A lush expanse of terraced fields, forested hillsides, and cascading waterfalls in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley is a natural oasis just an hour from the city of Marrakech.
A popular day trip destination from Marrakech, the Ourika Valley is often visited as part of a full-day tour of the Atlas Mountains. Combine it with a thrilling drive along the Kik Plateau and a stop at Lake Takerkoust, or take an Atlas Mountains Four Valleys tour and visit the Ourika, Oukaïmeden, Sidi Fares, and Asni valleys.
Alternatively, savor your visit on a hiking or mountain biking tour, explore the Berber village of Setti Fatma, trek to the Setti Fatma Falls, or visit in winter to enjoy the ski resort of Oukaïmeden.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Pack sunscreen, a hat, good walking shoes, and plenty of water, especially if you plan on walking to the falls.
- The Ourika Valley is a great place to buy argan oil, and tours often include a visit to an argan oil collective.
- There are many shops, restaurants, and food vendors located in and around the Ourika Valley.
- Many of the lookout points and natural wonders of the Ourika Valley are reached by hiking, making access for wheelchair users limited.
How to Get There
The Ourika Valley is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Marrakech, in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. Buses run from Marrakech to the main town of Setti Fatma in high season. You can also hire a taxi for the day or join a guided tour.
When to Get There
Time your visit for a Monday, when the local market (souk) of Tnin Ourika sprawls through the village and a mix of locals and tourists haggle for goods, sip sweet Moroccan mint tea, and catch up on gossip. The prettiest time to visit is in spring (February to April), when the valley is speckled with colorful wildflowers and the surrounding cherry and almond orchards are in full bloom.
Highlights of the Ourika Valley
For many visitors, the Ourika Valley’s principal attraction is its traditional Berber settlements. The village of Setti Fatma maintains a traditional way of life, tending to its communal saffron farm and organic herb farm, producing handicrafts to sell, and serving traditional tajines and breads in local restaurants. At the heart of the valley are the dramatic Setti Fatma falls, which flow into the Ourika River and offer a thrilling scramble for adventurous travelers.