Ouzoud Falls: Breathtaking day trip from Marrakech
After a few days in the bustling, chaotic red city, we decided that it was time to head out of Marrakech and into Morocco’s impressive countryside. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, and we didn’t have to travel far before finding valleys, waterfalls, and dramatic high peaks. At over 100 metres, the Ouzoud Falls are the tallest waterfalls in North Africa. They cascade around wide cliffs, and can be reached within 3 hours from Marrakech. This post provides information on how and when to visit this stunning part of the world — either independently or on a tour or excursion from Marrakech.
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HOW TO GET TO OUZOUD FALLS
Ouzoud Falls are located in Morocco’s Middle Atlas mountain range near the village of Tanaghmeilt, and can be reached in around 2.5 hours drive. There are many options for parking in the area, which cost around 10-20 dirham (1-2 euros, $1.5-3 AUD).
BOOK A SHUTTLE BUS
Many local companies run shuttle buses for 300 dirham (30 euros, $50 AUD) for a return trip, including pick up from your riad or hotel. The companies coordinate to fill the buses, so the ride can be booked in Marrakech from any one of the vendors the day before you go (you’ll find them advertising on the streets). The bus ride takes around 3 hours and does not include a guided tour.
PUBLIC BUS AND GRANDE TAXI
Public buses travel to Azilal from Bab Doukala in Marrakech, and cost around 50 dirham (5 euros, $8 AUD). A taxi can then be taken from Azilal to Ouzoud, which is around 40 minutes drive away. The Grande taxi has six seats — the price may depend on the number of travellers and will need to be negotiated (however all up will likely be less than the shuttle bus from Marrakech).
GO ON A TOUR
If you’d prefer to book in advance and have a set price, transport and guided tours can also be booked online through Get Your Guide. Their Ouzoud Waterfalls Full-Day Tour from Marrakech would be a good opportunity to make stops along the way, and to see traditional Berber Villages in the Atlas Mountain range, which the shuttle buses from Marrakech do not do. This may be a good option if you would like to do more with your day than visiting the falls alone.
ENTRANCE FEE to Ouzoud Falls
There is no entrance fee to visit Ouzoud Falls. However, once you arrive, local guides may offer to lead you through the area for anywhere between 20 - 150 dirham (2-15 euros, $3-25 AUD), depending on the size of your group. Note that there is also a clear path through the area, so you can hike independently if you prefer.
HIKING AROUND THE WATERFALL
A fairly steep track runs into the canyon and to the base of the falls (definitely take proper walking shoes). From the car park at the top of the gorge, the hike down takes around one hour, and passes through groves of olive and pomegranate trees. Small boats can be taken for 20 dirham (2 euros, $3 AUD) into the cascade itself and across the river, or you can simply walk across the bridges. Then, hike up the other side of the canyon to pass monkeys (and people selling nuts to feed them for 5 dirham) and several impressive lookouts on your way back to the top.
BEST WEATHER FOR VISITING WATERFALLS IN MOROCCO
The cascades at Ouzoud can be visited all year round. If you happen to catch them after rain, however, they may be brown from the clay (as they were a few days before our visit). The best time to visit is during mid-late afternoon in in spring or summer months, as the water is fully under the sun and catches rainbows in the gorge. We visited in mid October and it was still hot enough to swim in the pools.