Ouzoud

We’re skirting the outside of Marrakesh on our way to Ouzoud. It’s tempting to stop, but even more tempting is the idea of communing with some monkeys by a waterfall. Morocco’s cities can wait until another time.

On our way to the waterfalls, the landscape gradually lifts itself up as we enter undulating valleys, heady with the scent of almond blossom.

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By nightfall we have reached Ouzoud and park up in a large car park. The guardian comes and tells us it will cost 20 Dh to stay the night, and if we wanted to stay somewhere for free to go up the hill to another car park. Having been warned of the cost and given an honest option to decamp, we are quite happy to stay.

The waterfalls are indeed spectacular to view, although the joy is a bit marred by the shantytown of restaurants all along the way. It’s hard to see the nature when it’s so overrun. I think it’s great to come here early in the morning and have the place to ourselves while the tourists are still asleep. Although the afternoon light must have a stunning effect as it falls directly onto the cascades.

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Being the first ones, we are all alone up on the viewpoint. A bit of tongue clicking brings out the monkeys. We have no food for them, but still, Papa monkey very generously walks towards us and sits down in the optimal photo position, as if he knows that that’s what people want.

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We have a few precious minutes with him and his family before a pack of dogs interfere, making them hiss and scatter into the trees. One monkey has a limp and a big scar on one leg. It looks like the dogs have got him on a previous occasion.

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The cascades are stunning. It’s a long way of steps down to the bottom and consequently a long way up. An enterprising person has had the bright idea of putting a set of scales near the top where for a dirham you can weigh yourself before and after! Unfortunately I only discover it on our way back up.

 

We’ve been told of a Souq nearby, something we cannot ignore, so after our trip to the waterfall we’re off to find our favourite Souq Breakfast of fried fish.

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Yet again, it’s a delight to stroll through this souq, lively and vibrant with people and animals mixing and mingling. We sit down for our breakfast on a rickety bench, side by side with young men impatiently calling out for their food, watching the world pass by, inhaling the scent of herbs and spices and listening to the sounds of callers mixing with the occasional squealing of a chicken or bleating of a sheep being carried past. When we’ve finished imbueing our food, spiced with the general atmosphere of the souq, we continue our journey through the almond valleys and on to Oued Zem. We stop for lunch at a high point with spectacular views, overlooking a reservoir, before zigzagging up even higher and eventually being released into a huge and fertile plain.

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For more photos of this chapter, and there are many more of monkeys and waterfalls! Click here


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