Blogs from Ourika Valley, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco, Africa


Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - Day 11. We could have easily spent our second full day in Marrakesh discovering new sites in the “Red City” or spending more time at our favorite places seen the previous day. But the possibilities of going farther afield to see new sights and gather more experiences won out as usual when I have a choice. In this case a travel video I had seen enticed me to opt for a day excursion into the Ourika Valley. Beginning the day with an early wake up call and light breakfast, we were on the road by 8 am headed to our day’s destination. Traveling south and once more crossing the Plain of Haouz, our route backtracked some of the roads we had taken only days before when we were leaving the High ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Ourika Valley February 21st 2019

Imlil, Alto Atlas, Morocco February 2019 ' “I have seen nothing more weird or miraculous than myself. Over time we may get used to strange things. But the more I probe myself and know myself, the more my oddity astonishes me, and the less I understand who I am.” Michel de Montaigne,On Presumption “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Plato's Socratic Paradox, The Republic “Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.“ Eckhart Tolle “Not knowing anything is the sweetest life.” Sophocles “The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” Ursula K. Le Guin “In the beginner’s mind there are many pos... read more
Main street through Imlil
Side street tourist shops
With Mohammed under his little room

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Ourika Valley September 19th 2018

I am sitting by the pool at our lovely hotel Chez Momo, outside the small town of Ouirgane. I’m enjoying a Flag Speciale beer, as I start the blog, after a one hour walk through the nearby Berber village. Susan enjoyed her beer while I was on the walk. Today was a long travel day driving over the High Atlas Mountains, through the highest pass in Morocco called the Tizi n’Tichka (elevation 2260 metres). The day started out well, as we enjoyed a hot shower and breakfast at the Riad Maktoub. I started out with hard cooked egg, bread, laughing cow cheese, olives, delicious freshly squeezed orange juice, and nice strong coffee. Then they brought out pancakes - I was getting full but had 1/2 pancake with honey, yumm. Then they brought out another pastry type ... read more
Scenery on the drive
Scenery on the drive

Route from last blog... NYC - Norway - Marrakech - Essaouira - Tafedna - Essaouira - Marrakech - Ait Benhaddou - Ouarzazate - Boulmane Dades (Dades & Todra Gorges) Oh Morocco, what a seriously amazing country. It is most definitely its own thing, not trying to be anything but itself, no place is like Morocco, only Morocco is like Morocco that is for sure. At times this country tested our patience, but lots of places do that. Then you dig through those testing times and come across something magical, and that happened a lot here. Some of the places we ended up in rank in the top places of all our travels (and we have been to many corners of the planet) and will leave lasting memories begging for a return trip for a long, long ... read more
Moonlit Starry Beach in Tafedna
Essaouira Fishing Fleet
Goats in an argan tree

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 ... read more
Berber village, Tadrat
View along Ourika Valley

Ourika_Valley from 14/06/2013 to 18/06/2013... read more

We left Marrakech around 9:30 am by taxi, with a new driver (the one we had booked had his cousin? take us instead). He turned out to be great, driving carefully and asking politely if we wished to stop at any of the dozens of tourist traps we passed. We did agree to go into an argan oil women's coop, where Lynn bought oil that is maybeargan and had a great 6 minute massage. We arrived in Setti Fadma around 11:30am and were immediately accosted for hotel/guide/restaurant help. We finally escaped and found a hotel for about $35/night. We next set off to do the famed 7 waterfalls hike. There are no signs for the trail which begins somewhere in the maze of riverfront restaurants, and we attracted the attention of a very persistant guide. I ... read more
On our way to the mountains
Argan Coop
Road to Setti Fadma

We decided to spend most of today walking to a remote Berber village about 2 hours by foot from our hotel in Setti Fadma. A village dog came along with us, uninvited... We walked a on a dirt road, along another river, and through many orchards. There were cherry, apple, and olive trees, along with nut trees and small plots of peas and onions. We saw people with one or two animals grazing, including a Berber woman in traditional clothes and jewelry. Later we passed large goat herds. We passed one village, and after another hour on the empty road, we arrived at the higher village. The dog was with us still, but disappeared when the local children leaving school spotted us, and descended in a small swarm the giggle and try their French on us...We ... read more
Bill and the dog setting off
Dog resting along the trail
first village

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Ourika Valley December 30th 2012

About two weeks before we left for America, four friends and I went to the desert. I booked a "budget best-value" tour online to be picked up in Marrakech and driven out into the town of Ouarzazate and after that to Zagora. From there we would ride camels into the sunset and sleep in tents with Berber nomads...well, not with the Berbers. So come Thursday night we got out of our class at 7:15 and rushed to catch our four or five hour train to Marrakech. We arrived at Marrakech at about 1am, why it took so long? It's Morocco. Our next mission was to find the cheap hostel I so willingly put my trust into online. It was called "Trip and Friends" and cost about 4euro a night. Petite Taxis, the kind that stay in ... read more
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Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Ourika Valley December 21st 2012

Plastic bags and bottles littered the road and tossed and bubbled in the river. Blue, green, plastic flags snagged on branches brought down by the last flow from the mountains. Icily grey water was not in fact cold, just plastic strewn. Omar, father of 3 boys who lives 20km out of Marrakech and doesn’t see his wife much, was driving us up to the Atlas Mountains through the Ourika valley. This job meant that he might have to sleep in his shared taxi as he might not be able to get home tonight. As we passed the Formula 2 racing track built on former agricultural land he told us about the new developments and new occupations created by the new King to bring in money. As pleasant as Omar is, he is of course beholden to ... read more
Anyone for lunch?
Mint tea
Preparing argan nuts

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