Explore: Ouzoud Falls

July 10th 2023 in Explore
Explore: Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud Falls

How to Get There

The Ouzoud Falls are located at the foot of Tanaghmeilt, near Azilal, but it's arguably most known for being less than 90 miles (150 kilometres) from Marrakech.

This, along with Essaouira, is the popular day excursion destination for those vacationing in

The Red City. If time constraints force you to choose, I prefer the waterfalls as a more contrasted experience to meandering through Marrakech's Medina. Conversely, it is frequently crowded with foreign and local visitors, particularly on weekends, so I recommend visiting during the week.

There are two ways to get here, each taking roughly 6 hours round trip. You can pay for a day trip or a taxi driver's services. I only recommend taxis if your group is large enough to fill it, perhaps three or four persons, and you wish to leave and return at a specific time, as a round trip taxi journey can cost between 1500 and 1700 dirhams.

A mountain guide (roughly between 30 and 50 dirhams per person, available at the waterfalls' entrance) is another fee to consider. It's not technically necessary, but it's encouraged, given the low cost and the fact that we might sometimes need clarification while the road is adequately indicated.

The Best Way to Get to the Falls

There are two ways to get where the waterfalls break: one is faster and involves steps, while the other is more natural. You'll be instructed to take the first route up and down.

The stairs are not physically taxing, so you should be fine with them if you have limited mobility. If you are reasonably fit, consider climbing down via the area close to the top of the waterfalls, circling it once you reach the other end. You can return up the steps, making the roundtrip less monotonous and pleasurable.

The ground is slick, so wear trainers or water shoes regardless of how you conduct the tour.

The Falls

Everyone agrees that this is Morocco's largest and most magnificent waterfall. It stands 350 feet (110 metres) tall in three sections and receives a large flow of water from the river from which it gets its name almost all year, creating a breathtaking display of sights and sounds.

We can begin our visit from a nearby high vantage point, where we can see the lake into which the falls pour and the red clay rocks strewn with moss surrounding it.

You can also go to the park directly behind the falls. Locals are frequently seen here relaxing and enjoying nature.

Travelling to the Falls

The walk down to the falls is only slightly steep in places and never terribly narrow. The odd thing is that once we're on the route, we're surrounded by so much lush greenery that it's difficult to identify where the waterfalls are.

The river and waterfalls are named after olive trees, as ouzoud means olive trees in Berber. There are also a few basic dwellings and residents grazing their animals.

The Barbary macaque monkeys that roam freely will most likely attract your attention. If you're anything like me, you'll use up your camera's memory snapping shots of them jumping, climbing trees, or just sitting there pensively (the monkeys' personalities may remind you of someone you know). Please be cautious and maintain a safe distance. After all, it's their home, and we're just passing through.

Another feature to mention is the little lakes and waterfalls you will encounter. I highly recommend stopping at the café near the end with windows overlooking one of those mini-waterfalls. You can stop for tea along the route.

At the Base of the Falls

The descent to the waterfalls should take an hour at maximum. When we arrive, we'll see the magnificent falls, the lake into which the falls pour, and the boats along the lake's banks.

After taking in the scenery, I propose employing the services of a rower. The payment will be 20 dirhams per person, payable at the desk behind where the boats dock.

This location exemplifies the Moroccan people's business spirit. They employ items others have discarded, such as wooden pallets and boards on plastic drums and old dining chairs wrapped in different vividly coloured textiles depending on the boat (blue, pink, orange, and so on).

The boat ride is brief yet enjoyable. It's a quick cruise around the lake, with us being perilously close to the waterfall at any time. Encourage the rower to approach as near to you as possible!

Alternatively, the brave can swim if the weather is nice, as the water is chilly.

Returning Home

On the way back, there are no scenic views. Because there is a nice staircase, ascending will be easier and faster than descending—several structures, including shops and restaurants, line one side of the route.

It's probably lunchtime now, so let's treat ourselves to a cheap dinner with priceless views.

We'll start by double-checking the price. Keep going until you've gotten a set lunch for 90-100 dirhams, or perhaps a little less if you're good at negotiating. About half of the restaurants with good views are located here.

An overlook with a large stone about two-thirds of the way up is where people normally take their last shots before departing.

Finally, the path will flatten out, and the macaques will reappear. Because the Moroccans use this portion to sell peanuts, the surprisingly intelligent monkeys gather here for a handout.

I once encountered a monkey that was fascinated by my hair. Before I knew it, he had climbed the railing and was on top of my head, sniffing my scalp. It took a lot of work to pull him off of me, and it didn't help that my buddies were too busy photographing him to assist me.