The Ouirgane Valley protects in the lower regions of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. It’s staggering view and immaculate Berber towns are a delight to visit. Here’s our finished manual for this great goal.
The devoted multi-day trekkers head up Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s most noteworthy mountain. The Marrakech day trippers plummet in large numbers on the Ourika Valley. Some place in the center, those hoping to get outside of what might be expected and investigate a progressively remote piece of Morocco without an arduous mountain rising, head to the Ouirgane Valley.
This corroded red valley sits in the lower regions of the High Atlas mountains. It’s delicate stone, formed over centuries by wind and downpour, give a lovely setting to the Berber towns that line the streams and roost on the slopes. Inside the towns you have the benefit of seeing a customary lifestyle. Little harvests are tended by livestock and lady work long days to give fundamental supplies to their families’ endurance.
However despite this hard lifestyle, Berber’s are probably the most amiable and most liberal individuals we have ever met. Indeed, even in Ramadan, when passionate local people were fasting for the duration of the day, lunch would be set up for us in their homes with the produce got from their little plot of land. We would have paid a great deal for the experience alone, however the Berbers would acknowledge no installment.
While the Ouirgane valley itself is reason enough, great High Atlas landscape is just a short climb or drive away. Here, snow-topped mountains ascend over profound cut gorge and an interwoven of green fields embrace valley floors and terraced slants.
In the same way as other different places in the High Atlas this valley is gradually modernizing and making its ways for the travel industry. So precede it’s past the point of no return.
Here’s a finished manual for the best activities in the Ouirgane Valley and some accommodating tips to make your outing somewhat simpler.
1/HIKE THROUGH 5 BERBER VILLAGES AND SHARE LUNCH WITH LOCALS
The Berber towns that line the Ouirgane valley are still moderately immaculate by the travel industry. This 4-hour climb permits you to visit 5 of them. The valley is wealthy in nourishments that have become staples for its occupants and it’s a joy to investigate such a natural lifestyle. Plum, blackberry, olive, figs, carob and almond trees line the riverbanks. Onions, potato, horse feed, wheat and grain spread the valley floor in splendid green. The sweet smell of mint, thyme and rosemary ascend from the ways.
The 5 towns are each of the somewhat unique however the feature is Tikhfist. Roosted on the slope with sees over the valley our guide brought us into a Berber house where we met 105-year-old Mohammed. His French was nearly as restricted as mine so after an erratic discussion, we named capital urban communities of Europe.
For lunch, Mohammed’s little girl served us a Berber tagine with pecans – one of the must-attempt nourishments in Morocco. Incapable to share themselves because of Ramadan, we ate while Mohammed rolled out progressively capital urban areas. The well disposed friendliness was a feature of our outing to Morocco.
The climb wrapped up by sliding through Agouni, where our guide gave us his own home and yields, before coming back to Ouirgane. It took an aggregate of 4 hours at a moderate pace, including time for lunch and a lot of photographs.
Our unique aim was to clarify how you could do the climb yourself yet to be completely forthright, it’s greatly improved doing this one with a nearby guide . Not exclusively are the ways all through the towns hard to track down, however the genuine feature is having lunch in a Berber house, which would be hard to accomplish all alone. Specifically, Ouirgane would be the ideal goal for a culinary voyage through Morocco.
Your convenience will have the option to compose a nearby guide for you.
2/CYCLE THE DRAMATIC RED ROCK FORMATIONS LINING OUIRGANE VALLEY
Simply north-east of Ouirgane town, the Ouirgane Valley is an ocean of red stone, punctuated with crawls of green vegetation. It is extraordinarily wonderful in the after evening light before the sun vanishes behind the mountains.
You can drive the streets that wander around the etched shakes or tease along the ways that jumble the zone. Yet, the most ideal approach to see this dazzling landscape is to snatch a bicycle from your convenience and cycle around all alone.
Head away out and about that goes past Ouirgane Eco Lodge and cycle for about 2km. The unpleasant spot is set apart on our guide at the base of this post. In a loosening up early evening time cycling around the zone, you’ll gather some incredible photographs of wonderful landscape. We were astonished at how rapidly the view can change. As the sun blurs from the day, the shade of the stone goes from splendid orange to a consumed yellow.
In the event that you avoid the fundamental street and keep in the valley it isn’t too sloping and a pleasant spot to investigate. You can get all the best bits in a few hours.
