Marrakech, Essaouira, Agafay : wonders of Morocco
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Amidst tall rocky mountains, beautiful excursions are to be had in the Ourika Valley. This is an exotic immersion into the culture of the Atlas populations, whose generosity will leave you with very warm and colourful memories.
To get to Setti Fatma, the heart of the valley, it is about a two hour drive from Marrakech (65km). The best thing to do is rent a car, but you can also opt to take public transportation or a shared cab. Note that the temperature drops significantly from departure place to destination and plan accordingly. There can be up to a 15°C difference in temperature between Marrakech and the villages of the valley.
Take a small detour to Jemaa-d’Rhmat 29 km from Marrakech. Here you can take a relaxing break to visit the town and its pretty shops. If you are travelling on a Friday, don’t miss the very colourful souk brimming with treasures! You can also visit the town’s little mausoleum. As you continue on the road to the Ourika Valley, don’t miss Tnine-l’Ourika. To get there, branch off at km 34 and continue for about 3 km. This is an interesting little village where the souk is held on the shores of the oued. Be sure to discover the variety of tropical plant specimens in the Ourika’s bio-aromatic garden once you get there!
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Beyond the Haouz plain, you begin to truly penetrate into the Ourika Valley, the landscapes become progressively greener, and the air progressively purer. You’ll drive by a succession of stunning views on the douar road, where the Ourika kasbahs majestically reign over the valley. There are beautiful hikes to be had from Khemis, Asguine, Aghbalou, Asgaour and Oulmes. Ourika snakes through orchards gardens and fields and in the spring, the colours of the valley are dazzling. Aghbalou is the most important village on the Ourika oued so you must stop here. Don’t miss its brick mosque an unexpected twist on classic Islamic architecture. The site is perfect for a snack on the river shore. The road finally ends at Setti Fatma at 1500 metres in altitude. This peaceful village offers many hikes through the valeey. The most beautiful is without a doubt the seven cascade hike. It takes about one hour to walk there and back and requires good shoes as the terrain can be slippery after rain. You can also walk around the highlands above Setti Fatma towards the forest. After climbing for two and a half hours you will have earned a picnic in the shade of the trees facing a picturesque panorama of the valley’s douars. Beyond Setti Fatma, a trail goes on to Tadrart, an interesting option in 4WD or on a mountain bike.
The Kasbah Bab Ourika faces landscapes of exceptional beauty at the foot of the Atlas’ snowy peaks. From the hill, the horizon falls towards the valley amidst fields, olive groves, orange and lemon orchards all the way to the crest of the mountain. The kasbah is only a 35 minute drive from the Marrakech international airport.
Continue your discovery of our country and the preparation of your trip by exploring other articles in our travel guide dedicated to Morocco!