Atlas Mountains To Atlantic: Scottish Woman Completes Epic Morocco Trek

In what is considered a world first, a Scottish woman has completed an epic cross-Morocco trek with her Berber guide. The 186-mile hike took 12 days, with the pair walking up to 18 hours every day.

Alice Morrison became the first European to hike from Morocco’s highest point, through the Atlas Mountains and desert to the ocean, walking with only her guide, Rachid Ait Elmahjoub.

According to the Herald Scotland, the pair headed right off the normal tourist trail on their Morocco trek, crossing the snow clad mountain slopes, then heading through the desert to the Atlantic coast. Along the way they visited isolated Berber villages and valleys not often seen by tourists in the country.

Morrison and her guide carried all their own equipment and supplies on the Morocco trek and were self-sufficient. As they made their way through the North African country they had to constantly be aware to refill their water where they found it.

Morocco trek
Alice Morrison enjoying the hospitality of a Berber family on her travels.

For food, they relied on the friendly Berber villages and farms they passed through along their way. It is believed that this is the first time a route of this nature has been found through the Atlas mountains, traveling from the 13,000-foot Mount Toubkal, down to the desert and ending their Morocco trek at the seaside city of Agadir on the Atlantic coast.

Morrison said that, “Physically, it was an enormously tough challenge. We went from the snow to burning sun, and were always looking for places to replenish our water.”

“The ascents were lung-bursting but it was the descents over the rocks and ravines that really ravaged our legs and feet.”

Morrison, 52, said that it was after the second day that they left “tourist” Morocco behind. She said that in many places along their Morocco trek she was the first Western person to have passed through, surprising both the villagers and their children.

“I have never made so many babies cry in my life.”

Morrison originally hails from Edinburgh but now lives in Marrakesh. An intrepid traveler and adventurer, she thoroughly enjoyed their grueling journey. Of her previous adventures, she at one stage completed the Tour D’Afrique, the longest bike race in the world and also participated in the Marathon Des Sables, the most difficult and tough foot race through the Sahara.

The Morocco trek was organized and sponsored by Epic Morocco, an adventure travel company that organizes tailor-made trips and tours in the North African country. According to Charlie Shepherd, the company’s CEO, they “wanted to open up a potential new route in Morocco.”

He said that Morocco is one of the “most beautiful areas in Africa” but that no one had ever attempted such an epic Morocco trek before, adding that, “It is brilliant to get a British-Berber first.”

Morrison’s intrepid guide, Ait Elmahjoub said that his fellow mountain guides didn’t think they would be able to do it, but they did. He recounted how they just kept going and finally reached the ocean and that the people supported them all along the way.

“Everywhere we went, people shared their food and water and hospitality with us. This is how life works in the Atlas mountains.”

An Amazigh mountain guide, Ait Elmahjoub added, “I want to give a clear picture to visitors to Morocco of my country, my culture and my people. I am proud of them and I want to share them.”

Learn more about the Atlas Mountains in the video included below.

Readers, would you consider an epic Morocco trek of this kind in the future? Let us know in the comments section below.

[Images: Courtesy Epic Morocco]

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