Blog2024 ≫ Winter holiday to Marrakech part 4 - Ourika Valley Waterfalls

This was our first excursion of the holiday. I think I have gradually worn Clare down, to a more sensible point, so that on this trip she said we'll only book one excursion. I know on our earlier holidays she would have been keen to book a trip every day, this was an important part of the holiday. On the first morning you go to the reps meeting, because you have to, and while you were there you could get some advice on things to do. And end up booking lots of trips. It took a long time to work out a) you don't have to go to the reps meeting b) the rep is just a sales person, not someone there to help you out, and c) the trips and activities are the same you could find for yourself locally. We are still not quite brave enough to just book our own activity locally every time, so for our activity here did our trip up into the Atlas mountains through the concierge at the hotel.

Heading up into the Atlas Mountains sounds very grand doesn't it? And we'll definitely need protective clothing. At the very least our big coats. So we took coats. Now, this is usually my safe place where I can criticise Clare's decisions knowing she will never read it, but damn it she was right this time. We did need jumpers and jackets on this trip! But mostly because of the varying temperatures. Mid afternoon it would be 25℃ but if we got up early in the morning it might be down to 5℃. And we'd set out early this morning, on this minibus that would go round a couple of other resorts to pick people up, and it was a bit cold.

First the bus stopped at a view point, for us to take a picture. He had bypassed a few better looking viewpoints that had facilities, stalls, and even camels. I suspect this was the one he'd arranged to meet his mate at who tried to sell some crystals that he had found in the mountains. It wasn't super convincing so sorry I could not buy them.

View from the viewpoint where I did not buy the crystals

Then on to another place to experience the argan oil production that must be local to the area. We weren't quite into this either, we wanted to get on to the mountains and waterfalls, could have done without this stop.

In the village where I did not buy argan oil, sorry

I do feel bad for these people, they had obviously been told "there's a bus load of people coming who want to come to your argan oil demonstration", but we did not. Then to the beginning of the trail to meet our guide up the mountains to the waterfall. It was a very well trodden path, we were basically in a queue walking up to the waterfall so we did not really need a guide at all. Also all of the stalls in the markets along the way were selling the same crystals and had the same argan oil production setup.

The walk was nice, the views were nice, the waterfall was ok, a bit underwhelming really. My advice if you were going here would be go straight there, not sure what booking it as a trip did for us. Also you don't need a guide, you could just follow the crowd, and come back again. The guide was very cheap though and it does put some money into the local community. Not sure how easy it would be to book a taxi there and back and find the optional guide yourself if you did not do it as a package though.

Slightly underwhelming waterfall with suspicious pipes all around it

We had lunch in the valley, again it was ok. There were some traditional musicians brought around the tables, that was fun. Also I liked the general setup of the businesses in the valley, we genuinely had to go across rope bridges like Indiana Jones would. Here you can see I am on a rope bridge:

Here you can tell I am on a rope bridge...

Here you can see I am above the river (with the place where we had our lunch to the left):

Here you can tell I am above the river...

I don't have a picture that clearly shows I am on a rope bridge above a river, you'll have to take my word for it.

I did enjoy this day, but it all felt very staged.

We were back at the hotel for another evening of food and drink, and also some table tennis.

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Paul Clarke's blog - I live in Hythe near Folkestone. Wed to Clare and dad to 2, I'm a full-stack web engineer, + I do js / Node, some ruby, python, php ect ect. I like pubs, parkrun, eating, home automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.

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Yep, deliberately unstyled.