Ourika Valley Place guide



Ourika Valley

South of Marrakech lie the dramatic mountain valleys and lush oases of Ourika Valley leading up to the High Atlas Mountains.


Berber Villages and Ski Slopes

South of Marrakech lie the dramatic mountain valleys and lush oases of Ourika Valley leading up to the High Atlas Mountains. Historically, few Europeans dared to charter this territory as it had always been Morocco’s tumultuous area. Even today, making your way to these parts feels somewhat like journeying to another world…

Ourika Valley

Cut deep into the High Atlas, Ourika is a spectacular valley favored by Marrakchis looking to escape the summer heat for some fresh mountain air. The road stops at Setti Fatma, a village 63km (39mi) from Marrakech. 

There is also Morocco’s best ski resort, Oukaimeden, ideal for adventure activities such as trekking and cycling amongst rivers and valleys or skiing when the winter snow falls on the rugged mountains.  

Setti Fatma

Jump on one of the tours from Marrakech to Setti Fatma, at the end of a gorge-like stretch lined with cafes and houses. The village begins after the road peters out, amidst a wonderful setting ringed by mountains, streams and grassy terraces. The local bureau de guides arranges local hikes if you find yourself without a Marrakech guide for the day.

The shortest and simplest hike is the Walk of the Seven Waterfalls. On the other side of the river from the main village – reached by precarious footbridges made up of bundled branches – are a number of small tagine and brochette eateries. Hidden behind these cafes is the steep edge of the valley, which you can climb to reach the first of seven cascades.

Expect to scramble over big boulders and up a cliff or two. A basic cafe at the foot of the first waterfall provides rest and a much-needed cool drink. Reaching the remaining six involves a more serious climb. 

Check out this tour of the three waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains: Ouzoud Waterfalls Marrakech Excursion – Full Day


Following a series of hairpin turns 70km (43mi) south of Marrakech, you’ll reach Oukaimeden, Morocco’s best ski resort. Rising 2,650m above sea level, the place was voted by CNN News into its Top 100 Resorts in the world, calling it “one of the world’s most bizarre places to ski or snowboard.” 

Facilities are old-fashioned, however, and conditions unreliable even in peak season, which runs from January to March. Its ski lift was once the world’s highest, and remains Africa’s at 3,273m. Operating all year round, it affords spectacular views from Jbel Attar and beyond to Marrakech. 

In the summer, the area below Oukaimeden transforms into an alpine prairie, in which pastures crowd with Berber tents and grazing livestock. Ask you guide if he knows where the prehistoric rock carvings are, another attraction in the area. 

Skiing: Skier or not, you can ride the chairlift or some of the other drag-lifts serving around ten different ski-runs, the steep mogul field of La Grande Combe being the most famous. If you come during winter, you can rent boots, skis and poles for a day out on the slopes. 

Snowboarding: Not a skier? Join the Marrakchi families playing on their toboggans and snowboards before grabbing a hearty tagine lunch at a small cafe.

Rock climbing: Oukaimeden’s terrain is ideal for rock climbing much of the year.

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