Whenever Morocco is mentioned, everyone usually alludes to its hot weather, sunlight, warm African breeze, Savannah, and of course, to the desert. However, we need to start branching out and discover a place that usually escapes the knowledge of the average tourist. A one-hour drive from the capital Rabat will take you to a natural paradise that surpasses all expectations- Ourika Valley and Ouzoud Falls. You can discover the beauty here on our Excursion to the Ourika Valley.
These red lands are also places of distinct contrast, something that becomes clear when following the Ourika river up to the incredible Ourika Valley.
A road trip is also very enticing in these parts, as shops of artisanal wood carvings, ornate carpets and argan oil decorate the paths. Upon arrival in the Ourika area, visitors are met with a plethora of touristic attractions, including:
This picturesque village is the final stop for any car journeys and is the central touristic hub of the Ourika Valley. Being the only town in the valley, it is easy to forget that civilisation lies only a few kilometres away, as the vacant surrounding makes it seem as though it is in the middle of nowhere.
The Ourika waterfalls
These famous waterfalls amount to seven in total, with the first being the most well-known and accessible, offering a great spot for taking photos. In fact, it is said to be the most accessible because, for many, it is the only one you can realistically access. It is always better off knowing how difficult the Valley is to navigate before embarking on what will be a great adventure. Physical fitness, a guide, and the obligatory mountain boots are all a must when tackling the other six waterfalls.
The great altitudes found in this mountain range make for a tough climb. Some of the slopes are so steep that locals have implemented stairs to aid visitors in their ascent. Another thing to do in the area involves eating traditional food whilst taking in the scenery, including the principal river and the High Atlas Mountains. There are various restaurants and cafes with sofas and tables situated on the river bank offering incredible views.
You will also have the chance to locals on your journey who are always happy to show you a typical Berber house, the original inhabitants of the High Atlas, hopefully accompanied by a traditional mint-tea and home-made bread. Yummy!
Then it’ll be time to head back down the moutains. It seems like the easiest bit, but there are parts of the terrain that tend to be slippery, so tread carefully.
Once back down by the departure point, you will be shocked when you look back up the summit. You just won’t believe you’ve actually been up there and climbed the whole thing!
A special mention must go to the Ouzoud Waterfalls. Located in the Middle Atlas Mountains, they are undoubtedly the most spectacular in North Africa due to their 110-metre drop. They maintain a constant flow all year round and can be visited all year round.
Ouzoud is a Berber word meaning ‘olive’ and this refers to the olive trees found on the way to the lower part of the waterfalls.
Some recommendations to consider:
- Parking in the town must be paid on arrival. We advise you to ignore the first person offering parking, as you will have to pay extra unnecessarily. Make your way to the end of the road and settle on a price only when you have decided where you want to park.
- After parking, you will have to come down a path marked by steps. On the way down, you will see a great number of restaurants. It’s a good idea to plan the day around eating on a terrace that has a view of the falls. If you plan well then you won’t end up in one of the first restaurants at the top; these are more expensive and don’t have views. Follow the path down to the restaurants with terraces and negotiate a price. They all have a fairly cheap fixed menu. That said, don’t eat right at the bottom, as this area is quite dirty and untidy, and is only good for taking pictures from.
This was everything you need to know about the Ourika Valley and Ouzoud Falls. As you can see, Morocco is a constant source of surprises and adventures for even the most fearless explorer. If you want to know more about Morocco, you can explore any of our articles about trips there. If you choose to go, don’t hesitate, get in touch with Unitrips, who offer customised routes tailored for your needs. Available for a duration of 2-9 days. Enjoy!
Translated and Adapted by Loouis Juhasz