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.