3/DRIVE TO THE IMPRESSIVELY SET BERBER VILLAGE OF ASSIF ZAGAWARI
Assif Zagawari (deciphered as ‘Green River’) is a Berber town set on the edge of an edge high in the Atlas Mountains. The town is picture-great, neglecting a green crawl of a desert spring brought about by a waterway falling down a precarious slant under the snow-secured pinnacles of the Jebel Toubkal massif.
The setting is wonderful as is the town. Aside from power – which just showed up in Assif Zagawari in 2018 – and the odd satellite dish very little seems to have changed throughout the hundreds of years. Excessively defensive chickens pursue would-be predators from their minuscule chicks as they cross dusty ways. Local people potter about their little yields and lead cows through the avenues. It’s a Moroccan advance back in time and was a feature on our 10-day schedule.
Stroll around the town and take it all in, however remember this is a genuine rustic town, not a vacation destination, so be conscious of their space and property. Having said that they’re a neighborly bundle and you’ll most likely get welcomed in for tea some place.
Ensure you investigate a portion of the ways ascending out the back to the tops past.
4/GEAR UP AND TAKE A MULTI-DAY HIKE TO IMLIL
Most committed trekkers that go to the High Atlas Mountains head to Imlil. At 1,740m it is the beginning stage for handling Jebel Toubkal, the most noteworthy top in Morocco. Be that as it may, the perspectives and landscape of this higher area can likewise be reached by an incredible 2 or 3-day trek from Ouirgane Valley.
The standard 2-day navigate to Imlil heads up the Azzadene valley and goes through the night at a gite in Tizi Oussem. The follow day the climb descendes into Imlil. The 3-day trek goes through two days getting to Tizi Oussem. It accomplishes this by adhering to the more uneven edges as opposed to heading up the valley.
Ouirgane Ecolodge can mastermind both these excursions for you, with or without move from Marrakech.
5/EXPLORE THE DEEP CUT RIVER, CANYON AND VIEWS OF THE AZZADENE VALLEY
On the off chance that you need to see some sublime High Atlas view without doing a multi-day trek, at that point a short climb up the Azzadene Valley is a decent choice. It covers probably the best segment of the 2-day Imlil navigate with the Jebel Toubkal massif obvious for a lot of this walk.
Country Berber towns and terraced fields add to this incredibly appealing climb. On the off chance that that is insufficient to entice you, the completing point at the 1900m high Tizi Oussem encompasses you in a brilliant amphitheater of mountains.
In contrast to numerous teases in Morocco, this is one you can manage without a guide.
GETTING TO THE HIKE
To start the climb, drive to Marigha and turn right after the cleared street to Tassa Ouirgane. After a couple of km of rock track, park by the mosque at Azerfsane (as set apart on the guide underneath) to begin the climb.
The climb follows the rock track south for ten minutes. At the point when the street parts take the lower street (number 1 on the guide) which plummets to the valley floor.
The way crosses the stream on steppingstones almost a bedraggled ‘new extension’ before crisscrossing up the opposite side (2) and going through two or three towns.
Not long after the way leaves the town of Aït Ouissaadene it goes perfectly intersection. Go left to go to the stream, at that point turn right creation your way up the riverbed. You’ll have to bounce to and fro over the streams as vital (Note this will get trickier after downpour).
After around 15 minutes as a tributary heads to one side, you have to look around to discover a way that heads up the slant on your left-hand side (4). This way goes through the town of Aït Aissa and converges with a rock street (5). Take a right hand turn onto the rock street and follow this wide track into Tizi Oussem.
The climb from Azerfsane Mosque to Tizi Oussem is 8.5 km and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. The rise is around 500m. Permit 5 hours for the total full circle (restoring the manner in which you came), including time to stop for lunch. You pass the odd shop however we recommend you take all your food and water with you for the afternoon. The shops can be untrustworthy and constrained.
You can adhere to the guidelines above and download our guide for Google Maps. In any matter, we’d emphatically suggest you additionally download Maps.Me which really has the path set apart on its disconnected maps. Introduce the application and download Morocco South guide before leaving.
6/WATCH THE LOCALS ARRIVE AND SHOP AT ASNI’S SATURDAY SOUK
Ouirgane has its own Thursday souk however it is exceptionally little and comes up short on the show of Asni. So for all the activity, and if the timings work, head to the Saturday souk in Asni. Local people from all the neighboring towns drop on the town, heaping their jackasses high with products before heading again into the slopes.
It’s a noteworthy hustling and clamoring scene. Purchasers and venders yell at one another and signal enthusiastically with overstated arm moves.
