Set in Morocco’s Atlas Mountain, the Ouzoud Falls are one of the country’s most famous attractions. Despite the 360-foot curtain of cascading, glittering water, the Ouzoud Falls aren’t entirely natural, having been formed by a number of irrigation channels that direct water to the edge of the rugged cliffs.
Despite this, the Ouzoud Falls are incredibly popular. While there are a good number of excursions there each day, the waterfall is treated with some reverence and visitors and locals alike are forbidden from swimming in the basins below.
What to Expect
The Ouzoud Falls offer some superb photographic opportunities; get the right angle and the right light and you’ll be able to snap the curving rainbows that appear in the spray. For some close-up snapping, there are boatmen willing to row you to the base of the waterfall. On top of that, the whole scene is fringed by fragrant olive trees in which, if you look carefully, you might just see one of the native monkeys.
Nearby, at the top of the falls, you’ll find a series of caves in which watermills are still used to grind grain into flour; ‘Ouzoud’ means ‘the process of grinding grain’ in Moroccan.
Getting to Ouzoud Falls
While the terrain surrounding the Ouzoud Falls can prove challenging, there are various ways of getting there. If you’re feeling like working up a sweat, you can hike up towards them. The walk isn’t too demanding and offers a chance to soak up the scenery as you go. Be sure to hire a guide, who’ll know which paths to take and what sights to see. Taking the scenic route, you’ll see each of the six successive waterfalls that gradually increase in size, until you reach the biggest and most spectacular.
Hiring a car is possible but your best bet is to take part in a guided excursion. However, if walking is your thing, then you can catch a taxi or bus from Marrakech, which will take you the 93 miles it takes to get to the village of Tanaghmeilt. For those who prefer a more comfortable journey and would rather save their shoe-leather for the souks, there are 4×4 excursions, which will take you to the top of the waterfall and allow you to explore at your leisure. Minibus tours are also available and follow the same routes.
Souvenirs and Dining
While it’s advisable to take some water with you, you can add to the whole experience by enjoying a leisurely lunch at the Ouzoud Falls’ very own restaurant. Tuck into a traditional tagine or try barbequed chicken, while enjoying stunning views of the waterfalls. You’ll also find a series of souvenir shops on your way back to the summit, selling all sorts of falls-related trinkets and mementoes. As with the rest of Moroccan shopping, the order of the day is to get your haggling head on and negotiate for something close to a third of the asking price.
The Ouzoud Falls are an outstanding attraction and a peaceful way to pass an hour or two. Be sure to check out the various tour, travel and excursion options and choose the one that’s best for you.