In the Moroccan High Atlas, 30 kilometers south of Marrakech, you will find the Ourika Valley.
The Ourika Valley is one of the most frequented High Atlas sites. Tourists and locals flock there for its unspoiled nature and original way of life. Many Berber villages are scattered throughout the valley.
Do you want to visit the Ourika Valley for one or two-day? I will tell you everything in this article.
The origin of the name Ourika comes from Urika. It is the name of one of the Berber tribes that descends from the Almohad Dynasty.
Throughout history, Berbers are the dominant inhabitants of the valley. And the local population speaks a dialect called TaChelhit.
In the area surrounding Marrakech, stands a natural rock barrier: the High Atlas. We call it the Roof of Morocco or the Roof of North Africa.
It is the highest massif in the country. The High Atlas delimits the Moroccan Sahara Desert from Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.
On the foothills of this imposing massif, you will find the Ourika valley at an altitude of 1500 meters. The valley extends 68 kilometers from Marrakech to the village of Setti Fatma.
The Ourika is the name given to the main river of the valley. This river flows from the mountains of the High Atlas and is an affluent part of the Oued Tensift.
The Ourika valley is a gentler climate than Marrakech. The air becomes more breathable as you gain altitude (15 ° C at 20 ° C lower than in Marrakech).
Nature is especially abundant when the rainy season gives way to summer. There are vast areas of crops, olive trees, almond trees, cherry trees, and other green plants.
What to do when visiting the Ourika Valley? Well, walks, walks and more walks! But not only that.
In the winding roads to visit the Ourika valley, you will enter almost deserted villages. You will also climb up to 2,100 meters of altitude, and discover the authenticity of Berber rural life.
In the village of Tafza, you can find the Berber ecomuseum. Tafza is a typical Berber village mainly populated by potters. The museum makes you taste the flavors of the lifestyle of the Berber culture in the valley.
The museum has a full collection of photographs, rugs, clothing, jewelry, and pottery. It shows a little universe of the Amazigh woman lifestyle.
The museum is also a starting point for many hikes. The walks include visiting the salt flats, waterfalls, and rivers.
La Safranière de l'Ourika
34 km from Marrakech in the village of Tnine, you will find La Safranière de l'Ourika.
La Safranière de l'Ourika is a farm that produces saffron. The farm opens its doors to see the Red Gold of Morocco.
The harvest of this spice begins from late October to mid-November.
In the douar of the same name Timalizene, you will discover this astounding garden. The Timalizene Garden is a mountain garden that aligns several terraces.
The planting system is typical of the region. Through an educational walk, you will learn about the aromatic plants of Moroccan.
Ourika Bio-Aromatic Garden
In Douar Elhaddad, the garden opens its door to the enthusiasts of medicinal plants.
The garden has many essences, aromatic, and botanical species from the Marrakech region. If you look for therapeutic plants for excellent health, this is the right place for you.
This bio-aromatic garden is impressive in spring, in the period from March to June.
At 1500 meters above sea level, the village of Setti Fatma touches the clouds. You can choose to spend a refreshing and peaceful night. And even in the summer, you won't need air conditioning or a fan.
In the early morning, go to the waterfalls or go hiking in the mountains. You will appreciate the glorious views of the Berber houses.
The Ourika Marrakech distance is about 40 km. But, you will need a 2-hour drive from Marrakech to Setti Fatma (64 km from Marrakech). Take the P2017 road. This road is accessible from the south of Marrakech. The travel time depends on the traffic road.
It is possible to opt for private car rental with a driver.
Taxis make the trip. But be careful, you have to negotiate the price before boarding the vehicle.
You can also take public transport to Tnine Ourika. Then finish by taxi to Setti Fatma.
Be careful with who you book! The Ourika Valley is a popular tourist attraction, so there are a lot of scammy agencies.
Bring good hiking shoes, a swimsuit, comfortable clothes.
Don't forget sunscreen, hat/cap, and a small light jacket.
Provide water because the heat can be stifling in summer.
Beware of the recurring thunderstorms at altitude.
We recommend that you leave early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
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