You won’t discover any traveler knickknacks at Asni – this is a genuine market with genuine stuff for local people. This is the place they shop and the environment is incredible.
Garments and shoes all things considered, shapes and sizes are dispersed deliberately on the ground. Dates, almonds and pecans are heaped high alongside monstrous watermelons being cut by blade style blades. Live chickens with fastened legs are held by getting a handle on hands while butchers hack separated sheep and goats.
While the weeks shopping is being arranged and gathered, jackasses are getting re-hooved by the neighborhood hooving administration prepared to have their backs heaped high.
It’s a serious experience, and you’ll be the main traveler there.
HOW TO GET TO THE OUIRGANE VALLEY
The most effortless approach to get to the Ouirgane Valley is from Marrakech. Is this is your beginning stage, ensure you look at our 3-day Marrakech schedule.
It is a 1-hour 20-minute drive along the R203 – a very much cleared street that is once in a while shut. In the event that you don’t have your own vehicle, smaller than expected transports normally furrow the course to Asni, from where you can get a taxi for the last 15km to Ouirgane. Something else, could essentially recruit your own taxi or excellent taxi for the whole course (about €40).
Experience +/If you need an increasingly gutsy excursion, take the P2022 (R209) from Chichaoua. As you drastically head through the mountains, the cleared street consistently breaks down to a fun rough track with steep drops down the side. You could finish the excursion in a 2WD however you’d be a lot more joyful in a 4×4. Give yourself a decent 2 hours and 30 minutes for the convoluted yet energizing outing.
WHEN TO VISIT THE OUIRGANE VALLEY
The Ouirgane valley is at its generally lovely in spring. Right now, blossoms line the valley floor and the harvests are a splendid green. In any matter, in after-winter the streets can at present be canvassed in snow making them blocked. So we recommend you plan your visit from after-March to early May. Over this time the streets will be open and the temperatures will even now be sensible.
Regardless of whether you wouldn’t fret the warmth, in the event that you travel any later the fields will begin to go from green to brown and the snow will start to liquefy from the peaks. This all makes the entire region somewhat less beautiful.
After the after spring temperatures drop, mid-September to mid-October can likewise be a decent time to visit despite the fact that the hues won’t be as dynamic as in spring.
WHERE TO EAT IN OUIRGANE VALLEY
While most guests eat in their settlement we enthusiastically suggest having in any event one supper at Le Mouflon Café. We sat outside in the social occasion nightfall as pixie illuminates gradually lit around us. The Moroccan most loved of tagine, couscous and plate of mixed greens were scrumptious and the administration well disposed. Café Mohatirste was likewise prescribed to us, however it was shut while we were there.
PRACTICALITIES FOR VISITING THE OUIRGANE VALLEY
One of the numerous interests of the Ouirgane valley is that it’s more remote than a portion of different valleys closer Marrakesh. Yet, it means that there are not a great deal of offices. So come arranged.
MONEY/There is no bank or ATM in the valley, and charge cards are just acknowledged at a couple of foundations. So bring enough money for your whole visit. On the off chance that you need a top up there is a bank at Asni, a brief drive away.
PETROL/There is no gas station in the valley, so ensure you have a better than average measure of fuel as you show up. The closest gas station is thirty minutes drive away in Asni.
FOOD/There are two or three fundamental shops in Ouirgane and others specked about different towns which you can get supplies. They sell water, bread, yogurt, rolls, jams, chocolate spread, canned meat, a few toiletries and a couple of different odds and ends. Practically all settlement serves set menu dinners and there are a couple of eateries in the valley. Bistro Mouflon was our top pick.
WI-FI/Most settlement in the valley will have wi-fi at different degrees of value. In the event that this is significant, it may be a smart thought to check before you book. The convenience will frequently let you hotspot of their telephone for crises.
PHARMACY/There is medicine store on the primary street in Marigha, a couple of km upper east of Ouirgane, that was surprisingly all around supplied.
LANGUAGE/The principle language is Berber, however numerous individuals additionally communicate in French. Most settlement proprietors have some English and it is generally simple to locate an English talking guide. We do recommend anyway you download French onto Google Translate just in the event that you stall out.
TOURIST SERVICES/Your settlement is the best wagered for booking guides and different administrations. Email them ahead of time for any climbs or aides you need to take while in Ouirgane. During our remain, our guide was Mohammed who talked phenomenal English and was incredibly learned about the territory. In any matter Berber Atlas Experience, who have a decent notoriety, can likewise tailor explicit aides for you.