Many have not heard of the Ouzoud Waterfalls located in Morocco. About a three hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech is this beautiful hidden gem. A beautiful clad of waterfalls located in the Atlas mountains that cascade from high cliffs. No, I’m not making this natural wonder up. When most think of Morocco they envision dry, desert landscapes full of sand dunes that go on for miles (I mean part of the Sahara desert is in Morocco). However, the Moroccan landscape is quite diverse with rocky mountains, 1200 miles coastlines and green rolling hills.
Why did we decide Visit?
Upon arriving to Morocco we stayed in Marrakech for nearly a week. It’s a vibrant city full of beauty and chaos intermingled into one. However, after a few days it became a bit overwhelming. At this point the only tranquility we felt was inside our beautiful and serene riad. We were looking to get out of the city for a bit and see some nature. This is when we decided we need to go on a day trip excursion. The host of our riad recommended heading to Ouzoud if we needed a break or alternatively see Tv-famous sites in Ouzarate. We did not hesitate and booked two tickets to the waterfalls within the hour.
The Journey to the Beautiful Ouzoud waterfalls
We were picked up by our tour operator from our riad at 8am and joined our group waiting in the minibus. We traveled through such beautiful countryside and landscape and it was fascinating to see life outside of Marrakech. There were olive groves, rural villages, herds of sheep and people trekking along the road. The drive was approximately 3 house with a rest stop at a gas station midway where you can use the restroom and get snacks.
After a long 3 hour journey we finally made it to a parking lot amidst a cafe that was surrounded by trees. In actuality, located near the small village of Tanaghmeilt. We were cheerfully greeted by our local guide Moustafa who gave us a quick orientation and we were on our way. For an hour or so we walked on a trail that gradually went downhill towards a canyon. There was a mini waterfall and natural pools where we stopped by to take a break. Moustafa chatted with us, answered any questions and told of us any history we were curious about. He was delightful to be around and since our group consisted of different nationalities he switched between English, French, a bit of Arabic and Spanish.
Trekking up the Mountain
The hike up takes about 3 hours and can be quite strenuous, especially if the weather is warmer. Everyone in our group looked exhausted and unprepared for the fact that we would be climbing a mountain. However there are plenty of opportunities to catch your breath with rest stops along the way. The cliff can get quite steep and narrow so be careful to watch your step. One lady wore stringy sandals and the tour guide kept checking on her because she was struggling in the trail. I recommend bringing hiking boots or sturdy enough shoes to walk in for a few hours.
Where to grab a bite?
I guarantee you will get hungry climbing up the trail and taking various stops for photos. Lucky for you that there is a restaurant that serves traditional Moroccan food. The meal is fixed so unfortunately you are not able to order an alternative. We were given tagine as a main, salad and fruit. My favorite part of this restaurant was not necessarily the food but the amazing view of the waterfalls from the terrace.
When is the best time to Visit Ouzoud Waterfalls?
I would say all-year round. We visited early November and the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining with no clouds in the sky, neither too hot or too warm – it was perfect. The hottest time is during the summer months June – August. While this is perfect to take a swim in the falls, take note that their will be a lot of tourists visiting at the same time.
Book an Organized Tour
We planned this excursion to Ouzoud via an organized tour. The Dutchie and I are not ones to join a tour group and usually like to explore things ourselves. However, I think going with an organized tour was the best option we choose. Instead of sharing a taxi or opting for public transport, this was the fastest and most efficient way to get things done. We actually made our booking online the night before and seemed to have gotten a better price than those who had booked ahead of time. Ours included free hotel pickup & drop off, multilingual guide, and a hike around the falls with a local guide.
Bring extra Snacks
The restaurant is the only place where you can get food. With such a long journey it would be best if you brought food to keep properly nourished. The restaurant can also be expensive and not worth the the money, so taking snacks with you could be a good call.
Keep in mind that this is quite a hike! It’s about 3 hours to the destination, 3 hours back to marrakech and close to 3 hours of hiking. The route our guide took us through was an hour of downhill canyon before we even started climbing up! After that you must climb about 700 steps to get to the top. This hike takes some physical endurance and strength. If you have serious health conditions consider that this trek may be a physical challenge.
If you’re visiting Morocco I definitely recommend taking an excursion to Ouzoud Waterfalls. The journey is quite long but I promise you it is worth the wait to see the wonderful cascades.