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Travel:Near Marrakesh-Ourika Valley Morocco. 4/19/2023

Continuation of a Guided Group trip. which started on:

4/10 - From Tangier to Casablanca (part 1) 4/15 - Atlas Mt (part 6)

4/11 -Rabat- Imperial capital (part 2) 4/16 - Oasis & Desert (part 7)

4/12/Meknez - Imperial Capital (part 3). 4/17 -Essaouira (part 8)

4/13 Fez -1st Imperial Capital (part 4) 4/18 - Marrakesh Medina (part 9)

4/14- Atlas Mt. (part 5)

Another day's excursion, southwest of Marrakesh, and a popular destination at the foot hills of the Atlas Mountains was planned on the day before last, and with yet, another local guide.. Muhammad - a geologist this time

Ourika Valley

On the foothills of the imposing High Atlas - the highest massif in the country. and which delimits the Moroccan Sahara Desert from Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. nestle the Ourika valley extending from Marrakesh to the quint village of Setti Fatma.

Ourika valley which is only about an hour drive away, (60 km) from Marrakesh, is situated at 1500 m altitude, in the Moroccan High Atlas along the Ourika River. the main river of the valley, that flows from the High Atlas and is an affluent part of the Oued Tensift.

Ourika is also the name of one of the most famous tribes, (written by Ibn Khaldoun). descends from the Almohad Dynasty.

The enchanting valley with the same name,though situated so near to modern bustled Marrakesh, is yet, ,relatively well-preserved valley, by its very nature and its traditional mountain way of life

Many Berber villages are scattered throughout the valley. and have been its dominant residents throughout history, The local population speaks a dialect called TaChelhit

Cooler mountain temperature, laid-back atmosphere, unspoiled nature,, waterfalls and blooming verdant lush vegetation,make the valley city’s escape hatch from the soaring summer heat.

The valley also provides delightful opportunities for walks, hikes and climbs of the winding roads , along with enchanting garden scenery and many many restaurants planted on both 2 banks of the cascading river , connected by shaky bridges stretched over it

Today the lazy flow of the clear cool river's water , was deceptively tranquil.

However periodical violent storm have been causing the river to overflow, and instantly creating landslides and flash floods , which brought damages to many agricultural landscape, merchants and restaurateurs,, .as well as to mass evacuations and death..

In 1995 the valley was hit by a brutal and unexpected flush-Flood, that occurred in a short time, and had reached a peak flow of 1,030 m3/s that caused significant human losses and enormous material damage.

Nature is especially abundant when the rainy season gives way to summer. There are vast areas of ​​crops, olive trees, almond trees, cherry trees, and other green plants.

From February to April, when almond and cherry orchards bloom and wildflowers run riot, the valley is especially mobbed with visitors.

Hike in Nature

Benefiting from a great sunny cool day's weather, a hike in nature and an hospitality at a local barber dwelling, in the valley, made this day's excursion most pleasant one..

At the start of the day, and so the group can enjoy the open vast valley's views, prior to getting into he valley' steeper, narrower parts which are enclosed by tall rocky walls, a morning's leisure hike was taken on an unpaved dirt road,

It was supposed to last only 40 minutes, however, not intended... it lingered over 2 hours...

Few group members experienced the extended length of the walk, and the gradual climb uphill, much too strenuous, as well as much beyond of what they expected or could handle..

The experienced preying local motor-cycleres, from the near by villages, expecting "casualties" from among the visiting tourists, ceased the opportunity, and offered the struggling hikers a "Taxi- lift" service on their motorcycles, for a handsome fee,

This service saving, the day for the left behind, and for the rest of the worried members.

Indeed the view of verdant mountainous landscape dotted with quint villages orchards and forested landscape was worth the hike

Visit to a Berber House

The 120 years old traditional Berber reddish mud house visited, is, built on a steep hilly slope, It houses 6 members family, that supplements its agrarian modest, income by opening the home to day's hospitality of the visiting tourists groups.

In the 16 C the local economy was dependent on bartering with sugar grown in Morocco for imported Italian marble , in addition to raising cattle, and growing vegetables.

Flour Grinder

Out from the main pitiable large sitting room , where we were offered a tasting of traditional tea (a tradition which started in the 17c by Mula Ismail from Meknez)

and typical food "delights' served by the ladies of the family, the extensions, to both sides of the house, included several bare minimum bedrooms, (but equipped with TV) cooking kitchen,Taboon for pita baking, animal barn,, chicken coop, and even

a Sauna nook

From the 1980 the Gov added electricity and bathrooms to have the villagers return to their home, which they left during a period of mass migration to the cities. The consumption of other electronic appliances ignited the economy, allow tax collection and reduced childbirth rates in the rural villages

The "parked" vehicle donkey at the houses attached barn

The views from the exterior pathways of the house, into the village streets

The scenery seen on ride further deeper into the heart of the valley

Getting to the Sti Fadma town where we had lunch by the river

Setti Fadma is a small town and rural commune in the Ourika valley with many basic and looking the same bridges , spanning over the cascading river and waterfalls.

During the French ruling (1912 to 1956) many water reservoirs to catch flood water as well as tunnels and lakes, were built to regulate the water supply And more current water planning projects can be read here

We didn't get to see the Ourika's waterfalls, however our guide Izik had after the end of our trip, and shared photos

Dinner in Marrakesh Back at Marrakesh, a special group dinner ,instead of in the customary hotel, took place at Hivernage district unique restaurant called Palais Jad Mahal

Palais Jad Mahal. 10 Rue Haroun Errachid Marrrakech 05244-36984

This large spacious restaurant's architecture is that of traditional Moroccan palaces. built around a patio,with lush vegetation and large decorative pool. and soft sound of the fountains It combines Moroccan craftsmanship decoration, particularly its traditional tables, with the richness of Indian culture, and brightly colored fabrics.

The chef, offers 3 cuisines: Moroccan, French and Thai.

During dinner, a captivating extravaganza ethnic show takes place, with fire-eaters and oriental dancers

Some of the group's members

amerced in the ethnic traditions.

I was not that excited about the traditional Moroccan food, however the evening was definitely unique in reflecting the rich ethnic cultural life in the city.

To be Continued,,,,,,


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