Jebel Mgoun – experience remote mountain trekking

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Jebel Mgoun, or Amsoud (its Berber name meaning ‘windy’ peak), is Morocco’s third highest peak and the only 4000m summit outside of the Jebel Toubkal region. I have already completed it, via the straightforward 4 day circuit, from the North, starting and finishing in Ait Bougmez.

This time, however, we wanted to try a different approach, from the south-side, and experience far more remote walking country – I wasn’t disappointed. How fortunate I was to not meet any other trekkers and to have the summit to myself (the same could never be said about Toubkal). The only other people my guides and I met on summit day were the semi-nomadic Ait Atta families, currently migrating back South to the Jebel Sahro region, having spent the summer months with their animals at high pasture (we met them circa 3000m at various azibs, stone shelters).

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My trek comprised just 3 days with a tough but rewarding summit day involving 1500m of ascent, with descent the same way. This time we used gite (mountain home) accommodation but it is possible to camp and, with a first night at a camp of 3000m, the summit day can be shortened a little. We approached from the town of Kelaa Mgouna, overnight in the Mgoun Valley at Bou Taghrar, then from there followed the course of the Mgoun Valley over the next 3 days.

The off-piste drive on our first morning to our trek start point really set the scene for us – via the gorges to the north of Amajgag, along the course of the river bed itself (this route is impassable after the snow-melt once the river waters swell), a spectacular drive in the canyon and altogether a more remarkable sight than even the Dades or Todra gorges due to its remote & unexpected location.

Once on foot, just beyond Imeskar, I’m reminded of the valley of Ait Bougmez, on a small scale, as we walk through lush fields and orchards (figs, walnuts, almonds, apples), against a backdrop of pink & orange rock walls. The mule track we follow on the first day peters out and, on summit day, we initially follow tracks left by shepherds until there is no true path at all, just the direction of the guides as we navigate the scrub and then the vast scree slopes.

As we gain height, the views of the rest of the Mgoun Massif, with several points above 4000m, are spectacular. After a ‘quick’ 5hrs we reach 4068m with great visibility & a real sense of achievement – the approach south-side will certainly appeal to those wanting to get into wild country and off the beaten path.

Whilst we only had time for 3 days this week, Jebel Mgoun is easily combined with a longer itinerary – not only elsewhere in the Atlas Mountains, but even with the Sahara Desert. Please contact us for further details.

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