to settle your stomach before bed. If you’re staying for more than few nights, the menu may begin to tire, and vegetarians have limited options.

    Breakfast, available early for keen hikers, is an array of local breads, dried fruit, jam, eggs and nuts. In good weather, breakfast and lunch are served outside on the stunning roof terraces - though by dinner time it's usually too chilly up at this altitude.

 There's also a smaller dining room and a pretty terrace at Dar Imlil, as well as a few eateries in the town.

    Out of respect for Muslim traditions, the Kasbah is not licensed for alcoholic drinks so, if you fancy a tipple after your exertions, you are welcome to bring some wine or beer with you from Marrakech.

    Features include:

    • Breakfast
    • Children meals
    • Coffee tea making
    • Communal dining
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Vegetarian menu


  • Day hikes include walks to the villages and walnut groves of Targa Imoula and Mzig (both about an hour away), or the 2,200m col of Tizi 'n Tamatert southeast of the Kasbah, offering stunning views into 2 valleys (4 hours). The footpaths are well made, though the terrain is mostly stony
  • Overnight treks will need to be prebooked and the rates includes guide, mule porterage, overnight accommodation, meals and drinks. You’ll be supported by local guides and mules to carry your luggage, staying in Berber homes, mountain huts (Toubkal ascent) or in the Kasbah's very comfy trekking lodge in the Azzaden valley. Choose from the Flexible 6-day trekking package or the 2-day ascent of Toubkal
  • Camel excursions are available around the villages of Amizmiz and Tahanout, about 1 hour's drive away. You can go for a day excursion, or spend a night in a Berber village or under canvas, before returning to the kasbah or to Marrakech
  • Mountain-ski tours are offered from January to March, snowfall permitting. Book these in advance, using the ‘special requests’ space on our reservation form

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Private guided tours
    • Skiing
    • Traditional cultures
    • Trekking
    • Wildlife
  • Kids

    Children of all ages are welcome and under 5s are free. Children under 15 pay the full B&B rate, unless staying in an extra bed, but are given a 50% discount on meals and trekking. There are often school groups staying in the dormitories, so there may well be plenty of playmates around. Families have undertaken several of the easier day treks from the kasbah, generally children love exploring the mountains in the company of a mule!

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    We'd recommend the self-contained Garden House (sleeping 6) or Dar Imlil, a house with 10 rooms nearby. Older children, particularly teenagers, are welcome to share rooms, and a Kasbah Toubkal Deluxe Room and Superior Room can interconnect. An Apartment Suite or Junior Suite would also be also perfect for families or friends (sleeping up to 6) and the Remote Trekking Lodge sleeps up to 8.

    Children's meals:

    There are no specific children's meals, but the simple tagine and couscous dinners will suit all, and the traditional food rituals will enchant older kids. Children under 15 get 50% off meals.

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Games and books
    • Mules

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Trekking - to the south-east the village of Targa Imoula (45 minutes) or to Mzig village to the west which has wonderful views (approx 1 hour)
    • Camel trips
    • Horse riding
    • Gentle 6-day trekking package perfect for families who like a little bit of adventure
    • Interacting with numerous local Berber Villages - villagers have a natural affinity with children
    • Terres d'Amanar is an eco-adventure playground in the Toubkal National Park (zip wires, climbing, riding, trekking, archery, crafts workshops, donkeys, and swimming pools)


    • Airport: 1.5 hours (Marrakech)
    • Hospital: 1.5 hours (Marrakech)
    Kid Friendly:

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