Rabat – Falling short of the number one spot by only 25 feet, Ouzoud Falls is the second tallest waterfall in Africa. At 330 feet, the falls stand atop of the Azilal region of Morocco, overlooking the Tanaghmeilt village.
Although the waterfall is in the top 20 list of things to do in all of Morocco, the area remains relatively untouched by tourism and provides a peaceful experience for those looking to get away from the busy city of Marrakech, go swimming in refreshingly cold water, and even play with some curious monkeys.
Before going into the details of what awaits visitors at the falls, let’s talk money.
A trip to Ouzoud Falls can be arranged through a hostel or travel agency. The excursion alone may cost anywhere from 25EUR/28USD/273MAD to over 89EUR/100USD/969MAD depending on where the group is traveling from, the size of the travel group, and specifications over a private tour guide.
A 25 euro excursion from Marrakech will most likely include only transportation to and from the falls. The tour guide will charge the group 3EUR/3.60USD/35MAD for the hike to the falls, swimming in the natural pools, and feeding the monkeys. Once travelers arrive at the actual waterfall, there will be boats waiting for a short voyage directly to the bottom of the falls for 1.80EUR/2USD/20MAD, where visitors will catch a few rainbows and feel the mist of the waterfall.
Aside from these fees, lunch is not included but can be purchased at a quaint restaurant overlooking the falls for 8.30EUR/9.30USD/90MAD. Orange juice stands are scattered throughout the falls, as well as traditional shops selling Moroccan goods and souvenirs.
All in all, the trip should cost about 16EUR/17USD/170MAD, without souvenirs. For this price, travelers will get much more than just a trip to a waterfall and a few minutes with playful monkeys—the serenity of the Tanaghmeilt village is a therapeutic experience.
Even the hike down to the natural pools born from the falls is quite relaxing, as the path is clear and smooth for the most part. Especially for experienced hikers, the trip should be a breeze with a beautiful view. Like any other hiking adventure, be sure to wear the proper footwear and bring along a bottle or two of water. Another must-have is swimwear, or at least clothing that can get wet.
After the three hour bus ride from Marrakech to the entrance of the village, visitors will be greeted by one of the local tour guides, who will introduce himself and briefly explain the itinerary for the day. During this time, he will also inform the group of the total length of the excursion and any fees to be collected at the end of the tour.
From here, the adventure will begin with a short walk under a shady path of olive trees with a few steep steps, scattered pools of water, and the first glimpses of the interior of the village peeking out through the trees. The tour guide will provide interesting tidbits of history relating to the village and its inhabitants, including the prominence of Jamaican hippies and Mexicans in the area.
The hippy presence is felt as soon as the group reaches the first large swimming pool at the bottom of the mountain. This region is lined with huts painted in all sorts of designs, some coated in stripes of yellow, red, and green and boasting images of Rastafari icon, Bob Marley.
Local men can be seen swimming and sunbathing on large rocks and women are frequently spotted doing laundry in the river or enjoying the sight of their children playing along the water. The environment is laid-back and the sparkling water inviting, although there might not be enough time alloted to go for a dive in the water just yet.
The tour will continue up the mountain toward a larger waterfall with plenty of time and room for swimming. Here, most tour groups will congregate and have a chance to set their belongings down, sunbathe, swim, and socialize with each other. Tourists from all over Africa and beyond frequent the falls. It is not strange to find people from the UK, Europe, and North America swimming in the same pool at the same time.
Adventurous swimmers will have a blast at this stop, for there are many diver-friendly spots to climb up to and jump down from. The water is refreshing and welcome after walking in the hot sun for some time.
This stop will also provide the opportunity to purchase fresh orange juice from vendors that will literally pull the orange right off the tree and juice it straight into the cup.
The group will continue their hike after swimming for a while and eventually reach the famous Ouzoud Waterfall. The impressive waterfall is hidden away until the very second the group reaches the point overlooking it, so the incredible view will often catch visitors off guard. This will be the first opportunity for a photo-op of the cascades, and the entrance to the short walk toward the boats at the bottom of the falls.
After the group splits up into smaller groups of 7 or 8, the boat will row close to the splash zone of the waterfall, where passengers will enjoy a misty shower and a gorgeous view of the village, mountains, and waterfall. Every detail of the waterfall will come to life—the ripples in the water will shimmer with rhythm, the mist will tickle sunkissed skin with playful droplets, and the mouth of the falls with expand to massive lengths when looked up at from the bottom.
The trip will have reached its peak at this point, and from here on out the pace will pick up as most of the attractions have been checked off the list. One more adventure awaits, however—the friendly monkeys just around the corner.
The monkeys of Ouzoud are wild; yet love to play with visitors, especially if they bring treats. There will be locals selling peanuts once the group arrives. There is no fixed price but be aware that they will be expecting some sort of tip once the group is finished feeding the monkeys.
These wild animals are comedic and comfortable around humans, so it is more than likely that they will immediately jump on visitors’ arms, legs, backs, and heads! Anything is fair game, especially for the baby monkeys who love to cling to every possible human body part. The group is sure to get some laughs out of the monkeys’ hilarious antics and the one member of the group that is too scared to feed them, yet inevitably gets embraced by one anyway.
Following the monkey feeding frenzy, the group will follow the final path toward the bus and say their goodbyes to the tour guide, who will collect his share of money and send the group off with blessings of health and well-being, and a wish for their speedy return.
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