Heading into the Ourika Valley is definitely a nice, short day trip from Marrakesh. Like many other side trips from Marrakesh, the scenery is spectacular and the contrasts are amazing. The Ourika Valley spreads between the first foothills of the Atlas Mountains, extending along the Wadi River. Despite it being so close to Marrakesh, this beautiful green valley is one of the most pristine valleys in Morocco.
Now on this tour, the itinerary really includes the following
Coffee break at the tour bus company’s brother’s cafe
Picture stops where you will be hassled by the touts selling chains, trinkets and other pieces of crap. Yes, I got it, you’re poor and you sell to help yourselves. Great, but I don’t need more dogshit in my backpack, I have dirty drawers in there, but “Shukran” anyway.
Mint tea. Now anyone who is experienced in Morocco, knows that “Mint Tea” is free, but with it, comes the obligation to look at shit you don’t need. Looking is free, but if one recalls the expert Moroccan sales technique, see the Fassian carpet salesmen, you shouldn’t accept tea, unless you’re looking to buy stuff.
Lunch at another cousin’s restaurant
Finally, the waterfalls and browsing through the “Lovely Berber village”, which is nothing more than a glorified version of Laventille in Trinidad i.e. Slum!
But those aren’t the right questions to be asking when one is attempting to day trip from Marrakech to Ourika Valley. The questions that you should ask, should include the following:
What time does the bus leave? Between 9 and 9:45 am. Moroccan time is elastic time, do not expect to leave on time.
How long is the drive from Marrakech to Ourika Valley, EACH WAY? : About 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Will you have to change buses? : No. One bus should take you there
If the bus is late, do I get a refund or apology? Fuck no, to both questions unless you start shaming people .. which I have no problem doing in public. See previous article …
Will I have a choice in seating? Hell no, unless you’re first on the bus or you politely suggest to the tour conductor that you will accept nothing but a front seat, by yourself.
Will there be stops for lunch? Absolutely but only at the pre-determined restaurant. I brought my own lunch, and I was ok. I did buy some tea and coke, to be polite for using their plates, cutlery and stealing some tea meant from some French people.
How much will it cost? If you book at your hotel, you will pay between 400 – 500 dirhams for this trip. If you walk into the souks, you can bargain and I paid 200 dirhams.
But the most important questions when taking this trip are:
Are the old people on this bus, aware that going to see the Waterfalls involves an uphill 30 min hike?
Are they aware that it is cold and their rheumatism might flare up?
Are they aware that there is snow feeding the river, and that snow is cold, and that is cold snow is feeding the river, then the water will be cold. If the water is cold, then the air will be cold … i.e. it is going to be cold. Are they aware?
Failure to ask these types of questions will result in serious rage, Wajang behaviour and possible death and dismemberment to drivers and maybe the old people on board. Aside from the itinerary, the Ourika Valley is a lovely place to drive through and if the weather is great, there would some great photography available.