Ourika Valley

A lush valley nestled in the High Atlas Mountains, Ourika offers a cool escape from the city's intense heat.

TravelCurious Tip

En route from Marrakech to the Ourika Valley the temperature can drop as much as 15 degrees, so it might be worth bringing some extra layers!

The heat and intensity of Marrakech can be wonderful, but it can be oppressive too. When you need an escape, the Ourika Valley is a perfect option just 45 minutes away by car. Young Marrakshis know all about it: on weekends they buzz out of the capital on their mopeds and picnic by the streams and waterfalls near Setti Fatma. Between February and April the almond and cherry orchards are in bloom, and the nature is riotously lively.

Setti Fatma is renowned for its annual summer moussem, the seven waterfalls that surround it and its gnarled, 100-year-old walnut trees. There’s a small weekly market where you can buy local produce, and also numerous riverside tagine outlets to enjoy. (Try to) Enjoy the precarious, wobbling temporary bridges that take you across the river!

Beyond Setti Fatma is where Ourika Valley really begins. A mule track takes you up into the valley, passing Tacheddirt and Oukaïmeden - ‘the meeting place of the four winds’ - where you can find not only the best skiing in Morocco but some fascinating prehistoric rock carvings. Eventually the path will take you to the charming mountain village of Imlil, whence the intrepid can take the two day trek to the 4,167m peak of Toubkal.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Marrakech
Djemaa El Fna Square
Teeming with dancers, musicians and snake-charmers, this chaotic plaza is the beating heart of Marrakech.
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
The largest mosque in the city, Koutoubia’s minaret has inspired architecture throughout North Africa.
Saadian Tombs
This ornate mausoleum was built in the 16th century as the final resting place of the Saadi dynasty.
The Bahia Palace
Bahia, or ‘The Beautiful,’ was built in the 19th century by the very best of Morocco’s craftsmen and is the blueprint for opulent Islamic style.
Setti Fatma Waterfalls
Seven waterfalls cascade down the rocky hillside near this picturesque village.
Berber Villages
Dotted through the valleys of the High Atlas, some villages date back to the 16th century.

Related Tours

Escape to the Atlas Mountains
Escape the heat of the city for the cool, fresh climes of the High Atlas to connect with nature in all its splendour, in the scenic lower foothills of the rugged mountains and Ourika Valley’s Berber villages. 

  • Day-trip easily from Marrakech, the Ourika Valley stretches 42 miles (68km) from the outskirts 
  • Explore the lower slopes of the High Atlas amidst walnut groves, poplar and weeping willow
  • See layered rocks of vivid colours shaped geological events millions of years ago 
  • Prepare for eye-catching scenery that is a glorious visual spectacle and cooler than the city
  • See the Ourika Valley’s almond orchards, olive groves, and wildflower meadows
  • Enjoy a dip in cool, clear waterfalls of sparkling purity
  • Visit a Berber village nestled in the countryside 
  • Learn the origins of the word Ourika and how the settlement was formed.
  • Discover some of the Berber language, especially the local chleuh dialect. 
  • Travel a mountain track to the canyon village of Setti Fatma - officially, the end of the road. 
Rising in the formidable rugged peaks of the High Atlas mountains, the fast-flowing Ourika River gushes through the Ourika Valley enriching the soil and nurturing groves of walnuts, poplar and weeping willow. Renowned for its rocks of incredible colours, caused by the thinning of the earth’s crust and shaped by a series of geological processes that occurred many hundreds of millions of years ago, the Ourika Valley is distinct for its multi-hued series of layered ridges in purple, green, white and black layers caused by sedimentary rock that formed at the bottom of a shallow ocean. In between the crevices, sprouting green shoots burst forth topped with brightly coloured blooms backdropped by skies of blue. The result is eye-catching scenery that is a glorious visual spectacle, that you will not soon forget.

Our Ourika Valley Full Day Excursion offers an escape from the heat from the city, to a cooler landscape in the shadow of snowcapped High Atlas peak. As the closest day-trip destination from central Marrakech, the Ourika Valley stretches for 42 miles (68km) practically from the gates of the city, beginning at the plain of Haouz and grinding to a halt at Setti Fatma at 1500m altitude. The valley boasts a mood-altering terrain blessed with almond orchards, olive groves, and wildflower meadows. Richly endowed with waterfalls and lush green velvety carpets, a delve into rocky outcrops reveals prehistoric rock carvings and ancient mountain paths. On the Ourika Valley Full Day Excursion we will visit the picturesque Berber village of Ourika, nestled amidst beautiful countryside criss-crossed by bridge-straddled streams. Square mud huts, baked pink in the sun, cling to the scrub-topped hillsides where farmers live a traditional lifestyle. 

Underneath the looming presence of cloud-cloaked soaring peaks, take a dip in the waterfall pool on the excursion during the hot summer months or enjoy the winter dusting of snow. You will climb some of the scenic paths, across rocky plateaus and rising stone trails and marvel at the landscape’s dramatic panoramic views. Together we will witness some of the Valley’s rural traditions and enjoy a mint tea in a Berber home, before driving along a small mountain track to the canyon village of Setti Fatma - officially, the end of the road. Wedged beside the river, the settlement sits at Ourika Valley’s southern tip and is the launch point for high-octane treks to the furthest reaches of the High Atlas peaks.


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