Relaxing in a mountain valley

Published: June 30th 2015
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Took a grande taxi to Setti Fatma in the Ourika valley, about an hour and a bit away from Marrakesh. Stayed at Au Borde De L’Eau guest house just outside the town, small cabins by the river run by a very friendly Belgian couple. The guest house is a haven away from the crowds who come on day trips from Marrakesh to enjoy the restaurants with chairs and tables in the river and the walk up to the waterfalls. We crossed the river in town and followed the route everyone else was taking up the side of the stream. The first part is through lots of Berber stalls selling trinkets and small in the river cafes. The whole walk was very crowded with young men out for a weekend jolly from the city.

The following day we did a big hike through Setti Fatma, up and along the valley to some Berber villages, Tadrat and Anfli. The end was well worth the effort, two villages in a different valley, so lush and green with huge walnut groves and a patchwork of green fields. The first part of the walk was a challenge with a steep climb up a dirt road, zig-zagging relentlessly upwards, bright sunshine with no relief of shade. Every time a cloud passed over the sun it was huge relief even for a brief moment. Once up it was a fairly flat walk looking down on the river, small cottages could be seen clinging to the crumbly rocks near water sources. The walk took quite a bit longer than the guide book had indicated so we kept thinking that the village will be just around the next corner…Finally it was and so pleasing to look at it felt like a huge reward. Walking along the track under the walnut trees through the first village was the first bit of shade for three hours, the dense greenness as well as the huge drop in temperature was wonderful. In the second village we were able to stock up on drinks and stopped for a picnic. The walk back was more pleasant as the afternoon sun gave long shadows so that good parts of the road were now not as harsh as the way up. A few vehicles passed us, overflowing with passengers, livestock and goods from Setti Fatma back to the villages that spread along the valley.

Our hosts at the guest house cooked us a great goat tajine, which we ate on the terrace in the garden, really nice way to end the day.


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