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The Atlas are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, which is in central Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 meters (13,671 ft). The Atlas Mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' are adrar and adras in some Berber languages. These terms are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are also home to a number of animals and plants which are mostly found within Africa but some of which can be found in Europe. Many of these species are endangered and a few are already extinct. The most impressive range within the Atlas system is the High Atlas, which extends for some 560 kilometers (350 miles) through the center of Morocco and has an average elevation of around 3,050 meters (10,000 feet). Many High Atlas peaks are snow-clad for much of the year. Most of the populations around the Atlas are small villages, rather than cities. The most famous and numerous of the Atlas populations is the Berber People, a North African culture which traces its roots back thousands of years.
At 4,167m high, Mount Toubkal, also known as Jebel Toubkal, is North Africa's highest peak. Set in the High Atlas Mountain range in Morocco, this iconic mountain presents a challenging yet rewarding trek that is perfect for regular walkers with a reasonable level of fitness. With roughly 40% less oxygen than at sea level, the altitude of Mount Toubkal will undoubtedly make this hike harder. But your experienced local guide will ensure that you have plenty of food and set the pace of the walk at a sustainable rate to help you acclimatise, giving you the best chance of the reaching the summit. The Mount Toubkal ascent only takes two days, with most of the walking done on the first. Leg one of the trek takes around 5 hours during which we'll follow 11 kilometres of mule paths zigzagging up into the rocky valley towards towering snow-dusted peaks on the horizon. Our destination is the Neltner Refuge at 3,207m at the base of Toubkal where we'll enjoy a well-earned rest, gather around a wood-burning stove to share stories with other climbers from around the world and acclimatise to the altitude before setting off early the next morning towards the summit. Mount Toubkal requires no technical climbing and most people in good physical condition should be able to make the summit, if they are well prepared and respect the altitude of the peak. However, it is not an easy hike and there is always the risk of injuries and even fatalities on the climb.