On our second day in Marrakech, we headed out of the city on a tour to the Ouzoud Waterfalls. We knew we wanted to spend a day outside of the city getting to see a bit more of Morocco, and we couldn’t decide between the Ouzoud Falls or a trip to the Ourika Valley. We spoke to our riad hosts and they said that because of the torrential rain that Morocco had been experiencing the past few days (while we were there), that some of the roads to the Ourika Valley were closed off due to flooding so the tours were cancelled, but that the Ouzoud Falls were still open.
We got up bright and early for a 7.30am pickup time from our riad to be taken to the meet-up point where we met with the rest of our group that we’d be spending the day with and then hopped in the minibus with our driver.
The Ouzoud Falls are a 3hr drive from Marrakech and our trip included a guided tour of a scenic walk along the river, down the cliff and to the bottom of the waterfalls, then across the river and then to stop for some lunch at one of the restaurants there (this was an extra cost). It cost us roughly £20 each, plus a tip of about £2 each at the end of the tour for the local guide who met us at the minibus on arrival in the village. The drive was actually a really nice scenic drive, though tiny villages and countryside and included a few rest stops for drinks/toilet breaks.
Apparently, the flash flooding was pretty bad there too! We passed a few overflowing rivers as we got closer to the falls, but had no idea what would be in store for us that day!
When we arrived, the water level was so high that it was almost over the main road throught he village! We got dropped off by the minibus to see all the locals standing at the edge of the road looking at the water level rising. The road had holes for the water to travel through, but on the other side it was acting like a dam as the water couldn’t get through quick enough, so it was almost on the road.
We headed through the forest along the cliffside stopping at viewpoints along the way with our guide, and then started the descent to the river. It was crazy how much water was flowing over the usually peacefull waterfall with swimming areas at the bottom. Restaurants had been wiped out by the overflowing river which was flowing red with all the mud from the riverbanks and it was nothing like we’d seen in pictures before we left!
Crossing the Ouzoud River
Lets just say crossing the river was an adventure (and almost near death experience) for sure. Usually, you can go for a little walk around the area getting different viewpoints of the waterfalls and all the little pools with their mini waterfalls, then either walk across a small bridge (which you can see in the above photos), or you can pay an extra £2 and take a boat ride up to the waterfalls and across.
But, since the river was SO overflowing, we actually struggled to even walk down to the river. The guide wasn’t sure if we’d be able to cross over, and considered taking us back up the cliff to walk around and back down straight to the restaurants instead. In the end, some of the locals had tied a rope from one side of the river to the other and shuttled us across. Our lives were literally hanging on by a string. There was about 6-8 of us on each raft, literally just being pulled along a string, hoping that the guy didn’t loose grip or the rope didn’t break as we’d have just shot down the river as it was flowing so fast. It was actually pretty scary!
Lunch was SO good! We had a traditional lunch of moroccan salad (a finely chopped tomato, onion and cucumber salad with some herbs and spices) and bread, with fresh olives, tagines and plenty of oranges in one of the restaurants a bit higher up the cliff (Moroccan oranges are my absolute favourite – they are SO sweet and juicy and we basically lived on them while we were there haha).
It was the best meal we ate the whole trip (and for only 95dh each – about £6.80). We barely got any photos of the falls because of the crazy and muddy conditions but as the day went on and by the time we’d finished eating lunch, the water eased up a little and we finally got to actually see the Ouzoud Falls after them being clouded in a huge mist all day and they were amazing!
After lunch, we got taken up the other side of the waterfall to some amazing viewpoints over the Atlas Mountains. There’s a lot of monkeys in the area too, so just watch out for them as they will steal any food you have. The vendors there also charge you for photos if you have any with the monkeys, so just be careful if you don’t want to pay any unexpected fees!
Once we’d finished the tour, we got taken back to the minibus ready for the long drive back to Marrakech where we arrived just as the sun had set. It wasn’t too bad and pretty much everyone fell asleep on the journey back so it didn’t seem as long! They also dropped us off right outside our Riad too, which was perfect after a long day of exploring!
I actually like that the photos show another side to the usual tourist photos fo the waterfalls. It’s something that you don’t get to see very often at all, and while our day could have been ruined by the torrential rain and flash flooding, we made the most out of what we had and had such an amazing time there – it was actually our favourite day of the entire trip to Marrakech!
Have you been to the Ouzoud Falls? What did you think?
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ZannaDecember 11, 2014 at 8:09 pm
The pic of the falls is beautiful! Looks like a wonderful trip. Haven’t to been Morrocco since I was a kid, can’t wait to go back some day.
KateDecember 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm
Wow the waterfall pictures look fantastic! Bet that was an amazing experience 😀
RosieJanuary 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm
The falls look so beautiful, even with all the mud in the water. We’re visiting Marrakesh for a few days in April and are thinking about doing this trip. Do you remember how long the trip was in total?
AprilFebruary 1, 2018 at 7:04 am
It was so stunning there! The trip was an entire day – I think we got picked up about 7am from our Riad, and got dropped back off at about 6pm. The drive there was a good 2-3 hours, then the hike and lunch at the waterfall was about 3hrs then the return journey. We did have a few rest stop breaks there and back though too!
I hope you have a great trip to Marrakech and I definitely recommend spending a day visiting the waterfalls!
I hope this helps!
SarahJanuary 5, 2019 at 7:47 am
This looks extremely adventurous and dangerous lol
AprilJanuary 5, 2019 at 9:17 am
Yeah, it was pretty terrifying, but such a good experience haha!