A day trip from Marrakech to Ouzoud waterfalls .
Ouzoud falls, Imi N Ifri natural bridge and buccolic Moroccan countryside are part of this excursion from Marrakech.
Leaving the Medina behind and skirting through the palm grove of Marrakech our day trip sooon reaches vast landscapes, dotted with small villages, past olive and orange orchards and the occasional goat herds. This is Morocco at its most buccolic. Time seems to loose sense as one occasionaly sights some local following a vague trail or path, over vast barren lands and wonder what their destination might be, if any.
As our day tour from Marrakech slowly approaches the Middle Atlas, the road is constantly zig - zagging and meandering throughout a hilly landscape. The soil is red and contrasts with the green carpet of thousands of olive trees planted on the plateau. 'Ouzoud' means olive in the local Berber language.
Before long, our journey reaches Demnate, a small charming walled town with its old Mellah ( jewish district). Shortly after, south of Demnate lies the 'door to the cave', known in the local Berber dialect as Imi n'Ifri, a natural rock bridge shaped by the implosion of an underground cave system. There are spectacular views from both up above and down below, where the oued flows between the vertical stone walls while exotic birds fly about overhead. The opening at the bottom of the gorge is in the shape of Africa.
Back on the road, the thundering sound lets us know we are close to the falls. The valley around the lake at the base of the waterfalls is not visible until the last moment. Despite the cascades showing up in any tourism brochure, the site has kept its charm and relaxed ambiance, alas getting quite busy with Moroccan tourists in the summer.
You will discover the waterfalls from the top. From there, the view is mesmerizing. Six streams crowned with a double rainbow thunder down the rocks in a cloud of droplets. You can catch a glimpse of the plunge pool around 100 meters below. Early morning, if you are lucky, you will be joined by macaque monkeys playing around.
It is possible to continue the trek down to the bottom of the waterfall taking a number of stone steps. Before you descend try spotting the lip of the falls just past Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud at the top of the village. The over sized caves here used to shelter watermills, grinding wheat into flour as the river is diverted through their wheels before plunging over the edge. A path through a grove of olive trees leads to the pools carved out of the rock at the base of the falls; here you can swim. Although local guides are available, we recommend discovering the site by yourselves. If you decide to hire a local guide, you should agree the rate with him before the tour.
For lunch, a juicy tajine or meat grill can be enjoyed in the shade of the olive trees or in a local restaurant overlooking the lake.
If you continue downstream, there are small, clean pools offering a great opportunity for swims in the warm season ( so make sure you pack a swimming suit ). For those interested, abseiling, kayaking, river sliding or water skiing can be arranged on spot, subject to the water level. On our way back to Marrakech, the day trip will return on a different route.
You are free to choose your time of departure. However, in order to make the best out of your day out, we recommend leaving no later than 8 AM. Forecasted return time in Marrakech is 5- 6 PM.
PRICE.............................................................................................. 70 EUROS PER PERSON ( BASED ON 2 PERSONS SHARING THE VEHICLE). DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR 3 OR MORE PERSONS.
The rate includes: private ( sole use) of the modern air conditioned Toyota 4x4 and the English fluent driver- guide, entrance fees to all sites and monuments, refreshing drinks inside the vehicle, pick up and drop off from/ to the hotel/ Riad and transport insurance.