Ourika Valley


After experiencing the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, we decided to go on the road for a one day trip in the Ourika Valley. For this, we decided to share a taxi with two other couples. We really did not know what to expect, apart from seeing the mountains and some waterfalls…

As we were the last people to get into the cab, we ended up being cramped in the back seats – which is not ideal especially if you are prone to motion sickness like me! However, our driver was very careful and the road in the Atlas mountains was not as bad as I imagined. I really enjoyed the road, we did not see that many other cars on our way…

And we stopped to enjoy a beautiful view on the snow-covered mountains 🙂 If you already miss shopping, don’t worry there are people will be waiting for you on the side of the road to sell you necklaces or a picture with a camel.

First stop on the road - at this of the year you can sky in the Atlas mountains!
First stop on the road – at this of the year you can sky in the Atlas mountains!

My answer to them (in French): “sorry my friend, you picked the wrong person, I never wear any jewelry!” (which is true)

I’d rather stay a few more moments to admires the color of the road that makes such a contracts with the sheer blue sky…

After this first stop, we carried on our way to the Aromatic Garden: this place is actually more like a cosmetics/spices shop…

So, after a quick visit of the “garden”, we were shown how the argan oil is extracted. What is picked from the argan tree is a small fruit (which looks a bit like a datte), from which is extracted a sort of big peanut…which contains the argan seed that will be pressed mechanically to extract the oil.

Women crushing argan nuts
Women crushing argan nuts

After these explanations you have the possibility to buy some products (argan oil, spices, lipstick, massage oils…). The purpose of this “visit” is more to make you buy some stuff than really enjoy an “aromatic garden”… I understand that people in the mountains also want to make money from tourism…but shopping is just not my priority,. The only thing I was happy to buy was the argan oil – as I had tried it already at my aunt’s – on roasted peppers: just heaven!!

So we decided to buy our argan oil here as it is organic (it has the “ECOCERT” label) and in a glass bottle – the one we had seen in Marrakech was stored in plastic bottles, which apparently makes the oil lose all its properties.

The second stop of our journey was the Berber House…again, you can still do a bit of shopping on the side of the road if you want. (but why some people start bargaining for some stuff they don’t REALLY want to buy?? I don’t get this…especially when people complain afterwards “oh I cannot get rid of these stalkers”)

It was nice walking in the Berber house. And the young man that shown us around was very kind and happy to explain us how he was living with his family.

Corn mill
Corn mill

Next stop: the bridge! This bridge was so shaky…was a little bit scary…but on the other side of the river, we met an old blacksmith who really keen to share his knowledge to my boyfriend and made him participate in the making of a metal tool…It was a really nice reward!

The last stop of our trip was Sitti Fatma – a Berber village. You can find lots of small restaurants/snacks litterally in the river. Luckily we came in January so there was not too many people – but I can imagine how crowded it must be, with all the people trying to escape the heat of Marrakech! Going to Morocco in winter is great – as you can enjoy sunshine, not too hot weather and fewer tourists!

Lunch in Setti Fatma
Lunch in Setti Fatma

After lunch, we met Adbul Latif who will bring us to the waterfalls. Hopefully he was with us to give us his hand – although finding your way to the waterfalls is quite easy, you just have to follow the small snacks/shops on the way – I would have certainly fell on these slippery rocks! Abdul Latif has always lived in the mountains, so he is jumping from stone to stone effortlessly!

We ended our day in the valley thanking Abdul Latif for his patience and help – I am always happy to meet people who like to share about the place they were raised. A really nice in the mountains with very interesting people!


4 thoughts on “Ourika Valley

  1. I went to Ourika valley in Oct 2011. What a treacherous climb to Sitti Fatma waterfall! but the scenes of streams and rivers, and the make shift restaurants and resting place along the way are stunning. Glad you enjoy it.

    1. Yes, I had muscle aches the next day – but it was worth the effort 😉 October is also a good time to visit Morocco, did you see a lot of people visiting Marrakech/ the valley?

      1. There are tourists in October but not as many as you would find during summer, when the heat becomes unbearable in Marrakech and that’s when the Marakshi (local inhabitants of Marrakech) go to Ourika Valley for a retreat. I was down with cold and flu throughout the visit in October. Not sure if I’ll go to north Morocco in this time of the year. 😉

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