While I was in Marrakech, it was a little overwhelming. The hustle and bustle of the city was hard for me to handle each day so we felt the need to get out of the excitement. Luckily, our Riad set us up with a private driver to get to the Ourika Valley. From what they explained- it was a bit of a drive from Marrakech but it had a sweet waterfall hike called the 7 Falls Hike through the Atlas mountains. Our private driver for the day cost us 35 Euros each, so it was a steal for a full day adventure.
Our driver picked us up bright and early in his Mercedes van. We drove for about 45 minutes before stopping at a scenic overlook. It was absolutely gorgeous looking over the start of the Sahara desert as well as the mountains. A little further down the road we stopped at a traditional Berber home. It was eye-opening, to say the least. I never realized that people lived with so little. They didn’t have plumbing or electricity, just used the river to their advantage. We were given a tour and had the opportunity to donate money in a locked cash donation box. Immediately after, we were led to a well that we got to fill our bottles from.
Lunch was pretty delicious. All the restaurants have seats and chairs in the river by the Ourika Valley, so getting lunch was really fun! We chose a spot right by the start of the trail. They handed us a menu in English that showed an expensive 3 course meal. We opted for one course (not on the menu) for about 7 Euro. I think they charge us far more than the Moroccans, but I was okay with that because we also make far more money. After lunch, we ended up finding our guide (they’re everywhere) and headed off to the hike. Here are my best tips for hiking the 7 Falls Train in Ourika Valley, Morocco!
Essential Tips for the Ourika Valley Hike:
- Get A Guide– it’s possible to do it yourself, but the guide will be super helpful… plus, you’ll be contributing to their economy.
- Don’t wear flip flops– Yes, this should be a given but we saw several people there wearing flip flops, or worse- NO SHOES AT ALL. I have no idea how they did the hike. There are lots of loose rocks and the entire path is jagged.
- Bring bottled water, just to be on the safe side. I got really, really, really sick in Morocco and we are thinking it could have been caused from drinking from the waterfall. Bring bottled water just in case and avoid any water that’s not bottled and purified.
- Get cash out ahead of time– there are no ATMs in Ourika that we could find (our driver spotted us a little bit of money since we didn’t have enough). That night all the ATMs in Marrakech were out of money so we had to drive from town to town until we finally found one that wasn’t out.
- Dress appropriately– I saw FAR too many people dressed inappropriately. Cover your knees and shoulders. Please just leave the short shorts and tank tops and cleavage at home. It’s extremely offensive to the Moroccans. I know it’s hot, but that brings me to my next point below…
- Bring a scarf– this can be dipped in the cold river and draped around your neck or head to keep you cool in the heat. It can also be used to protect your head from the sun.
- Learn to Haggle– Don’t accept he first price people give you. The first price offered (if it isn’t in writing) is almost always negotiable. It’s hard to get used to but it’s worth it to pay what things are worth.
- Practice Bouldering– if your guide goes above and beyond (like ours did!) you’ll get to go off the trail and do lots of rock climbing. It really helps if you have a little bit of background in bouldering- though you’ll survive without it. I have done quite a bit and it got me the nickname of ‘The Mountain Goat’ from our guide.
This was absolutely the best day of our trip to Morocco. Have you been to the Ourika Valley? What tips would you suggest?